Last night the legendary Rolling Stones rocked Abu Dhabi for the first time in their 50-years on stage. These guys just refuse to get old gracefully.
‘I’m happy to be here tonight,’ said lead guitarist Keith Richards, 69, ‘Actually I’m just happy to be anywhere!’ Frontman Sir Mick Jagger’s peripetetic performance left the audience straining to keep up with his movements around the stage. You thought you had him in your sight and then suddenly he was gone.
Gloom and Doom
Amid a medley of their classic hits, some now 50 years old, the group could still offer new songs like ‘Gloom and Doom’ that resonated with this website. The music is also just outrageously good. But then all the outstanding musicians performing with them do raise the bar.
That said Keith Richards and ‘new’ base guitarist Ronnie Wood have a rare synergy that still gives them an edge. Mick Taylor who left the band in 1976 returned to reinforce the sound.
It was something of a moment to treasure for Abu Dhabi  as a developing entertainment and cultural centre. Remarkably for such a global group the Rolling Stones had never visited the Middle East before. From the strength of their welcome perhaps it will not be the last time, though clearly this could be the last time, maybe the last time oh!
Local fans voted for ‘Give me Shelter’ as their song for the night, perhaps remembering that not everybody in the region lives in a city as comfortable as Abu Dhabi. But the audience was predominately Western expatriate with many having flown in from all over the Middle East for this special night.
The Rolling Stones were once the quintessential protest band and youthful anger and a desire for change.
Songs like ‘Paint it Black’ and ‘Symphony for the Devil’ recalled those times. But these days they are mainly awesome for a refusal to get old and ability to reach a very wide audience indeed as well as absolutely classic rock and roll.
If they really still ‘Can’t get no Satisfaction’ then it is not for want of trying for a great many years.