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At 80, Mick Jagger sprints through Rolling Stones’ return to Las Vegas

Updated May 13, 2024 - 9:19 am

Imagine venturing to the 1960s, and wondering how Mick Jagger would be described at age 80. “Fitness inspiration” wouldn’t likely be considered. “Active rock star” would have seemed a fantasy.

But the Rolling Stones’ front man, assuming a status shared by very few living rock stars, sprinted back to Allegiant Stadium on Saturday night. For real. He ran the runway extending from the stage, gyrating, stomping, preening and doing what Jagger does.

The man who ages ago sang, “Time is on my side,” proved it is, and “What a drag it is, getting old,” proved it doesn’t need to be.

Was he winded? Not during his lengthy harmonica solos, nor as he shouted out “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” or took a match to “Sympathy For The Devil,” the big screens ablaze in bedeviling scenery.

The Stones are making new music and touring in support of a current album, “Hackney Diamonds” even when no one would blame them for hanging it up. The band has been crushing it since “The Beverly Hillbillies” was a hit TV show.

Maybe it’s time to cede the playground to younger artists, which would cover nearly every artist, actually (and opener The Pretty Reckless were undaunted in their powerhouse opening set).

But Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood are not interested in sailing into the sunset. They own their place in life, to the point where AARP is actually co-sponsoring the tour. The Stones have accurately identified and tapped into its core demographic, those who receive AARP material via USPS. Most in the crowd of more than 40,000 were obviously AARP-eligible.

How we start it

The show opened fittingly, with “Start Me Up,” and its call-to-action guitar intro, led it off. “Get Off My Cloud” and “Paint It Black” were natural sing-alongs. Jagger introduced a 60-year-old rock classic with, “We’ve got a song for ya, that was specially written for us by a Nobel Prize Laureate.”

The Bob Dylan-penned “Like a Rolling Stone” followed, to wild response, with the line, “Like a complete unknown,” reaching to the band’s infancy.

“Let’s Spend the Night Together” made its tour debut (this song’s live-performance history dates to an infamous lyrical adjustment on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1967). That led to the ripping “Angry,” from “Hackney Diamonds.” The new album kills, with contributions from Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

A “must” for any Stones tour, “Gimme Shelter,” was revived with new backing singer Chanel Haynes belting out Merry Clayton’s original solo vocal. With Jagger grooving throughout, the band powered through “Miss You,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Tumbling Dice” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” It was rapid-fire Stones, clocking in two hours.

He feels ‘rowdy’

Jagger noted his Allegiant Stadium surroundings, where the band also headlined in November 2021. He said the Vegas, show he fourth on the tour, was “more rowdy” than any yet. He called out several cities, “Who’s from Reno? … San Francisco?”

“How many people from California are here? I love California people in the audience — I hear everyone from California is moving here. Is that right?”

The front man researches all of his tour stops. That’s how he wound up at Piero’s Cuisine on Friday night. He also naturally is aware of Las Vegas’ fertile entertainment scene.

“There is so much going on in Las Vegas. It’s always an amazing place to visit,” Jagger said. “I mean, tonight — just tonight — all of us could have gone, we could have seen Donny Osmond, who I’ve always liked. Carlos Santana, who I love. And Justin Timberlake!

Osmond and Santana, especially, have also shown they can defy age, though Osmond was actually off from his show at Harrah’s this past weekend.

Santana is still leading his spiritual, rock revival at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. Timberlake was finishing a two-night series at T-Mobile Arena. He’s 43. Or, about halfway to Mick.

Gambling past, and bowing it out

Jagger mentioned he and Richards visited Las Vegas in 1964, not on a tour but to visit and do some gambling. He said hey lost their money. “But tonight, we’re gonna win it back!” Jagger laughed. “We’ll see you at the bar, after the show!”

He introduced the full lineup. Wood strutted to the runway and did a spin. “He’s copping my moves, now?” Jagger cracked.

Along with Richards and Wood, the touring band is made up of drummer Steve Jordan (whom we first encountered with the Blues Brothers’ band), bassist Darryl Jones, keyboard player Chuck Leavell; backing singer and percussionist Bernard Fowler; keyboardist and (on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”) Matt Clifford, saxophonists Karl Denson and Tim Reis; and Haynes on backing vocals.

Following the requisite, extended turn of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” the entire on-stage roster draped their arms around each other and bowed. Then Jagger, Richards (80) and Wood (76) moved forward as the Stones’ core threesome, bowing once more.

It was a regal moment. We’ve been saying it for quite some time, but this could finally be the finale for the Stones in Vegas. Whenever it is, we’ll see you at the bar, after the show.

Cool Hang Alert

Aaron Benward’s terrific “Nashville Unplugged” returns to Rhythm & Riffs at Mandalay Bay at 8 p.m. Friday night. An acoustic, storytelling experience, the longest-running songwriting show outside of Nashville in the country. D. Vincent Williams and Travis Howard guest. No cover.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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