A motley crew
The Rolling Stones – Anfield
Echo and the Bunnymen were in support, and were clearly over the (Killing) Moon to have been asked. Both to be on the bill with the Stones (Will Sergeant had said he ‘couldn’t wait’ to see Keith’s rig), and to be playing at the home of their beloved Liverpool FC. Ian McCulloch was gushing, calling it a ‘dream come true’, and telling several stories about coming to the ground as a boy, all the way up to the present day.
A difficult job opening to a filling stadium, the Bunnymen did have the benefit of a partisan ‘home’ crowd. Their greatest hits set went down well. You have to have a certain swagger and confidence to open for a band like the Stones, and like Richard Ashcroft who I saw supporting on their last tour, Echo and the Bunnymen had this.
Having never played Anfield before, the Stones returned to Liverpool for the first time in many a year. Jagger claimed to have been exploring Liverpool, with trips to the Grapes, previous venue the Empire, and even hugging the statue of Cilla on Matthew St. In honour of Liverpool’s most famous sons the band did their snarling cover of ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’.
Before all this, the show had started with some of Charlie Watts’ thunderous drumming, and a montage of images of him throughout his life, and with the band, on the big screens. The tour was dedicated to Charlie by Jagger. From the crashing opening chords of Street Fighting Man, the Stones were on fire. Many people comment on Jagger’s energy on the stage, and given that he was regularly out to the far sides of the huge construction, as well as along a catwalk stretching all the way to the centre circle it is fair to say that he covered more of the pitch than even Jordan Henderson on an average game here. That said, it was his voice that really deserves comment. Still able to belt them out.
Richards and Wood were every inch the epitome of Rock Star, with their groove backed up tremendously by the litany of touring musicians that share the stage with the Stones.
The set list was mainly greatest hits, but with a few surprises thrown in to keep the die-hards happy (including De-Clunk Dave, with his lips and tongue tattoo emblazoned on his arm).
Each track was it’s own show, belted out enthusiastically by the thousands inside Anfield into the darkening Liverpool sky. By the time the final notes of Satisfaction were ringing away, and the Stones had taken their bows, every voice in the crowd was hoarse and the punters were leaving happy. A really great show, and I’m glad to have seen them once again.