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The Rolling Stones – BST Hyde Park, London live review

The iconic rock band played the first of two shows as part of BST Hyde Park.

The Rolling Stones
Credit: Rory Barnes

Having formed in 1962, the Rolling Stones have paved the way for rock music for sixty years now and they are considered to be one of the greatest bands of all time, not just in the rock world but across all genres. Having released 30 studio albums, 34 live albums, 29 compilation albums, three extended play singles, 121 singles, 33 box sets, 48 video albums and 77 music videos, as well as having sold over 240 million records worldwide, it’s no surprise that their show as BST Hyde Park turned out to be a good one full of hits! 

Led by Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones took to the stage just after 8pm. The set began with a video tribute to the long serving drummer of the band, Charlie Watts, who passed away in the  August of 2021. Later on before the band played ‘Tumbling Dice’, Jagger would dedicate the show to him. It was the first London show the band had played without Charlie Watts at the helm of the drum kit and in his place today was Steve Jordan. Watts had actually endorsed Jordan to the band years ago Richards explained in his memoir ‘Life’. “I remembered Charlie Watts saying, ‘If you ever work outside of the Rolling Stones, Steve Jordan’s your man’”. Having worked alongside Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer and countless others, Jordan did a fantastic job throughout the nineteen song performance and he very much fits the style of this iconic group. 

It was Keith Richards who kicked off the music though with the instantly recognisable guitar riff from ‘Street Fighting Man’; which the audience cheered and applauded. The demographic in the crowd ranged from original Stones fans to their Grandchildren, both showing plenty of enthusiasm for the London natives. At nearly 80 years old, you would think the band may have slowed up a little but in fact the opposite is true. From the beginning of the set, Jagger was seen to be running from side to side of the stage and up the extended walkway, Ronnie Wood was flashing cheeky smiles throughout the evening as he greeted the audiences on the wider sides of the crowd barriers and Richards still oozes as much style and cool as he did from the 60’s, with his signature glasses, bandanna and colourful shirts combinations. 

The Rolling Stones
Credit: Rory Barnes

A highlight earlier on in the show was a wonderful rendition of ‘Out Of Time’ with the band’s brass section thickening the soundscape and Jagger taking turns to sing the chorus back and forth with the audience. This was followed by ‘She’s A Rainbow’ in which Ronnie Wood switched to a lap steel guitar and Jagger would strap on an acoustic. Ironically, a rainbow formed across the skyline as this song was being played. Was this Charlie Watts looking down on them or pure coincidence with the title of the song?

Keith Richards had his own vocal performances with ‘Slipping Away’ and ‘Connection’ and it was nice to see that all the members of the original band still contribute to this musical force equally. They would go on to share a few heartfelt hugs during the performance. When Jagger introduced the band, the cheers echoed throughout Hyde Park and he joked about all the upcoming bands playing this weekend across the UK such as Elton John and Paul McCartney who may be taking the Stones place soon.

Even though each song was a highlight for the multi-nationality audience, there was certainly a streak of massive crowd favourites later in the set that started with ‘Paint It Black’, before progressing into ‘Start Me Up’ and ‘Gimme Shelter’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ which ended the main set. A classy touch was showing the Ukrainian flag across the video screens at the end of ‘Gimme Shelter’ to a resounding cheer from the crowd. 

As disappointed as I was not to hear ‘Brown Sugar’ or ‘Angie’, ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ proved to be as worthy contenders for the encore and fitting songs to end on. The Rolling Stones can’t seem to get any satisfaction from enjoying a retirement from the very thing that brought them back to the same area of London, except to play a much larger stage sixty years later on. 

Setlist: 1. Street Fighting Man 2. 19th Nervous Breakdown 3. Tumbling Dice 4. Out Of Time 5. She’s A Rainbow 6. You Can’t Always Get What You Want 7. Living In A Ghost Town 8. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking 9. Honky Tonk Women 10. Slipping Away 11. Connection 12. Miss You 13. Midnight Rambler 14. Paint It Black 15. Start Me Up 16. Gimme Shelter 17. Jumpin’ Jack Flash 18. Sympathy For The Devil (encore) 19. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (encore) Venue: Hyde Park, London Performance date: 25th June 2022

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