The Rolling Stones delivered on demand, staging their Licks Tour at Veterans Stadium on Wednesday, September 18, 2002, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philly fans welcomed the Stones with a warmhearted roar of respect and affection. The Stones performed in top form, keeping their energy output and audience excitement at the highest level possible.
The Stones started out strong with a beefy sax solo from Bobby Keys on their classic 1971 single, "Brown Sugar", generating a positive reception. Mick Jagger encouraged the crowd with his remark, "Hi Philly, how you doing? We're gonna have a good time tonight, yes we are".
Keith Richards' guitar sounded the familiar chords of "Start Me Up" as four giant video screens appeared from the wings of the massive stage. Ron Wood was animated during his lead guitar solo and leapt about the Licks stage. Keyboardist Chuck Leavel added backing vocals in the mix.
Jagger strapped on an electric guitar to add rhythm melody on their latest single, "Don't Stop". Jagger has a distinct style of rhythm guitar playing and is interesting to watch in performance. Wood clipped on his Ronnie-Cam, which captures a unique perspective of the Stones live on stage. Jagger said with assurance, "... Just warming up", in response to the audience applause.
Search lights added to the atmosphere of "Undercover Of The Night". Charlie Watts was on time behind the drumkit, and Jagger sang the lyrics in a spirited vocal. The crowd sang the prologue chorus on "You Can't Always Get What You Want". Jagger was in complete command on stage as he swaggered and skipped to the mellow tempo. He complimented the crowd with, "Thank you very much, you sound good".
The Horn section announced the surprise crowd-pleaser "Love Train". Jagger appeared pimped out in his white hat and coat. Darryl Jones contributed a rumbling bass line, and Blondie Chaplin supported the rhythm on acoustic guitar. The popular cover song motivated the ecstatic crowd to dance and clap.
Richards remarked, "Alright, now some classic rock", as he charged into "Before They Make Me Run". The Horn section punched up the song as Richards and Wood jammed together on stage. A huge fire-tongue of flames appeared on the jumbotron to introduce "Sympathy For The Devil". Once again, Watts was tight on the beat, and Richards delivered another fierce lead guitar solo.
Hanging off the rear railing, the Stones performed the risque country- rocker "Let It Bleed" on the B-stage. Jagger played acoustic guitar and stalked the intimate stage. A giant lapping tongue that seduces a topless toon babe appeared on screen as the band launched into "Honky Tonk Women". Richards sang harmony vocals, and Leavel stamped out his cliched piano solo. Checking on the crowd, Jagger asked, "Philly, are you feeling good?".
Red paper rose petals were airborne as stadium cannons fired on cue for "Jumpin' Jack Flash", which rained down upon the infield section. The Stones cranked as Richards ripped on a blistering lead solo, standing center stage. The band extended their stage jam as the crescendo finale of the evening.
Returning for a single encore, Richards churned his guitar chords on "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". After Jagger finished the last stanza, Richards tore into an intense guitar solo, and Jagger sauntered out on the catwalk. As the Glimmer Twins' 1965 classic climaxed, Philadelphians left satisfied. The stage was littered about with red circles as an impressive pyrotechnics display signaled the end of the event.
Veterans Stadium setlist: Brown Sugar * It's Only Rock'n Roll * Start Me Up * Don't Stop * Tumbling Dice * Undercover Of The Night * Wild Horses * You Can't Always Get What You Want * Midnight Rambler * Love Train * Slipping Away (Keith) * Before They Make Me Run (Keith) * Sympathy For The Devil * You Got Me Rocking (B-stage) * Let It Bleed (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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in a Stadium
Warhorses galloping full speed ahead
by Timothy Tilghman