By William R. Toler | Staff Columnist
RALEIGH — After seeing the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band for the second time in my life, I guess you could say I got some satisfaction.
I was just one of 40,000 faces in a sea of fans at Carter-Finley Stadium last Wednesday to see the legendary Rolling Stones as the band rolled through town on the Zip Code tour.
I’ve been a fan of the band since I first heard “Paint it Black” during the opening credits of the late-’80s television show “Tour of Duty.” My affection grew even more when I discovered I shared a birthday with frontman Mick Jagger.
The night before the concert, I emptied out one of my dresser drawers to decide which of my nine band T-shirts to wear to the show. After that, I posted a predictive set list with the songs I thought they would play — and some I just really wanted to hear live — while watching “Shine a Light,” a 2006 concert filmed by Martin Scorsese.
My 22-song list may have been a little hopeful, but as it was, the Stones played a 19-song set — including 10 from my list.
Following an opening performance by the Avett Brothers and a set change, guitarist Keith Richards strummed out the opening chords to the 1968 single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” as the band took the stage with the nearly-72-year-old Jagger strutting out singing, “I was born in a crossfire hurricane…”
That song was immediately followed by the title track from the 1974 album “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together” from 1967.
Some of the songs had a slower tempo than the studio tracks, but the band proved that time was on their side and played on for two hours, despite the heat and high humidity.
At one point during the show, Jagger remarked how great it was to see fans of the N.C. State Wolfpack, Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels come together and have a good time.
The next two songs, released 25 years apart, were “Tumbling Dice” (from “Exile on Main St.” in 1972) and “Out of Control (from “Bridges to Babylon” in 1997.)
The band then played two songs — “Bitch” and “Moonlight Mile” — from the recently re-released “Sticky Fingers” album. Next up were “Shine a Light” which had been requested by fans through an online survey, and “Honky Tonk Woman,” bringing nearly all the female fans to their feet.
Jagger then introduced the rest of the band, which was slightly smaller than times past, including: background singers Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler; the horn section with Tim Ries and Karl Denson, who recently replaced the late Bobby Keys; longtime keyboardist Chuck Leavell, who used to play with the Allman Brothers; bassist Darryl Jones, who replaced Bill Wyman in 1993; guitarist Ronnie Wood, who’s been with the band since 1975; and fellow original members, drummer Charlie Watts and Richards.
“Keef” then took the mic on the next two songs, “Before They Make Me Run” and “Happy.”
As the lights came back up, Jagger pulled out his harmonica for the bluesy “Midnight Rambler” which was followed — with crowd participation — by “Miss You.”
Fischer’s vocals were featured prominently in “Gimme Shelter” before the band broke into the 1981 hit “Start Me Up.”
Periodically, I had yelled out “Woo woo!” in hopeful anticipation of “Sympathy for the Devil.” I felt a tap on my shoulder from behind after yelling again and hearing the unmistakable percussion intro of the song.
The Stones then ended their regular set with “Brown Sugar” before coming back out for a two-song encore: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” — featuring the Duke Vespers Ensemble choir — and the band’s timeless anthem “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
I wasn’t the only Richmond County resident in the audience that night — Marian Savage, soon-to-be-retired clerk of the Board of Commissioners, was also there.
“I was in college in the ’70s so the Stones are from my era, and they seem to still have it, don’t they?” she said Monday.
“What a great show! Mick and the boys still have plenty of energy and they draw a crowd from multiple generations,” she continued. “I loved the choral group from Duke being onstage with them for the encore; what a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those kids! I had not seen the Stones before, but sure glad I was able to go this time.”
Even though I had the opportunity to see them nearly 10 years ago, I agree and am glad I was able to catch this tour — because although the septuagenarian rockers still put on a great show, this could be the last time.
William R. Toler is the government and public safety reporter for the Daily Journal. Reach him at 910-817-2675, firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.