The Rolling Stones prove rock ‘n’ roll is alive and kicking at Hyde Park
- Credit: LOUISE MORRIS
Sunday nights don’t come more memorable than being in a crowd of 60,000 and witnessing rock 'n' roll royalty totally own the stage.
Rollicking through a two-hour set of their greatest hits for a cross-generation audience (including many dads with children on their shoulders; an incredible first gig to experience at such a young age), The Rolling Stones' 203rd London show, headlining BST Hyde Park, will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Swaggering onstage and bouncing onto the runway, endlessly-charismatic frontman Mick Jagger beams “hello London! How you doing Hyde Park” in his signature Cockney accent before getting right on with the show, kickings things off with ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’.
Musically, it's an evening of massive crowd singalongs, but there are also several emotional moments weaved into the show (after the band's arrival following video footage of their late drummer Charlie Watts, Jagger dedicates opener 'Get Off Of My Cloud’, to him, having played together for 60 years; during 'Sympathy for the Devil', images of the Ukraine flag and the present war-caused destruction provide a powerful yet somber moment).
Even at the average age of 80, it doesn’t take long to realise that Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood remain the ultimate rockstars, commanding the crowd like the seasoned veterans they are.
As per the famous song title, Jagger still has the moves: in fact, he can barely stand still tonight. A charismatic master of ceremonies who has more sparkly jacket changes than most mega popstars, he jumps up and down on the spot, shakes his hips at every opportunity and waves his hands frantically to ramp up the energy.
Making use of every part of the stage and looming over his equally age-defying fans in the process, Jagger's step count must have been in the tens of thousands by the end.
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“Do you feel like singing a little bit?” he teases before picking up an acoustic guitar for ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, which has the crowd united in voice; contrary to that song's namesake, The Rolling Stones are masters in delivering the goods.
Soon after, Jagger hands the role of lead vocals over to Richards for acoustic-guitar-led stripped-back renditions of ‘You Got The Silver’ and 'Happy'.
But it's the foot-stomping lung-emptying four-song run that closes the show (and that's before the encore) that proves the real highlight: during 'Sympathy for the Devil', Jagger is joined on the runway by fiercely-voiced singer Sasha Allen, and watching the pair vocally sparring is real treat.
‘Jumpin Jack Flash’, contrastingly, starts a mass dance within the crowd while 'Paint it Black' and 'Start Me Up' are received as true classics (the latter's lyrics of “never stop” ringing particularly true when it comes to the band's ceaseless output).
This upbeat energy carries on for the band's two song-encore, which consists of two of their biggest songs, 'Gimme Shelter' and '(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
As the crowds of people make their way out of Hyde Park, one thing's for sure: rock 'n' roll certainly isn't dead! And The Rolling Stones show no signs of slowing down.
BST Hyde Park continues this weekend.