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Rolling Stones at MetLife Stadium review: Jagger, Richards have time on their side

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The Rolling Stones sure know how to throw a Jersey Memorial Day weekend party.

Jokes, topical chatter, Jersey diner menu talk and nearly two hours of some of the greatest songs in rock ‘n’ roll were on stage May 23 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

The Stones — whose members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 80 — have found that sweet spot where they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously yet still remain a dangerous force of music. Back-to-back renditions of “Paint it Black” and “Gimme Shelter” rang throughout MetLife with an ominous beauty. It was glorious and a bit chilling.

 Chanelle Haynes, who’s making her Rolling Stones live debut on this tour, absolutely sizzled on the female lead for “Gimme Shelter.”

The band grew stronger as the night went on. Jagger made a 50-yard dash from the stage catwalk to the drum kit during “Honky Tonk Women” and didn’t seem to lose a breath.

There was a Richards surprise on Thursday. He performed two songs, “You Got the Silver” and “Little T&A,” instead of his usual single spotlight.

“This next one I haven’t the faintest idea what it’s about, but I wrote it,” said Richards of “Little T&A.”

Richards also delivered a crunchy rock star guitar riff during “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and gave the audience a knowing glance and wink while bassist Daryl Jones gave him a gap-toothed smile.

Speaking of Jones, he was extraordinary on an extended version of “Miss You” with a multi-dimensional bass solo that delivered on multiple levels. Jagger was so taken he gave him a chest bump midway through.

Jagger also tailored the lyrics for the crowd, changing the “Puerto Rican girls” line to “Argentina girls” for a young lady with an Argentina flag toward the front of the audience.

Drummer Steve Jordan, who has replaced the late Charlie Watts, is a master of understated beat keeping and pocket refinement. It’s so note perfect that it’s exceptional. Ronnie Wood adds personality and bite to the lineup.

The new songs from the latest album, “Hackney Diamonds,” stood up quite well to the classics. “Angry,” is, well, angry, and has an arena rock riff. “Sweet Sounds of Heaven” lifted the sky with a gospel rock buoyancy. 

The guys are up on current affairs happening in the area, including the trial of former President Donald Trump in New York City for campaign fraud.

 “I was a bit worried about he weather tonight,” Jagger said. “I thought we were going to get a Stormy Daniels but we’re all right.”

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Fans in the parking lot before the Rolling Stones play at MetLife Stadium

Fans in the parking lot before the Rolling Stones play at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

Michael Karas, NorthJersey

The last time the Stones played MetLife, Jagger referenced eating at the Tick Tock Diner on Route 3 in Clinton.

“It’s great to be back in New Jersey!” Jagger said after “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

“Last time I mentioned that we had been to this diner, the Tick Tock Diner,” Jagger continued. “So on the way to the show I stopped in there I found out they got a new sandwich and it’s called The Mick Jagger. I’ve never had a (blanking) sandwich named after me. I’m very, very proud.”

The Mick Jagger sandwich has pork roll, egg and cheese on it. Jagger can be a bit of a ham. He also, as the song says, moves like Jagger, with his hips swiveling, his fingers pointing into the air, arms flaying over the audience — offering a rock ‘n’ roll benediction to those who have been to the dark side and back.

More: Tick Tock Diner in Clifton ready for an encore from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones

“Hackney Diamonds” is the Stones’ first LP in 18 years. The tour began April 28 at NRG Stadium in Houston, and will play 17 cities through the tour finale July 21 at the Thunder Ridge Nature Arena in Ridgedale, Missouri.

The Missouri concert was just added to the tour on May 23.

Next up is Sunday, May 26, at MetLife. Lawrence is the opener, and resale ticket prices begin at $92 via Ticketmaster.

Opener Jon Batiste took the stage with blinding flash and panache in a sequined jacket and pants to match.

“Are you ready to rock!” Batiste exclaimed as he strutted down the stage catwalk as he and his band performed “Tell the Truth.”

The multi-instrumentalist was fully kinetic and constantly in motion playing his musical melange of funk, soul, rock and gospel — even if the early Stones crowd didn’t match the enthusiasm.

“When I move my body like this I feel freedom,” Batiste said.

The New Orleans native had the answer: a sing-along on a medley that began with the soul gospel classic “People Get Ready.”

Up went the phone lights in the stadium, lighting the way.

Rolling Stones MetLife setlist for May 23

Start Me Up

Get Off of My Cloud

Shattered

Angry

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I LIke It)

Wild Horses (fan voted song)

Mess It Up

Tumbling Dice

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

You Got the Silver (lead vocal by Keith Richards)

Little T&A (lead vocal by Keith Richards)

Sympathy for the Devil

Honky Tonk Women

Miss You

Gimme Shelter

Paint It Black

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Encore:

Sweet Sounds of Heaven

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Rock the Stones! at the Stone Pony

The Hackney Diamonds Tour is sponsored by AARP, and AARP-NJ will host the Marc Ribler and Friends Rock the Stones! show Saturday, May 26, at the Stone Pony.

The 7 p.m. show is free, and AARP members can enjoy early access to the event by presenting their AARP card or the AARP Now app at the door. Early access is 5:30 p.m., regular doors are 6 p.m.

Attendees will have the chance to participate in a Rolling Stones music trivia game for an opportunity to win tickets to the Stones concert Sunday at MetLife.

Ribler is the music director for Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. Visit stoneponyonline.com for more info.

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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at cjordan@app.com.

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