The Rolling Stones Hyde Park July 13th 2013

The Rolling Stones Hyde Park July 13th 2013
photo-36 When I walked out of the O2 in London in August 2007 after seeing The Rolling Stones at the end of the Bigger Bang tour I really thought I had seen them for the last time. Even I, as a life long Stones fan, couldn’t have imagined that they would be back five years later and that they would deliver a series of concerts which would easily match, and in some ways eclipse, their concert tours of the 70s and 80s. But as David and I walked out of Hyde Park last night I felt I had seen them do just that. In whatever way you measure it this 50 and Counting tour has been a massive success and the Stones legacy remains intact, nay enhanced, by the stunning performances that Jagger and co have delivered. I have had the privilege of attending three shows on the tour: the opening night at the O2 last November, their overwhelmingly successful Pyramid stage debut at Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago and the last night (for now? 🙂 ) of the tour in London’s Hyde Park, their home town and the setting for their iconic show of 1969.
stonesPhoto1 I took the train down to London on Saturday afternoon and met David at Marble Arch at 6pm. I was staying at the Cumberland hotel just over the road. We had a drink in the hotel bar and then wandered over to the park. Jake Bugg was on stage as we made our way in through the crowds. The weather was hot,  almost unbearably so; in fact this was the hottest day of the year so far. I’d been invited by Barclaycard to try out their new contactless wrist band which I had loaded with £20 to spend in the park. We spotted the Barclaycard Unwind stand and wandered over to ask which food outlets accepted payment through my wristband, and how we could access the Unwind bar. The lady assured us that most food stalls took it and directed us towards the bar which was behind the stage. Now our tickets were cheap (£100 ! 🙂 ) standard GA which didn’t actually allow access to the bar or the areas close to the stage. Still we followed her directions, and walked through a couple of gates without being challenged and ended up in the backstage bar and with access to the Tier 2 area close to the stage. Result! We had a burger and a coke each which just about used up the money on my wristband and found a spot to watch the Stones.
The Rolling Stones hit the stage around 8.30pm with Start Me Up. One thing struck me about the crowd last night. I would say the majority were in their 20s or 30s. Sure there were some old guys like me but not too many. And everyone knew all the songs and sang along and danced. This was much more a Stones crowd than at Glastonbury and you could feel the difference. The sound, the visuals and the atmosphere were all much better. No guest, but what we did get were Ruby Tuesday and Emotional Rescue, both of which I haven’t seen played for some time. For me the highlight of this tour has become Paint It Black along with Gimme Shelter and Sympathy For The Devil; but Ruby Tuesday was equally stunning last night with the whole place signing along. stonesPhoto3 Oh and a mention for Doom and Gloom which is fitting in well and has become a favourite of my friend John. I voted for Street Fighting Man on the Stones website and was pleased to see them play it. You just can’t fault this band. They really are at the top of their game at the moment; Jagger is so fit and so confident; Keith is so cool and yep he does fluff some riffs now and then but hey he is Keef and he is allowed to now; anyway Ronnie more than makes up for any of Keith’s shortcomings and shines through as the musical backbone of the band along with Charlie who is just Charlie and who actually said Hello to the crowd last night. Oh and I can’t forget to mention Mick Taylor who must feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now and who pushed the band to greater heights in Midnight Rambler, which has also become a highlight of the tour. Which ever way you look at it this is the greatest rock band in the world. No question. As David and I left the park, the riff from Satisfaction still ringing in our ears my wondering started again. Could this be the last time? This time I think not.
Setlist: Start Me Up; It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It); Tumbling Dice; Emotional Rescue; Street Fighting Man; Ruby Tuesday; Doom and Gloom; Paint It Black; Honky Tonk Women; You Got the Silver (Keith); Happy (Keith); Miss You; Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor); Gimme Shelter; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Sympathy for the Devil; Brown Sugar. Encore: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with choir); Satisfaction
Thanks to David for the photographs

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