After a five year hiatus, the Rolling Stones jammed at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, on Friday, October 4, 2002. Over 150 Shidoobee Stones fans gathered together to attend the outstanding 'war horses' concert. Ironically, scalpers were burdened with extra tickets that could only be given away.
Rich blue lighting bathed the stage as an ambient percussion track pumped out over the massive sound system. Bright yellow lights lit up the recently redesigned Licks stage once Keith Richards cranked out the guitar intro on "Brown Sugar". Bobby Keys punched up the performance with a surging saxophone solo.
Four large sections of a state-of-the-art video screen projected images of the individual members of the Stones as the band began "Start Me Up". Ron Wood laid a fantastic guitar solo, and Darryl Jones contributed improvised bass runs.
The Horn section were on hand for a loaded version of "Tumbling Dice". Wood ripped on another impressive lead guitar solo. Mick Jagger greeted the mixed stadium audience with, "Washington, D.C.! Baltimore!", to generate crowd excitement.
For "Angie", Richards and Wood strummed acoustic guitars, seated on stools to inject an acoustic interlude. Chuck Leavel added melodic piano. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" was a highpoint in their performance. Jagger's strong vocal, Watt's sharp percussion, and Wood's amazing lead guitar solo combined with another outstanding sax solo by Keys empowered this remarkable live rendition.
Richards said, "It's good to be back, you know", and then sang his classic 1972 single "Happy". Wood was seated and played dobro guitar. The audience sprang to it's feet for "Sympathy For The Devil". Pyrotechnic flames flashed as Richards jammed on his solo, and Watts pounded on the skins.
The Stones revisited their early R&B roots with a revised cover of "Little Red Rooster" on the B-stage. Richards and Wood traded blues guitar licks, Jagger delivered a piping harmonica solo, and Jones' bass playing acted as an anchor. The rhythm section offered up a cool groove on "Street Fighting Man". Both Richards and Wood took turns, jamming with Blondie Chaplin who added acoustic guitar support.
With a burst of lights and smoke, the Stones emerged to perform "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as an encore. Richards launched the number with his guitar work as the band rocked in unison. A stinging guitar solo by Richards induced an eargasm for Stones fans. The tempo exploded into a terrific crescendo, accompanied by fireworks and flames as the band took a final bow together.
Allen Furth, 39 from Annapolis, attended his first Rolling Stones concert. Furth thought the first three songs performed, established the energy the Stones needed to motivate the crowd. He commented, "I thought it was a great concert. I was extremely impressed by the big screen".
Having enjoyed the Landover concert, Furth added, "These guys know how to put on a show, it was well choreographed and timed for maximum crowd control - such as letting the crowd yell itself out before the final fireworks display to send them home. I wouldn't expect anything less from a group that has been doing this sort of thing for 40 years".
Furth also stated, "The B-stage was a great touch. It makes the crowd feel closer to the band. But, I thought that it also was intended to provide a feel for when the band was still coming-up and would play small venues with only a few instruments on stage".
37 years ago in the Fall of 1965, the Stones first visited Maryland during their fourth U.S. tour. Seven Presidential administrations later, Jagger, Richards and Watts, joined by Wood, are still crisscrossing America. These Rolling Stones gather no moss.
Landover setlist: Brown Sugar * It's Only Rock'n Roll * Start Me Up * Don't Stop * Tumbling Dice * Monkey Man * Angie* You Can't Always Get What You Want * Can't You Hear Me Knocking * Love Train * introductions * Slipping Away (Keith) * Happy (Keith) * Sympathy For The Devil * You Got Me Rocking (B-stage) * Little Red Rooster (B-stage) * Like A Rolling Stone (B-stage) * Gimme Shelter * Honky Tonk Women * Street Fighting Man * Jumpin' Jack Flash * Encore: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
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by Timothy Tilghman