Staring old age in the eyes and laughing, the Rolling Stones rocked a London crowd of 20,000 Sunday, reminding anyone who has even just tolerated their blues-influenced pop and shamelessly commercial music of the raw power of rock-and-roll. And this on their 50th anniversary tour.
The theatrical Mick Jagger swiveled his hips a little less quickly and wasn’t quite as acrobatic as when he satisfied crowds in Philadelphia’s old JFK Stadium 31 years ago, or at the equally vintage Live Aid concert, when he danced with the formidable Tina Turner.
But the videos circulating on the Web show a defiant Jagger. At 69, he is still bursting with the peerless, in-your-face exuberance that defined the genre.
They opened with an old Beatles song, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” as if to settle the “Beatles or Stones” argument. On that tune, at least, the Beatles win.
At one point, Jagger, clad in skin-tight black jeans and T-shirt, took a break to say, “It’s amazing we’re still doing this, and it’s amazing that you’re still buying our records and coming to our shows.” They played past curfew and may be fined. That’s the nature of the game, isn’t it?
The name of the critically acclaimed production is “50 and Counting.”
But at their age - the oldest, drummer Charlie Watts, is 71 - it’s more like 50 and flaunting.
The Stones are scheduled to play Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Newark’s Prudential Center next month. Chances are rock’s original bad boys will be there.
Time seems to be on their side.