The Rolling Stones have cultivated their live stadium reputation by staging excessive extravaganzas with cutting edge technology to deliver the sound and sight of their performance in an unparalleled verbal and visual assault. The Stones' 40th Anniversary 2002 Licks World Tour is no exception to their established rule.

     Gillette Field hosted the Rolling Stones on Thursday, September 5, 2001, in Foxboro, Massachusetts. This mega-concert was it's inaugural event even before Superbowl XXXVI champions, the New England Patriots, held their debut football game. The new massive Licks stage was reminiscent of their 1989 Steel Wheels stage, incorporating many design elements of recent tours.

     The main stage was slowly bathed in blue lights as a Licks logo was hoist into view. As a trade off from the FleetCenter concert two nights earlier (which opened with a Richards' composition), Gillette began with Jagger's lurid tale of the South, "Brown Sugar". Keith Richards struck a discordant note on his guitar as Mick Jagger followed on his heels, looking sharp in a long red overcoat. Bobby Keys stepped on deck for a fantastic sax solo.

     Under bright yellow lights to change the mood, Richards stroked his guitar and stoked audience expectations by launching "Start Me Up", a latter day Stones gem from 1981. Ron Wood's lead guitar solo was the right prescription to feed a hungry rock'n'roll fix. The techno sound system was clear and crisp, revealing the band to be fit and ready for their prolonged tour of duty.

     The cyber-era jumbotron featured movable screen units that unfolded from the sides and could morph into four separate screens. Jagger strapped on an electric guitar to perform their impending single, "Don't Stop". The Ronnie-Cam was in use again as Wood provided his unique perspective on stage action from his guitar neck. Jagger stated enthusiastically, "This is our first big show. I tell you, I've been looking forward to this one".

     "Honky Tonk Women" was visually enhanced by an erotic cartoon of a topless female figure with heaving breasts. She pierced a lapping red tongue and began to ride it in a visual metaphor of a young woman enjoying cunnilingus - totally outrageous & totally Stones! Eventually, the tongue swallowed her whole and spit out her black high-heeled boots, licking it's lips afterwards.

     Jagger shared his thoughts in a revealing remark on the extended world tour by stating, "We're gonna be doing this for a whole year, do you know that? Beats having a social life". Richards and Wood both played acoustic guitars on an unexpected treat from 1973, "Angie". Fireflies flickered across the jumbotron during the bittersweet Stones ballad.

     The Stones played a curious cover of the 1965 Otis Redding single, "I Can't Turn You Loose", complete with beefy horns and Darryl Jones grooving on bass. Jagger strolled out deep along the catwalk midway through the number. Inexplicably, Jagger raced through ensemble introductions, but Watts took his time and stood up to flash Foxboro his sporting red socks.

     Richards greeted Gillette Field with, "Boston, you old devils, you". As he sang "Slipping Away", a second unidentified male played keyboards in the shadows while black and orange streamers unfurled in panels on the stage flanks. Blondie Chaplin played a third electric guitar to support Richards on "Before They Make Me Run".

     One of the advantages of sitting in 19th row on the field is being able to bolt for a ringside view of the infamous B-stage. The embryonic band high-fived along the catwalk to reach the elevated second stage. Jagger toyed with the S.R.O. platform facing the band by inquiring, "How you doing?" The Foxboro selections featured a Some Girls musical theme from their critically acclaimed 1978 album.

     A major highlight of the Gillette set was the punk rock-inspired "Shattered". Richards' raw guitar sound produced a pleasurable eargasm, driving audience excitement up!, up!, up!, up!, up!, as the entire venue rocked out to the Stones. The Glimmer Twins and company were obviously enjoying themselves immensely.

     Richards' power ballad, "Beast Of Burden", proved to be a very popular number. The crowd erupted in song to sing along to the lyrics as Jagger stalked around the small stage. Richards planted himself in front of the drumkit, playing to his drummer boy. Their ageless disco hit, "Miss You", bopped at the perfect tempo. Jagger wailed on harmonica, and Watts kept precision time during a brief percussion break. Key song lyrics of 'Crazy' and 'What's a matter with you, boy?' were audience participation peaks.

     After returning to the main stage, "You Got Me Rocking" got the whole stadium rocking. Wood treated Gillette to a searing bottle neck lead, Watts pounded away on the skins, and those sexy red female lips reappeared on the screen to pout and pucker, licking it's tongue suggestively in a phallic motion to the frenetic beat of the band.

     "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was the climax of the evening. Red confetti burst over center field, igniting an infield party atmosphere. Jagger was animated as search lights crisscrossed above the crowd. Their obligatory encore was the summer anthem of 1965, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Richards' voluminous guitar riff torched off a scorching version that satisfied the hardcore fans. Stage pyrotechnics and incendiary flames brought the gigantic production to a close.

     After the four principals left center stage, Jagger and Watts shared a final bow together before exiting. The crowd dispersed after an abbreviated fireworks display. Undisputedly, the first stadium concert of the Licks World Tour was an out right success.

     The Stones previously launched their Aftermath Tour at Manning Bowl in Lynn on June 24, 1966. Dennis O'Connell attended that 1966 Stones concert in Lynn, 11 miles north of Boston. Joanne and John Kahaiyan brought their 13 year-old daughter, Julia, to Gillette Field.

Foxboro setlist: Brown Sugar * Start Me Up * It's Only Rock'n Roll * Don't Stop * Honky Tonk Women * Rock And A Hard Place * Angie * You Can't Always Get What You Want * Monkey Man * I Can't Turn You Loose * Gimme Shelter * introductions * Slipping Away (Keith) * Before They Make Me Run (Keith) * Sympathy For The Devil * Shattered (B-stage) * Beast Of Burden (B-stage) * Miss You (B-stage) * Midnight Rambler * You Got Me Rocking * Tumbling Dice * Street Fighting Man * Jumpin' Jack Flash * Encore: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

RockonTour   Issue #12
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2002 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

Let's Roll in the Stone Age
State-of-the-art Stones rock in the 21st Century

by Timothy Tilghman