“It’s great to be here at
The actual gig was Desert Trip, this weekend’s classic-rock mega-concert featuring the Stones,
But maybe Oldchella, as it's been jokingly called, felt insufficiently challenging to Jagger. At 73, he wanted to show he can still compete with pop stars and rappers one-third his age.
Moving across the enormous Desert Trip stage in his signature style, Jagger led the Stones through a colorful, energetic two-hour performance that didn't need fireworks to light up the crowd. (There were fireworks anyway.)
The band opened, as always, with "Start Me Up," and within seconds Jagger was strutting his stuff down a long runway that jutted onto the floor — a device that Dylan, of course, had completely ignored earlier Friday evening.
While Jagger pranced and pouted, Keith Richards and
The set list hit the expected high points: "Tumbling Dice," with lots of Southern-soul sax; "Honky Tonk Women," recognizable to the audience by its cowbell intro alone; a taut "Miss You" that felt approximately 25% faster than on record; and "Sympathy for the Devil," for which Jagger changed into a sparkly red jacket.
Midway through the show, Richards took the mic for two songs from the 1980s: an appealingly ragged "Slipping Away" and the hard-riffing "Little T&A." The Stones reached back to that decade too for "Mixed Emotions" (from 1989's "Steel Wheels"), which Jagger said they hadn't performed in some time.
The band also did "Ride 'Em on Down," one of the blues tunes it recently recorded for an album due in December.
In spite of Jagger's aversion to being seen as a dinosaur, that proudly old-fashioned jam proved he knew what festival he was really playing. So did a slinking cover of "Come Together" by the Beatles and a very pretty "Wild Horses," which was accompanied on a giant video screen by images from the Joshua Tree desert — a reminder, it seemed, of the group's decades-old dalliance with the late Gram Parsons.
Then again, the Stones encored with two songs about refusing to accept an unwelcome reality: "You Can't Always Get What You Want," with some local help from the USC Thornton Chamber Singers, and the inevitable "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
These guys are never gonna retire, are they?