The Rolling Stones welcomed their fans from across the U.S.A. to have a seat in their own home as the British veteran rockers jammed live on stage at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, January 18, 2003. The Stones performed their first cable television special for Home Box Office.
Very few surprise selections sneaked over the cable broadcast as the Stones essentially slipped into autopilot on the second leg of their much-heralded Licks anniversary tour. The obtrusive search lights beamed bright blinding flashes on camera during the band's entrance on "Street Fighting Man".
"If You Can't Rock Me", one of their better rockers, is a Licks Tour exclusive. Darryl Jones delivered a bass solo during the bridge while the guitar duo of Keith Richards and Ron Wood exercised their skill on stinging guitar solos.
Mick Jagger donned an electric guitar to perform "Don't Stop". Wood tore up his guitar neck during his Ronnie-Cam solo. Jagger was particularly animated on their latest musical lick. "Angie" introduced a softer moment during the cable program. Richards and Wood were both sporting acoustic guitars for the 30 year-old ballad.
Richards sang his 1994 power ballad, "Thru And Thru". Starting out solo, the band crashes in and builds the intensity of the performance. A major Licks Tour highlight is the phenomenal "Can't You Hear Me Knocking". Wood comes alive on electric guitar, delivering an empowered guitar solo. Jagger wails away on harmonica, and Bobby Keys blasts away on sax as the audience goes wild.
The Rolling Stones were joined on stage by Sheryl Crow for their classic 1969 single, "Honky Tonk Women". Crow was dressed in a tiny tight outfit that barely contained her bursting energy. Richards cranked the intro on his guitar to signal the adult animation sequence. Jagger and Crow reprised their spirited duet, which they sang together on the 1999 U.K. Tour. She had been a previous guest on their 1994 PPV broadcast from Miami.
"Satisfaction" solicited cheers of approval throughout the Garden. This was the only song that motivated the cable cameras to search into the audience and seek out bubbly babes bouncing to the beat. Richards was possessed on electric guitar as he fired life into the 38 year-old rock anthem.
"When The Whip Comes Down" adorned their B-stage performance, which has become commonplace at Stones' concerts since the 1997 tour. Jagger played electric guitar once again on the Some Girls rocker. Richards managed to turn in a choice guitar solo even though the song was played in a faster tempo.
The cable special ended with back-to-back major Stones' classics both from 1968. Jagger reappeared on stage for the first encore of "Sympathy For The Devil", wearing eight blinking Tongue pins. Chuck Leavell's piano intro was pronounced. Richards treated the Garden and home viewers to two outstanding guitar solos during the bridge and the outro.
Jagger's smile, captured briefly, conveyed his personal enjoyment of being on stage with his band mates of the past four decades. Red paper petals burst above the Garden as the band launched into "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Peaking on a crescendo of unsurpassed professional prowess, the entire unit elevated this encore jam performance. Charlie Watts struck the final beat before tossing both drumsticks into the crowd.
After the Rolling Stones left the stage, a cable cameraman followed Sir Mick out onto the venue carport where a small fleet of luxury limousines were waiting to whisk the band away. Jagger remarked humorously, "Are we walking all the way?", before comically commenting for someone to get him a taxi.
Jagger demonstrated he is in top physical shape, retaining the energy of his youth. Richards embodies the rock guitar hero, putting his guitar through the punishment of a Rolling Stones workout. Watts has proven he dominates above all of the British rock drummers from his era. Wood has reinvented himself on guitar on stage for this tour. The Stones sound as strong as ever together!
The Stones were supported by a familiar group of musicians that have been touring with them on repeated world tours. Saxophonist Bobby Keys' history with the Stones stretches back to his 1969 studio participation on "Live With Me". Newest member, multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist Blondie Chaplin, joined the touring entourage in 1997.
Tickets for this second of two nights at the Garden were hard to come by. Scalpers were peddling counterfeit tickets, greedy fans were asking inflated commissions on tickets, and the box office only had premium priced seats available before selling out completely.
HBO Broadcast: Street Fighting Man * Start Me Up * If You Can't Rock Me * Don't Stop * Monkey Man * Angie * Let It Bleed * Midnight Rambler * Tumbling Dice * introductions * Thru And Thru (Keith) * Happy (Keith) * Gimme Shelter * You Got Me Rocking * Can't You Hear Me Knocking * Honky Tonk Women (with Sheryl Crow) * (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction * It's Only Rock'n Roll (B-stage) * When The Whip Comes Down (B-stage) * * Brown Sugar (B-stage) * Encore: Sympathy For The Devil * Jumpin' Jack Flash
Rolling Stones cable broadcasts:
Tattoo You @ Richmond - December 18, 1981
Steel Wheels @ Atlantic City - December 19, 1989
Voodoo Lounge @ Miami - November 25, 1994
Bridges To Babylon @ Saint Louis - December 12, 1997
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Live Licks from the Garden
Stones broadcast from the Big Apple
by Timothy Tilghman