THE ROLLING STONES

Gillette Stadium
Foxboro, Mass.
May 30, 2024

Setlist:
Start Me Up
Get Off Of My Cloud
Bitch
Angry
Emotional Rescue
Tumbling Dice
Wild Horses
Mess It Up
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Tell Me Straight
Little T&A
Sympathy for the Devil
Honky Tonk Women
Midnight Rambler/(Hellhound on my Trail)
Gimme Shelter
Paint It Black
Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Encore:
Sweet Sounds of Heaven
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction



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The Rolling Stones defy the laws of space and time in Foxboro

The Rolling Stones live at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro Massachusetts

By NICK TAVARES
STATIC and FEEDBACK Editor

The intro music begins to bubble. Across the screen, adorned with shards of digital glass, shadows begin to appear. Suddenly, everything shatters, the band walks out and drops an immediate rock and roll haymaker on the audience.

The strut, the swagger, the riffs. It’s the Rolling Stones. And on this night at Gillette Stadium, the band defied age and reason to come out and just flat-out murder this crowd.

It’d been a long time for me — 22 years — since I’d last seen the Stones work their magic on stage. So to say I was amped for the experience would be a massive understatement. And sure enough, as soon as Keith Richards laid into that open G intro on “Start Me Up,” followed immediately by Mick Jagger cruising down the walkway into the middle of the audience, it all served up like a lightning bolt.

There’s Jagger, of course, just two months shy of turning 81 and essentially preserved as he was in the 1990s, when many had already deemed this band was too old to be doing this, working the crowd like the master he is. I don’t believe he missed a lyric or a cue as he sprinted from one side of the stage to the other, getting the crowd into every song and making sure the band never missed their next cue.

Ronnie Wood, or, as Jagger referred to him, “the man who has the Gardner Museum paintings in his locker,” was a ball of energy himself, jumping around and diving into solos with that round, wailing lead tone that’s made him a guitar hero since the days of the Faces.

And credit to the sound man: every time Keef hit on a signature riff, his volume seemed to spike by a factor of 10. That twangy metallic crunch reverberated throughout the stadium and nailed everyone in the face. He was clearly feeling himself, smiling back at Wood and drummer Steve Jordan frequently while he set the pace on classics like “Bitch” and newer tracks like “Angry,” never mind his two-song vocal showcase of “Tell Me Straight” and “Little T&A.”

They could’ve played anything, obviously, and I would’ve been a satisfied customer. But I felt a definite rush when certain songs kicked in, as on the transition from “Emotional Rescue” into “Tumbling Dice.” And when Jagger broke out the harp and Richards kicked into the intro to “Midnight Rambler,” perhaps the definitive illustration of their musical partnership, it was an absolute thrill. Working Robert Johnson’s “Hellhound On My Trail” into the jam in the middle was just a cherry on top.

It’s tempting to get lost in the scientific marvel of the band — specifically Jagger and Richards at 80 years old — sprinting around on stage and playing for two hours where just basic mobility would be a feat for many at that age. And that is incredible. These guys are not lacking for energy. Jagger is still the prototypical frontman, darting to each end of the stage and working the crowd, while Richards hits those riffs with such force that they feel like a punch to the gut. And not to be outdone, but Wood is there all the while, four years their junior, smiling and soloing and playing as well as he ever has.

But focusing on that part almost minimizes the simple fact that this is still a great band putting on a great show every night. They’ve got yet another solid record under their belt in Hackney Diamonds, working four of its tunes into the 19-song set, and there’s an enthusiasm and commitment there that many bands would struggle to maintain after two or three albums.

I last saw them as a 20-year-old in this same stadium, the first concert performance held at this venue. I’ve basically lived an entire lifetime between then and now. I know I’m not the same, but in the meantime, they’ve maintained this entire world and operation, and they have for both of these lives of mine. In Rich Cohen’s book, The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones, Richards asks the author, “What’s it like to live in a world where the Stones were always there? For you, there’s always been the sun and the moon and the Rolling Stones.”

It’s true. From borrowing my dad’s Hot Rocks cassette as a kid, to this show and the hours of listening I’ve done since it ended and in between, they’ve just always been there. And then I think about the enduring thrill of hearing Richards slash his way into “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” If there are better guitar riffs in the annals of rock and roll, there aren’t many. Standing there in a football stadium while that open-tuned refrain walloped me in the chest led to a realization: what must it be like on the other end of that? What could compare to the feeling of writing a rock song like that, jumping into it in front of 70,000 people every night and generating that reaction across the assembled masses?

I can’t imagine anything could rival it. And that’s why the Rolling Stones are still out there, and still creating and relaying this incredible sound on this massive scale. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re still out there some day at 90, still as solid as ever. I put nothing past these people, because they’re not like us. They're the Rolling Stones.

E-mail Nick Tavares at nick@staticandfeedback.com