columbus review

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Posted by mariajag on April 06, 1999 at 15:04:01:

Stones keep rolling at Columbus show
Enquirer contributor

The guitar players sometimes made like lazy rock millionaires. The singer displayed enough new cheesy dance maneuvers to make Steven Tyler blush. But when they had the will and the songs, the Rolling Stones were exactly what they always have been — the archetypal rock 'n' roll band.

The Stones, appearing in front of a capacity crowd at Value City Arena in Columbus on Saturday, put on a fine two-hour, 20-song set. Still, the venue's name seemed a bit ironic when watching the show from the $125 cheap seats.

Columbus was only value city when the band picked songs that the guitar players were committed to playing. The final four Stones — singer Mick Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts, and guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood — were augmented by bassist Darryl Jones and keyboardist Chuck Leavell on show-opener “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” Mr. Richards' favorite Stones song.

It was his tune all the way. Sporting pepper-gray hair that stood on end and a black leather-and-denim ensemble, he looked like the ghost of Sid Vicious as he strutted along the stage's lip. He provided the song's central riff and capped the performance with a hard drop to his knees like he meant it.

“Honky Tonk Women” was a props-free version. The arena setting apparently doesn't allow enough space for the giant female-shaped balloons that usually flank the stage during the tune, so it was up to the band itself to provide stimulation. The guitarists did so. Mr. Wood handled the rhythm while Mr. Richards broke off a nice little solo.

The pair was too sloppy at other times. The band's sound depended on interlocking guitar rhythms. When either would coast through his parts, a song was greatly weakened. And since Mr. Wood's cigarettes and Mr. Richards' cigarettes and strange karate-like flinching were given as much consideration as guitar strumming, many songs were left to sound empty.

That scenario hurt what could have been some of the night's best songs, non-smashes pulled from the back catalog like Let It Bleed's“Live With Me” from 1969 and a slowed-down “Respectable” from 1978's Some Girls.

The title track from Some Girls fared better, if only for its topical implications. The song was Mr. Jagger's laundry list of women of the world and how they've wronged him. The line “Some girls give me children I never asked them for” couldn't have rang truer if he'd sung it in Portuguese.

Mr. Jagger's other great low-key moment was a rendition of “Moonlight Mile” from 1971's Sticky Fingers. The song's super-slow beat didn't provide the snappy rhythm the singer needed to prance around like a parody of a parody of himself, so instead he stood at the microphone, sang as well as he did on the original recording, and played the Eastern-flavored guitar melody to boot.

Mr. Richards had a go at fronting the band, which is always a treat. They again went to Some Girls for his tough-guy anthem “Before They Make Me Run.” “Thief in the Night,” from their latest studio album Bridges to Babylon,was the best of the four '90s songs they performed.

The six-piece band did a few numbers on a small, separate stage in the middle of the arena floor, including “Midnight Rambler,” the night's best performance.

After that came a blockbuster-only final stretch. Backup singers and a horn section that included long-time side man Bobby Keys on saxophone helped out on “Tumbling Dice,” “It's Only Rock 'n' Roll,” “Start Me Up,” “Brown Sugar,” and the encore “Sympathy for the Devil.”

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