Rock legends The Rolling Stones play to 18,000 at Hope Estate | Photos

Source:Maitland Mercury

It seems every Rolling Stones tour announcement for the past decade has been met with a series of ageist jokes.

"Those guys aren't dead yet? The Rolling Stones, more like The Strolling Bones."

You've heard the gags.

But the 18,000-strong crowd at Hope Estate on Saturday night was exposed to the cold-hard reality that, despite the four principal members having a combined age of 281 years, they are still one of the best stadium acts on the planet.

Singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts, with extensive backing band in tow, bounded on stage and launched into Jumpin' Jack Flash and Let's Spend The Night Together.

Jagger's voice took a few songs to warm up but otherwise showed no obvious signs of the throat infection that caused the band to cancel last Saturday's Hanging Rock date.

The awe-struck Hope Estate audience was treated to a hit-laden setlist that drew largely from their classic material.

And, for only the third time in their history, Richards took lead vocals on three consecutive tracks - You Got The Silver, Before They Make Me Run and Can't Be Seen.

Jagger then returned to the stage for Midnight Rambler, a rendition that featured former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.

From there the show escalated with a series of crowd pleasers - Miss You, a spine-tingling performance of Gimme Shelter, Start Me Up, Sympathy For The Devil and Brown Sugar.

Lights faded up for the encore to reveal the Sydney Philharmonia choir on the wings of the stage, singing the haunting falsetto intro to You Can't Always Get What You Want before the band reappeared.

Then Richards, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, launched into the opening riff of the show's grand finale (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

After numerous bows, and explosions of fireworks, the band departed, leaving beaming grins around the crowd.

It's reasonable to speculate that this was The Rolling Stones' last visit to our shores, making their inaugural visit to the Hunter Valley all the more legendary.

HOPE ESTATE SETLIST

  • Jumpin' Jack Flash
  • Let's Spend the Night Together
  • It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
  • Tumbling Dice
  • Dead Flowers (by request)
  • Rocks Off
  • Paint It Black
  • Honky Tonk Women (followed by band introductions)
  • You Got the Silver (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
  • Before They Make Me Run (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
  • Can't Be Seen (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
  • Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
  • Miss You
  • Gimme Shelter
  • Start Me Up
  • Sympathy for the Devil
  • Brown Sugar

Encore:

  • You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction