Posted May 12, 2013 by Jeff in Tunes

Rolling Stones: Their golden anniversary in Vegas

Rolling Stones in Las Vegas with Katy Perry (credit: J. Bouquet)
Rolling Stones in Las Vegas with Katy Perry (credit: J. Bouquet)

While the Rolling Stones took the stage a good 45 minutes after a scheduled 8pm start time last night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, that didn’t keep the sold out audience from remaining on its feet for the duration of the two-and-a-half hour show. On tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Stones were in good form, even if the concert got off to a rocky start and hit a few minor bumps along the way.

The sound was muddy during opening number “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “Paint it Black” fell flat and felt rushed (and it didn’t help that the band performed the tune under bright white lights that diminished its impact). But the group recovered (and the sound improved) for “Gimme Shelter,” which turned into a vigorous jam that found singer Mick Jagger belting out the chorus with backing singer Lisa Fischer. That seemed to wake the guys up and they sounded sharp from that point forward.

Special guest Katy Perry arrived on stage mid-show to share lead vocals on “Beast of Burden.” She didn’t pack the vocal power of Fischer but she held her own and added some sex appeal in the process, even if she and Jagger didn’t have tremendous chemistry. “Honky Tonk Woman” turned into a rousing sing-a-long before the concert hit a bit of a lull again as Keith Richards took over lead vocals for two songs. Jagger then returned for a tepid rendition of “Emotional Rescue”; he handled the falsetto vocals with no problem but struggled to make the spoken parts as menacing as they should have been.

The set’s high point was “Midnight Rambler,” which found former guitarist Mick Taylor joining in the festivities. His guitar playing had a real edge that only amplified what Richards and Ron Wood had delivered all night long. “Miss You” concluded with a nice jam and “Tumblin’ Dice” had a good grunge feel to it. Fierce renditions of “Brown Sugar” and “Sympathy for the Devil” brought the concert to a climactic close, though the band would return to play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Jumping Jack Flash” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” for a thrilling three-song encore. If this is indeed the band’s final go around as it’s been rumored, the guys are surely going out with a bang.


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].