RICHARD LUTZ sits back and takes in The Stones at Glastonbury
It’s safe to say that R0nnie Wood saved the day this week end.
With all the original Stones carrying faces that have been crafted by the cartoonists at South Park, Wood had the remaining skills to make it a good solid rock and roll show at Glastonbury, though I was sitting in the safety of my living room watching the act on a flatscreen rather than in a muddy field in Somerset with a 60 year old guy next to me dressed as a Boer War veteran with a joint rammed in his mouth.
Still, the Stones had to appear there after god knows how many years. And since Michael Eaves is calling it a day, it is suitable that Mick and Co. showed up, albeit with only half the set allowed on the tv.
But there is something about the Rolling Stones that touches many of us of a certain generation. Blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield (RIP) said something along the lines that…’ music is the history of who we are…’
Considering he said this through a heavy psychotropic haze, it still rings true. The Stones are the background music for me since I was a young teenager in the mid sixties.
In those far-off days, in NYC, that British ‘thing’ swept through AM radio. At school Angus MacMaster had Beatles socks he was such a fan of the Fab 4. Mike Steiner’s hair got suspicious. Pete Piscelli disappeared. But Paul Garcia had the Stones trick down pat when they emerged. He would do Little Red Rooster in the hallway outside Mr Laing’s maths class. Mr Laing had to push his head out of the door, stop the algebra lesson, feign outrage and shut Garcia up.
Paul let his hair fall to his shoulders and we think he dyed it even and he would continue the Stones renditions on the bus home…even when the tough guys would get on and anything outside of The Four Seasons or The Rascals would be considered effete, wimpy and…let’s just say open to discussion in the back of the Avenue L bus.
But in NY, the Stones didn’t really push to the ‘fore til the late sixties. The Beatles held sway. Or the Four Tops or The Supremes from Detroit and or The Doors or the Beach Boys from the west coast. Or maybe Zappa in his early freaky period.
But slowly The Stones, always hinting at superstardom, came on board with a period of amazing albums: Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (with that lovely picture of Charlie Watts jumping up with two guitars and a donkey next to him).
Exile on Main Street followed, the album that Keith said was his favourite. The Stones were by this time The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. Even the boys on the bus back in NYC would have had to admit they outdid The Rascals and Vanilla Fudge.
So here we are close to five decades from when they started. Mick, Charlie, Keith and Ronnie with faces drawn by South Park. Keith didn’t really play that much this weekend, it seemed, and Mick looked like he was under a heavy duty exercise regime and his voice has shrunk.
Ronnie Wood, he by the way a real life Brummie now that he has married a Moseley girl, was the mainstay once you got past Mick jumping up and down and doing that wavy finger thing; wondered just what Keith was doing or Mick Taylor who looked like the guy who sells vinyl at a street market.
So, a landmark concert. Hats off to Ronnie, hats off to The Stones
A footnote: The most criticism I get from pieces on this site always come with music pieces or music reviews. The Allman Brothers poison didn’t stop for a week, I remember. So, I put on my tin helmet and earphones and head for the trenches.