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Aged but far from worn out, the Rolling Stones have raised the temperature in Lyon

Lyon, July 19, 2022. We are around 40 degrees. 50,000 people fill the Stade de Décines in the Lyon area. Everyone is already very hot, but the temperature will rise again in the evening… whose fault is it? To the Rolling Stones who give their first of two dates in France for this “Sixty” tour.

In 1967, Paul McCartney was singing When I’m sixty four and imagined himself at the age of 64, which he has already greatly exceeded. The Stones themselves are not far from celebrating their 64th anniversary… of career! This “Sixty” tour celebrates six decades of activity for the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world. The Rolling Stones gave their very first concert on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee Club in London. And in 2022, they are still there. Well not all of them. The concert opens with footage of drummer Charlie Watts who died last year. Images that Jagger will qualify a little later as “particularly moving”.

The images of Charlie Watts broadcast on the screens at the start of the concert, here in Vienna (Austria) on July 15, 2022 (HANS KLAUS TECHT / APA)

Then it’s the wave of hits for two hours, starting with Street Fighting Man (“street fighter”), a song written in 1968, referring to the events of May in France.

It must be said that the Stones and France, it’s a long story. As evidenced by the documentary recently broadcast on france.tv, the biggest rock’n’roll group in the world has a special link with France. Mick Jagger clarifies: “It’s our 53rd concert in France, but certainly the hottest!” And last night, Lyon found the Stones, just 40 years after having received them at the Gerland stadium on June 16, 1982. Jagger has obviously revised well: he is ironic about “Les Gones, better singers than the Stéphanois”and the local gastronomy “who ruined his diet”.

The singer also walked around the capital of Gaul the day before the concert, incognito, to take some photos. A ritual to which he has not departed since the start of the tour. Each city of each Stones concert is the subject of publications on social networks by the singer in tourist mode lambda. And it must be recognized that the star of the group is him.

It’s an understatement to say that Mick Jagger leads the show from start to finish. Pacing the stage up and down, he harangues the crowd and displays an energy and a sway that one would not suspect for an almost octogenarian! The singer of the Stones will indeed be 79 years old on July 26th. Its slender and sporty silhouette sports a jacket that is almost different in every piece. The three Stones change outfits almost as much as guitars!

Mick Jagger pretending to throw his jacket in the public (but he will not do so) on the stage of the Stade Groupama de Décines (Lyon), July 19, 2022 (JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

On the six-string side, Keith Richards and Ron Wood are slightly further back. The two guitarists rarely advance on the promontory located in the pit, but seem happy to play like two teenagers who would go on stage for the first time.

The falsely detached guitarist, known for his legendary aphorisms, here takes on an almost youthful air by confessing his pleasure to find us again. He intones You Got the Silverundoubtedly his most beautiful song and the best moment of the concert, in any case for the author of these lines.

In the aftermath, Happy with Ron Wood on lapsteel guitar, closes the short interlude offered to “Monsieur Riff du rock’n’roll”. Two tracks where Jagger stayed behind the scenes. But the showman returns for Miss You whose chorus is taken up in unison by the stadium. Like many other titles elsewhere.

How to summarize in two hours 60 years of career? Impossible to satisfy all expectations but the great hours of the group are represented: the sixties first and in majority, with more than half of the set including the more than famous Satisfaction, Jumping Jack Flash Where Paint it Black- but also out of time which is not among the best known. Then the 70s through DeadFlowers, Tumbling Dice, Happy, Angie and Miss Youbut unfortunately without Brown Sugar, disappeared from the setlist due to controversy. And finally the eighties and its essential hit start me up. But the Stones are keen to show they’re still a current band by playing Living In A Ghost Townpiece composed and released during confinement.

As for mythical songs, Sympathy for the Devil and You Can’t Always Get What You Want immediately won the support of the public. As for Honkytonk Women, the intro is acclaimed from the sound of Cowbell, even before the guitar riff, played by Richards on his famous five-string Telecaster, nicknamed “Micawber”. And sulphurous piece if there is one, Midnight Rambler offers the opportunity for our great blues fans to slip in a quote from C’mon in my kitchen by Robert Johnson.

So yes of course, we are far from the great hours of Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! but who could imagine that musicians who are grandfathers can be at the same level as in their thirties? We sometimes feel some approximations in the guitar riffs, the solo of Sympathy for the Devil is far from equaling the mythical period with Mick Taylor, and the setlist even reveals that Gimme Shelter was originally planned, but was not performed. Is it the fault of the first part of Nothing But Thieves, which although musically pleasant has dragged on a bit?

The setlist written by Ron Wood, as for each concert (Ron Wood / Rolling Stones Official Facebook Page)

But it would be choosy to dwell on these details. The Stones put on a show that lived up to their reputation. A scene certainly sober compared to other tours but a symbol in the shape of the famous mouth sticking out its tongue. A logo known throughout the world, created by John Pasche in 1971, and which, let’s remember, was not inspired by the face of Mick Jagger but by the Indian goddess Kali.

The Groupama Stadium in Décines at the end of the concert, last night July 19, 2022 (Jean-François Convert)

The organization surrounding the concert also proved to be up to the task: exceptional transport system, imposing security, and unlimited free water distribution. The sheer number of people working on the project hints at the extent of such an undertaking. It’s no small thing if the stage is duplicated and each new concert is set up while the previous one is taking place. All dates are a minimum of four days apart. This is how the Rolling Stones will perform in Paris this Saturday, July 23.

The hexagonal province had the honor of having the primacy before the capital. And the public, not only from Lyon of course, since we met people from all regions and even from abroad, savored a show which confirmed the status of the greatest rock band, and still the oldest. in activity. Hats off to Mick, Keith and Ron. Last night, as the Stones would say, “it was just rock’n’roll, but I really like it”.

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