The Rolling Stones kicked off their five-date 50th anniversary tour at London's O2 Arena Sunday night (November 25), playing a two-hour-plus set that reunited the aging rockers with former bassist Bill Wyman and guitarist Mick Taylor. Wyman, who left the Stones in 1992, shared the stage with the band for the first time in more than 20 years to run through two classics: 1969's "Honky Tonk Women" and 1974's "It's Only Rock n' Roll (But I Like It)." Taylor made his exit in '74, but helped the Stones through a rendition of "Midnight Rambler," off 1969's Let It Bleed. The 23-song set also included cameos from guitar legend Jeff Beck, who played on 1975's "I'm Going Down," and first lady of R&B Mary J. Blige, who dueted with Mick Jagger on "Gimme Shelter."
The Stones didn't dig deep for every song, though. Newer cuts "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot," from their recent career-spanning anthology GRRR!, helped fill out a repertoire dominated by well-worn standards, such as 1971's "Wild Horses" and 1968's "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Jagger reportedly took a break from singing the hits to thank the crowd of 20,000 for their devotion. "It's amazing that we're still doing this, and it's amazing that you're still buying our records and coming to our shows," he said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
The 69-year-old singer also acknowledged the controversy surrounding the pricey tickets for the "50 & Counting" tour, which at one point were attempting to fetch as much as $17,742 apiece on secondary ticketing websites. "Everybody all right there in the cheap seats?" Jagger asked. "They're not really cheap though, are they? That's the trouble." The Telegraph reported that the inflated fees may have discouraged some fans, since plenty of tickets were still available online the day of the show. Still, a spokesperson for the Stones maintained that there wouldn't be an empty seat in the house, saying, “The sellers won't risk being out of pocket, they’ll come down and sell them on the night."
Before the English rockers opened with the Lennon/McCartney-penned "I Wanna Be Your Man," audience members at the show saw a video featuring several famous Stones fans — including Iggy Pop, Elton John, and AC/DC's Angus Young — talking about what the band means to them. According to the NME, Johnny Depp labeled the Stones oeuvre as "music that makes you want to do bad things.” Another montage splicing together footage of several of the Rolling Stones' idols, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry among them, played later in the show.
The Stones, who also turned out a few smaller warm-up gigs, have four more dates left in their mini-tour: November 29 at the O2 Arena, December 8 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, and December 13 and 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. That final gig will be broadcast live via WWE pay-per-view.
See performances of "Honky Tonk Women," "I'm Going Down," "Doom and Gloom," "Brown Sugar," and "I Wanna Be Your Man," along with the concert's full set list, below.
Rolling Stones @ London's O2 Arena set list:
"I Wanna Be Your Man"
"Get Off Of My Cloud"
"It’s All Over Now"
"Paint It Black"
"Gimme Shelter" (with Mary J. Blige)
"All Down The Line"
"I'm Going Down" (with Jeff Beck)
"Out Of Control"
"One More Shot"
"Doom And Gloom"
"It’s Only Rock n’ Roll" (with Bill Wyman)
"Honky Tonk Women" (with Bill Wyman)
"Before They Make Me Run"
"Midnight Rambler" (with Mick Taylor)
"Start Me Up"
"Sympathy For The Devil"
"You Can’t Always Get What You Want" (with choir)
"Jumpin’ Jack Flash"