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Topic: Chicago Tribune 9/1/2002 Return to archive
08-31-02 11:32 PM
'Start Me Up'? We're bored with the Stones' set list, so we made one of our own

By Greg Kot (Tribune Rock Critic)

The Rolling Stones have vowed to go beyond the expected on their forthcoming tour - which opens Tuesday in Boston and arrives Sept. 10 in Chicago for three nights - and it's about time.
The Stones have reprised their biggest hits - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Brown Sugar", "Start Me Up" - so many times in recent tours, even the band has got to be getting bored. Little wonder Mick Jagger and Keith Richards say they're going to dig a little deeper this time, especially in cities like Chicago where they're playing shows in three distinctly different venues: an indoor arena (United Center on Sept. 10), an outdoor stadium (Comiskey Park on Sept. 13) and a relatively intimate theater (the Aragon Ballroom on Sept. 16).
In numerous interviews over the years, I've debated Jagger about the conservative play list. The singer says because the Stones play such big venues, they need to focus on the hits to keep the crowd's attention (not to mention justifying the steep ticket prices, which for this tour peak at close to $400.00, including service fees). But in their artistic heyday the Stones routinely took such risks.
In 1978, they played a sold-out Soldier Field and debuted no less than nine songs from "Some Girls". Even though the album was only a few weeks old, the band played it with fierce conviction, trusting their material and their audience's ability to "get it". Their faith turned out to be well placed: "Some Girls" went on to be regarded as one of the quintessential Stones albums.
It may be too late, but I want some of that fire back. Pull out your pens, Mick and Keith. Here's my idea of a great set list composed of lost Stones classics you haven't played much, if at all, in recent decades (arranged in chronological order):

"2120 South Michigan Avenue" (1964): The perfect way to open their Chicago stand, this instrumental blues shuffle pays homage to the old home of Chess Records, whose artists were surrogate fathers to the young British blues band.

"The Last Time" (1965): Even before "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", this is the song where the Jagger-Richards songwriting collaboration found its footing, behind one of the guitarist's all-time greatest riffs.

"The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" (1965): A randy harp-fueled blues that expanded the Stones' world-weary cynicism to Hollywood salesmanship, worth it alone to hear Jagger sneer, "a seeeer-suuuucker suit", in this putdown of a small-minded record-biz bureaucrat.

"I'm Free" (1965): Time to reclaim this tambourine-inflected ode to hedonism from the Soup Dragons, the Scottish band who turned it into a rolling rave-era hit in 1990.

"Miss Amanda Jones" (1967): A rollicking Chuck Berry-style knockoff from "Between the Buttons", delivered with a snarl from Jagger, feisty Charlie Watts drum rolls, and jagged Richards-Brian Jones guitar interplay.

"Cool, Calm & Collected" (1967): Closer to juanty Dixieland jazz, it hints at Watts' roots, and is worth it if only to see the band break out the kazoos.

"In Another Land" (1967): Bill Wyman's marvelous psychedelic vocal cameo on "Their Satanic Majesties Request" is a true oddity in the band's catalog, the closest the band came to sounding like Pink Floyd in its Syd Barret era. Wyman isn't in the band anymore, but this would make a nice tribute to the longtime bassist.

"We Love You" (1967): This single belonged on "Satanic Majesties" and the lysergic swirl of its harmonies makes it a potentially awesome choral-style concert piece to replace "You Can't Always Get What You Want".

"Stray Cat Blues" (1968): Jagger manages to make illicit sex sound almost flippant as he leers like a sleepy predator, then wails over a wall of guitars. Watts makes it swing.

"Salt of the Earth" (1968): The Stones resurrected this "Beggars Banquet" classic at last years benefit concert for New York City Firefighters, though with more politically correct lyrics. The original version brims with typical Stones ambivalence. It starts as an ode to the working class, only to be undercut by Jagger's assertion that "they don't look real to me, in fact they look so strange" - an oddly honest statement from a rock star about just how out of touch he is.

"Let It Bleed" (1969): The Stones never sounded dirtier than when they're trying to sound like hillbillies.

"Live With Me" (1969): "I got nasty habits", the song begins, and keeps its word, thanks to Richards' terse guitar incisions and king-snake bass.

"Memo From Turner (1970): Originally showed up on the soundtrack to the movie "Performance"; Jagger crows about dirty business deals done dirt cheap ("you'll still be in this circus when I'm laughin' in my grave").

"Sway" (1971): "It's just that demon life that's got me in its sway". From the Stones' darkest period, a midtempo rocker that leaves blood on the floor.

"Moonlight Mile" (1971): Charlie Watts' drumming has never sounded more hypnotic and Jagger sings with bone-weary desire.

"Rip This Joint" (1972): Richards' rythm guitar sounds like it's going to melt from the friction, and the Stones have never rocked harder.

"Sweet Virginia" (1972): The Stones' greatest faux-country tune, with a bawdy but undeniable sing-along chorus.

"Shine a Light" (1972): Gospel splendor and seediness. That's three in a row from "Exile on Mainstreet" - why not just play the whole thing guys?

"Star Star" (1973): The chorus is too raunchy for an all ages audience, but it's one ot the roughest rides in the Stones canon.

"Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (1974): Cover of the Temptations' hit honors the Stones' debt to the soul artists of the '60s from whom they drew inspiration; should be included if only to hear Richards' brilliantly off-the-cuff harmony vocals and swaggering guitar punctuations.

"Melody" (1976): From the Stones' most underrated album of the '70s, "Black and Blue", this is a delicious slice of simmering, gospel-soaked funk.

"Before They Make Me Run" (1978): Richards broke out this "Some Girls" sleeper a few times on the last tour, but it bears repeating on what may be the bands' final go-round ("See my tailights fading, not a dry eye in the house").

"It Must Be Hell" (1983): Even the Stones seem to think poorly of their '80s albums, routinely ignoring them in concert. But "Undercover" yielded this underappreciated rave-up, riding one of Richards' razor-sharp riffs, a strutting bass line and sandpaper percussion.

"Hold Back" (1986) and "Had It With You" (1986): Two more from the '80s, recorded at the height of the break-up rumors that had Richards and Jagger nearly coming to blows, these are as nasty, stripped-down and downright punky as anything the Stones have ever recorded. Richards' guitar snakes like barbed wire around Jagger's rancorous vocals: "Life is passing you by, choke on that!".
08-31-02 11:37 PM
beer Brian played the lead riff on "The Last Time". And what a great riff it is.
08-31-02 11:49 PM
Boomhauer I like how the guy makes some good suggestions.

But the point is, they play some of those war fucking horses because they are some of the best songs ever written. Also, the point of this tour is basically to get some of the rare stuff to be played live. It's not like you're listening to the radio and hearing "start me up". You're listening to it loud, rockin', LIVE and bumpin' in a venue with cheering fans. that's what it's all about. Fuck, not every Stones fan has been to 252,234 shows like this guy probably has.
08-31-02 11:51 PM
Soul Survivor I thought all the guitars on "Miss Amanda Jones" were done by Ketih
09-01-02 02:05 PM
Rescued Thought some of you might want to take a look at this. Greg Kot has a weekly radio show with the Chicago Sun Times critic Jim Derogatis. You can listen to past shows at It's a good site, good interviews and topics. The 9/3 show will be all about the Stones' Licks tour (10:00pm to 12:00am, Tuesdays on WXRT Chicago). The Stones show will probably be online 9/4.
09-01-02 02:11 PM
Moonisup Well it is a nice article, there is some truth in it regarding the setlist, they played on safe since 1981, however a stonesconcert ain't a concert!! It is an event, you'll carry it all your life!!
09-01-02 02:23 PM
Maxlugar "Hold Back" (1986) and "Had It With You" (1986): Two more from the '80s, recorded at the height of the break-up rumors that had Richards and Jagger nearly coming to blows, these are as nasty, stripped-down and downright punky as anything the Stones have ever recorded. Richards' guitar snakes like barbed wire around Jagger's rancorous vocals: "Life is passing you by, choke on that!".

Amen my little friend, Amen.

I see big, BIG!, things for you at your paper and, frankly, in life.

09-01-02 03:34 PM
Boomhauer well, i think he should have made some other suggestions:

Where the Boys go
Tie You Up
Hold on to your hat
Send it to me
dance little sister
Crazy Mama
Dirty Work
One Hit
No Use in Crying

To name only a few.
09-01-02 03:39 PM
TheSavageYoungXyzzy Well, the guy makes great suggestions, but he's obviously not been paying attention recently - this tour is precisely *for* letting people like him get what he wants, whether it be at the arenas where there'll be a nice mix or the theatres where the obscurites meet to have a Guinness.

And I would kill to hear "Sweet Virginia" live. A real rollicking "Country Honk" version. Not the almost-perfect version on Stripped. Exile redux "Virginia".

-tSYX --- I-hiii-iii... I just can't be seen with you...

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