“It’s good to be here. It’s good to be anywhere.”
For me, those were the most unforgettable lines of the night, uttered one week ago in Macau by legendary guitarist Keith Richards before he gave Mick Jagger a break and did the songs “Slipping Away” and “Before They Make Me Run.”
The latter is a favorite of mine from the Rolling Stones’ 1978 album, Some Girls. It goes, “After all is said and done, gotta move while it’s still fun / I’m going to walk before they make me run.”
I used to naively think it was about quitting while you were ahead in the music and rock and roll business.
What was I thinking? The Rolling Stones played their first gig over 50 years ago on July 12,1962 and they are still at it today. They completed 41 tours and their current one called “14 on Fire” just kicked off in February.
As of today, both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are 70 years old, Charlie Watts is 73 and Ronnie Wood (who joined in 1975) is the “baby” of the group at 67.
Older and wiser now, I guess the boys were at the time singing more about pushing your luck when it came to demons you were letting into your nostrils, mouth, veins, brain or wherever.
I’ve been listening to the Stones since I was in fifth grade. I just won’t tell you when that was. I’ve always envied anyone who had seen them play live because seriously—who does what they do at 50, 60 or much less 70? Each year, I would imagine my chances of ever seeing them play growing slimmer and slimmer.
And then over the last Yuletide, the gods and goddesses and rock and roll and epic concerts bellowed at me from above, “O ye of little faith!” The Stones—Keith, Mick, Charlie and Ronnie were going to play in Macau. I had to be there. And apparently so did many Filipino fans.
The 19-song set list included “Wild Horses,” “Miss You,” “Paint It Black,” “Get Off of My Cloud,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Start Me Up,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” It was a great bonus to see Lisa Fischer—who has apparently been on all The Stones’ tours since 1989. She had her big moment doing “Give Me Shelter” with Mick. In 2013, she joined Nine Inch Nails for their Tension 2013 tour.
Long-time fans and guitar aficionados also had another Mick to marvel at—65 year-old guitarist Mick Taylor joined the band for this tour. He was a former member who played on the “Let It Bleed,” “Sticky Fingers” and “Exile on Main Street” albums.
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” featured the Chung Chi Choir of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The band was 100 percent there, connecting with the audience—Ronnie, Keith and Mick were dancing and moving around the stage and semi-circular catwalk. They were ageless, amazing, present and magical. I felt like I had time traveled or that I had dreamt this magic moment all up.
Someday it will sink it that it really happened.
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The Asia-Pacific leg of the 14 On Fire tour continues in Australia and ends in New Zealand on April 5.