StonesThe opening lyric of the first song revealed what awaited 42,000 fans packed into Petco Park: “I was born in a cross-fire hurricane”, Mick declared.  The unrelenting driving pulse of Jumping Jack Flash combined by the indefatigable energy of Mick Jagger set the stage for one of the Stones’ best shows in memory. (Editor’s note: this observer has attended seven Stones concerts over the past thirty-five years and has seen most all of their recorded concerts)  With the notable exception of a unwelcome Keith Richard two-song interlude that gave Jagger a few minutes to regroup for the second half of the show, the Stones’ May 24th kick-off concert for their 2015 “Zip Code Tour” was nothing short of stellar.

Their set list was a compilation of most of their greatest concert songs.  Moonlight Mile – a nod to their impending re-issue of the Sticky Fingers album – was the slowest and least known song in the set, but was beautifully rendered.   In fact, all of the songs they performed showcased their remarkable musicianship and easy camaraderie.   You could tell by the normally stone-faced Charlie Watts’ frequent smiles that these septuagenarians were having a great time together.  Often, you’d see them congratulating their compatriots for a well-turned phrase, a new twist or a masterfully executed solo.   The video opening the show gave a good feel for the impressive history of the band, but the band did not rest on its formidable laurels.

Mick Jagger’s birth certificate might suggest that he is 71 years old, but any evidence of aging was undetectable.   In fact, his improbably-potent personal energy pretty much powered the 140-minute show.   At 10 minutes-to-midnight, the band took their last bow and slowly departed the stage – you could tell that the San Diego curfew, not their stamina, drove their decision to end the show.   These guys wanted to keep playing.   This commentator had to be dragged to the show because of his doubts that these aging rockers could come close to matching their past performances.   This commentator was dead wrong.   Improbably, the Stones never been better – and their set list has rarely been so stocked with songs perfectly designed for live performance.   It’s this simple; this show should not be missed…..even at $200 per ticket.   It’s a bucket-lister.   You can see videos of each of the songs at StonesNews.

Set List

  1. Jumping Jack Flash
  2. It’s Only Rock and Roll
  3. All Down the Line
  4. Tumbling Dice
  5. Doom and Gloom
  6. Bitch
  7. Moonlight Mile
  8. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
  9. Street Fighting Man
  10. Honky Tonk Woman
  11. Keith Richards – Slipping Away
  12. Keith Richards – Before They Make Me Run
  13. Midnight Rambler
  14. Miss You
  15. Gimme Shelter
  16. Start Me Up
  17. Sympathy for the Devil
  18. Brown Sugar

ENCORE

  1. You Can’t Always Get What You Want  (assisted by the Bob Cole Chamber Choir)
  2. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

For other reviews of the Petco Park show, check out Rolling Stone‘s take on their namesake band, as well as the “Epic Tour Opener” described in detail by Ultimate Classic Rock.   Billboard offered an extensive review that includes much of Jagger’s humorous between-song banter.    And even Mick got into the act sharing pictures from his pre-concert hike in San Diego’s Mission Trails Park.

A quick note for future concert goers at Petco:    Petco Park reportedly uses Elite Show Services to run their concerts.    Well, our experience at the show was pretty horrible.   The lines to get into the park were long and disorganized.   We arrived at 7:15  (showtime was advertised for 8pm) and we missed the first 15 minutes of the show.  Just about everyone we knew missed some of the concert because it took over an hour to get into the venue.   We sat in the upper deck and saw no sign of security — so we were on our own to deal with some pretty rowdy, drunk concertgoers.  We also heard that security on the field was next to worthless.  Some talked about how it felt like Altamont (the Stones concert where the Hell’s Angels took over.)    As good as the Stones performed was about as bad as the concert was run by Elite.   We’ll definitely be reluctant to attend another concert at Petco.