The Stones at 50: Exiles On Viagra Street

There’s more creases and wrinkles on these mugs than a unmade bed.

Get out the Epson salts and rocking chairs!  The Rolling Stones are about to head out for a series of concerts for their “50 and Counting” World Tour (which certainly sounds better than the “We’re Not Dead Yet” and “We’re Back For More of Your Money” tour).

The group that once was the World’s Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band will yet again trot out a set list of some of their best with a few new tunes nobody cares about or wants to hear (The Stones’ last studio album, A Bigger Bang came out eight years ago).   I guess you’d call this a celebration of sorts to see Mick Jagger prance around yet again, Keith Richards and Ron Wood swap guitar leads and cigarette smoke and Charlie Watts pounding his small, but mighty drum kit.

Are we celebrating the fact the longevity of the Stones or that these old bastards can still put on a show for two hours without passing out or soiling themselves?  “Brown Sugar…how cum you taste so good?  Just like a black girl should…aw, I done a Number Two in me Depends.”

They still put on an EXPENSIVE show, that’s for sure.   When the minimum to see the Stones is $150 for the nosebleed seats and they top out at $2000 (notice I did not say they were for the best seats), you are officially engaged in price-gouging.   Even other musicians recognize that as Kid Rock said, “We’re all over-paid. It’s ridiculous. People stopped going to concerts because they can’t afford them! The Rolling Stones are charging $600. That just makes me speechless. I love the Stones, but I won’t be attending.”

Me neither.  Even if I could, I can’t justify a mortgage payment to see a bunch of old farts cranking their catalog of hits onstage.  I can go home, pop in a CD, turn down the bass, turn up the treble and accomplish the same thing.  Besides the Stones have released nearly a dozen live albums, so what’s the point?

Sucking in their Seventies.

Rock n’ roll is a young man’s game and when you’re pushing 70 (and 70 is pushing back hard) and your age passes your belt size, it ain’t a good look.   Mick and Keith are 69.  Charlie turns 71 next month and Woody is the baby at 65 and you mean to tell me they STILL can’t find no “Satisfaction.”  Man, if you ain’t got it by now you ain’t never gonna get it and even if you do what will you do with it when you get it?

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane/Starship hung it up precisely because she said she hated to see old people on stage.  She told Vanity Fair, “I left rock and roll professionally at about 49. That’s too long as far as I’m concerned. Some people can do it; it depends on what you were. If you were pretty and young and wore short skirts and were busy trying to be sexy and all that shit at 25, it worked. If you’re 50, it doesn’t work quite as well. ”

Jazz and blues are the only genres of music you can do well into your sunset years and nobody thinks you look ridiculous doing it.   Slick nailed it when she declared,  “I don’t want to see old people doing rap or rock and roll. It makes me cringe.”

I saw the Stones back in ‘76 at Cleveland Stadium.  The old Cleveland Stadium.  They tore it down and built another one.  Mick and Keith were older than me 37 years ago and if I’m too damned old to be sitting on a football field to see a show, they’re too old to be up on stage strutting around like two elderly roosters.

These Rolling Stones don’t roll all that much anymore.  Rolling gall stones is more like it.  The World’s Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band  circa 2013 is simply the World Greatest Rolling Stones Tribute Band.

Your pretty faces have gotten pretty old.