The Stones Mix It Up in Atlanta (Live Review)

Mick Jagger
GEORGIA LINE: Mick Jagger, who turns 81 next month, continues to defy his age on tour. The Rolling Stones frontman performs here at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with guitarist Ronnie Wood and keyboardist Chuck Leavell. (AP Photo)


ATLANTA — The Rolling Stones are still getting started, which is a lot better than jumping in the bucket, considering four members of the band are aged 72 to 80 after losing their original drummer Charlie Watts three years ago.

The “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” delivered a strong performance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday to a near capacity crowd on a beautiful night in downtown Atlanta. To mark the occasion, the stadium’s retractable roof was opened, at the request of the band, one of five headliners to do so among 34 concerts held in the building since its opening in 2017, according to Gate -stadium spokesperson Heather Sautter.

The Stones’ two-hour show produced the best set list of the tour so far, in this reporter’s opinion.

Ten dates into the Hackney Diamonds 2024 tour, in support of their new album of the same name, the Stones have released the weathered gems “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Sweet Virginia”, “Dead Flowers” and “Midnight Rambler” to support the essentials. play hits such as “Gimme Shelter,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Honky Tonk Women” and “Satisfaction.”

“Sweet Virginia” and “Happy,” written by Keith Richards, were touring debuts.

Typically, the Stones throw in three to four wildcards to back up the greatest hits set, but on this tour it seems like they’re looking for a wider variety of deep cuts to satisfy their longtime fans. Whether this is an indication that this US tour might really be “The Last Time”, linked to the name of their 1965 single, remains up for debate.

In Atlanta, Richards had the opportunity to play three of his tracks, starting with “Tell Me Straight,” from the Stones’ latest album, leading into “Little T&A,” one of those deeper cuts from the 1981 album “Tattoo You”. and conclude the mini-set with “Happy,” which was among his staples on previous tours.

For the first nine shows, Keef was limited to performing one or two of his songs, so it was notable when he told the crowd, due to the band’s “intense pressure”, that he was “forced” to play Happy. In turn, the band removed “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” from the new album, from the set list. Before Atlanta, they performed it as part of a two-song encore, ending with “Satisfaction”.

“Blame it on the guys,” Richards said. No worries, it allowed the audience to see Ronnie Wood’s prowess on steel guitar.

It’s obvious that Richards has slowed his pace a bit as he enters his octogenarian years, but it’s still a treat to see rock’s most indestructible force doing what he loves most, performing on stage .

KEEP IT: Keith Richards may have slowed down a bit on stage, but he remains the heart and soul of the Rolling Stones. (AP Photo)

There have been unconfirmed reports that Stones frontman Mick Jagger, the band’s elder statesman (five months older than Richards), and who turns 81 next month, was feeling may -being unwell and needed a short break halfway through the show, which resulted in Keef. extending his turn in the spotlight.

Even though Jagger was out of breath after happily striding across the stage for most of the night, it didn’t affect his harp-playing abilities three songs later on “Midnight Rambler,” an album opener of the tour. The long blues jam, this reporter’s favorite Stones track, saw Wood swinging around the track, twirling his guitar with just the right amount of piercing feedback.

Jagger has always been known for injecting color and context depending on the market.

In Atlanta, that meant making fun of the political climate of the Peach State. During the portion of the show where the song garnering the most votes in an online fan poll was revealed to the crowd, something the Stones have done since 1997’s “Bridges to Babylon Tour,” a graphic appeared on the video screens, showing “Sweet Virginia.” » as having received the most votes.

Mick pointed out, tongue-in-cheek, that the band wanted to play “Wild Horses,” one of four selections up for voting, but was 11,000 votes short, a desperate attempt by former President Donald Trump to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election. turnout in favor of President Joe Biden.

In the seats of Harrah’s Cherokee Club, halfway up the north side of the stadium, Jagger’s quip drew mostly blank stares amid the hoops and screams of a few patriotic patrons.

Backup singer Chanel Haynes proved herself replacing Lisa Fischer, who left the Stones’ entire tour in 2018 to focus on a solo career.

On “Gimme Shelter,” Haynes revealed a wicked impersonation of Tina Turner’s Acid Queen character from The Who’s “Tommy,” giving a vicious growl to her accompaniment to Jagger’s lead vocals as they pranced on the track on the ground. His pipes set a robust tone for the 54-year-old classic composition.

Keyboardist Chuck Leavell, among the “newbies” to the Stones with 44 years of experience, shone as always in his solo on “Honky Tonk Women,” ending with a piano kick.

OH ATLANTA: The retractable roof was open for the Rolling Stones, one of five concerts to do so since Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in 2017. (Don Muret/Staff)

For Leavell, it was a homecoming for the Georgia resident. During the band’s introductions, Jagger introduced Leavell, “coming from Twiggs County, Georgia,” a community of 8,000 just south of Macon, where he joined the Allman Brothers Band for five years before joining the Stones in 1982.

In addition to the Stones’ performance, Levy, the stadium’s concessionaire, put on a tasty all-inclusive buffet at Harrah’s Cherokee Club, offering value for the $445 per person ticket price and easy access to beer and drinks. toilets are key amenities. For food and drinks, the vendor served Baja fish tacos, pulled pork nachos, buffalo wings, hot dogs, homemade cookies, popcorn and candy bars, as well as beers on tap from Terrapin Beer Co. of Athens, Georgia.

However, frictionless screening procedures continue to defeat the intended purpose of expediting site entry. At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Evolv Express system implemented metal chains denoted by straps attached to small transparent handbags, indicating that the level of sensitivity has been increased beyond a reasonable degree for the technology designed to identify dangerous weapons such as knives and guns without slowing down the entry process.

It’s a problem that extends beyond Atlanta, to NBA and NHL arenas as well, and one that needs to be addressed as more facilities adopt the technology.

Additionally, finding an Uber after the show proved to be a challenge, given the estimated crowd of 50,000. There really isn’t an easy way out of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and for those looking for a rideshare, it was best to walk a few blocks to the stadium amid street closures for the event. AMB Sports and Entertainment officials are working hard to make carpooling a better experience, Sautter said.

Fortunately, on a humidity-free night, a blessing in Atlanta this time of year, the situation was tolerable for those waiting 45 minutes to an hour for Uber to arrive.

Hopefully the drunk woman who crashed into the men’s restroom at Harrah’s after the show because she couldn’t wait in line to use the women’s restroom got home safely. In the process, she spilled her drink on the floor after colliding with a man coming out of a toilet cubicle. Stadium security handled his exit carefully.