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The Music of the Rolling Stones at Carnegie Hall

March 13, 2012

Dad and I went to see The Music of the Rolling Stones at Carnegie Hall tonight.

It was a bunch of different artists and bands, doing their renditions of the songs from Hot Rocks 1964-1971, a Stones Greatest Hits album.

Some highlights. I think I am about to put most of the entire show in this list. Bear with me as I gush.

Opened with You Can’t Always Get What You Want as done by Jovanotti (an odd skinny Italian singer in a funny hat, who was having a great time and was fun to watch) and members of TV on the Radio (straight out rock, nice growly voices. I approve.) As suits the song- they had a choir up on stage with them, I think local NY junior high kids. The most fun part about the song was the kids having fun, grinning, dancing a little, even sort of copying the musicians’ dance moves, getting into it.

Possibly the song that made my night was Paint it, Black, by the Mountain Goats. It was just two guys- one on piano and vocals, the other on drums. The song slowed down, and transformed, into a yearning minor key ballad, with some really interesting, muscular kick drum texture backing it up. This is the song that most makes me hope the night got taped!

Satisfaction– Juliette Lewis. She strutted all over the stage, and wow, did she own Mick Jagger’s moves and make them her own. In sequined heels, yet! She kicked them off halfway through the song (sensibly) but not til after she had earned my awe. Strutting and pouting and belting and flipping her hair and growling out the words, and having great, great fun. She did Mick proud.

Also from the Channeling-Mick department: Play With Fire by Rich Robinson and Get Off My Cloud by David Johansen. I wasn’t familiar with either artist before tonight, but they both rocked out properly. The way Rich Robinson pitched his voice was an eerie match for Mick”s phrasing, and when David Johansen walked on stage wearing big shades, shaggy hair and tight white jeans, and shimmying– he totally had Mick’s looks and moves down. Though, thanks to Liam the quizmaster, I can’t go near Get Off My Cloud without thinking of a joke about a Scotsman. (Dammit, Liam!)

As Tears Go By– Marianne Faithfull. Her history makes Marianne Faithfull the straightest line between tonight’s performance and the Stones. And she had the applause to match that… but also applause and cheering for a really graceful rendition of the song. It suited what her voice is now, as well as connecting to her past.

Steve Earle put just enough country twang into Mother’s Little Helper to make it his own. Great fun.

As done by Gomez, Jumpin Jack Flash played with tempo in all sorts of interesting ways. It started out all slow and vampy, with a good thick buzz of feedback- like a dive bar or bordello version, but sped up into the chorus, especially at the end. It really worked, but I think it might be hard to explain. Really hope there’s a recording.

Time is On My Side-Ronnie Spector. I’m reading Keith Richards’ autobiography at the moment, so anything connecting Ronnie Spector and Rolling Stones makes me smile. Also, she’s got some set of pipes.

Glen Hansard doing Under My Thumb came as a surprise… it’s a nasty little song, lyrics retrograde and an ugly power dynamic. But with guitar and vocals by the man who put all so much wistfulness into Once , accompanied by a guy on standup bass, the instrumentation worked, and Hansard had some fun being arch about the lyrics. “You’ve gotta believe Keith was the one writing this,” he quipped. Also, tacked on a little bit of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” at the end, which suited perfectly.

Lovely: Art Garfunkel singing Ruby Tuesday.

Taj Mahal took Honky Tonk Woman back to its roots as good, straight up blues. With an assist from his daughter, who has one hell of a great, belting voice. Wonder if she’s released a CD of her own. Or better yet, them together.

Based on her take on Streetfighting Man, I have to learn more about Angelique Kidjo as well.

Also, the Chocolate Drops. They took Midnight Rambler, the song least likely to be a sped-up, kind of cheerful-sounding country song… and made it work as a sped-up, kind of cheerful sounding country song.

It’s weird- I know more about Rosanne Cash from her excellently pithy Twitter feed than I had a sense of her as a performer. Gimme Shelter isn’t a song I picture stripped down to a couple of guitars and vocals– but it worked, it really worked. Sort of the blues-infused gospel sound I like from the band Ollabelle.  I also really liked her singing with Marc Cohn on Wild Horses.

Some not-highlights.

I was perplexed by Peaches, who showed up to sing Heart of Stone, wearing an outfit that out-Ziggy-Stardust-ed David Bowie. In the context of having seen some good rock and roll and blues acts prior to her, the way she was dressed threw me kind of out of focus, so I didn’t pay enough attention to her singing. (Though I prefer the Allman Brothers’ version.)

While I was initially interested in the idea of a woman singing Sympathy For The Devil, Rickie Lee Jones was way too weird and experimental and yowly about it.

All in all, a great night full of great music.

One Comment leave one →
  1. njs permalink
    March 16, 2012 11:16 am

    Great write-up–so wish I had been there too. Here’s hoping there will be a recording to follow, but it sounds like the visuals would really add!

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