Live Review: The Rolling Stones – Perth Arena (29.10.14)

With almost twenty years since their last Perth show, and 7 months since the postponement of their Australian tour in the wake of the sudden death of L’Wren Scott, The Rolling Stones showed on Wednesday night that not only do good things come to those who wait, and that they were more than worth the wait.

A heavy ominous tribal beat and striking visuals flashed across the big screen, heralding the arrival onto stage of one of the most iconic bands in rock ‘n’ roll history. There was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation, all of which flooded over as Keith Richards tore into the opening riff of “Start Me Up” as Mick Jagger made his presence known on stage.

That really set the mood for the rest of the night, upbeat, energetic and triumphant. Other than a two song interlude, the 71 year old Jagger didn’t stop moving. He stalked the stage, gyrating, flailing, pointing, working the crowd; frankly making everyone else on stage look positively sedate.

With a back catalogue as extensive as theirs there was no shortage of classic tunes to call upon, and over the course of the night many of the bands most popular hits were given an airing. “It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)” and Exile on Main St’s “Tumbling Dice” were early highlights, with the former accompanied by black and white vintage footage hammering home the band’s longevity.

Sticky Fingers track “Bitch” was the winner of the evenings Twitter song vote, with Jagger quipping, “Which fortunately we know”. “Honky Tonk Woman” and its cowbell intro drew a massive cheer from the capacity crowd. Jagger then introduced the band, before handing over to Richards for two songs, “You’ve got the Silver” a bluesy acoustic number accompanied by Wood, and “Can’t be Seen”.

The second half of the set was pretty much a case of hit after hit. “Midnight Rider” saw former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor join the band on stage, getting in his own impressive guitar solo. “Miss You” featured some great call and response “woo whos” from the audience. “Gimme Shelter” was a personal highlight, it’s one of my favourite Stones tracks, and it was great to finally hear it live; and what an astounding vocal solo from backing singer Lisa Fischer.

“Jumping Jack Flash” was the only song of the night, where there were any noticeable sound issues, with Jaggers vocals getting a little bit buried underneath the onslaught of guitars. The double bill of “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Brown Sugar” brought the main set to a triumphant close.

Local choir The Giovanni Consort, kicked off the encore, with the opening missives of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” which featured some pretty impressive back and forth with the crowd. Taylor returned to the stage for the final song of the night, the only song left that needed playing – “Satisfaction”. The band took their final bow, the lights dimmed, and the audience were let out into the night, plenty of them humming and whistling some of those so familiar riffs.

The Rolling Stones despite their advancing years still know how to put on a show, they still know how to entertain and rock an audience. On stage for over two hours, the band played with more energy and verve than plenty of bands half their age. It was a night of old school showmanship and rock ‘n’ roll theatricality and one which I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

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The Rolling Stones continue their tour around Australia and New Zealand through November. They play a second show in Perth tomorrow night.

Nov 01, 2014 – Perth Arena, Perth – All Ages
Nov 05, 2014 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – All Ages
Nov 08, 2014 – Hanging Rock, Macedon – All Ages
Nov 12, 2014 – Allphones Arena, Sydney – All Ages
Nov 15, 2014 – Hope Estate, Hunter Valley – All Ages
Nov 18, 2014 – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane – All Ages
Nov 22, 2014 – Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland – All Ages

For tickets and more details head to: http://www.frontiertouring.com/rollingstones

Photo by Stuart Sevastos. Check out photos from the night HERE.

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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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