The Rolling Stones: Anfield, Liverpool

The Stones hit Liverpool with force, and then some. Our man Del Pike was there to take it all in.

To herald the return of The Rolling Stones to Liverpool in just over 50 years, Mick posted images of himself alongside famous landmarks and an abandoned lawnmower on Twitter, and was clearly having fun.  The actual gig at Anfield on Thursday night saw a continuation of that fun, with an absolute attitude of positivity echoing around the stadium, like a modern day 60s love-in.

The Bunnymen offered solid support with a string of crowd pleasers from Lips like Sugar, through The Cutter, Never Stop, Nothing Lasts Forever to the inevitable Killing Moon.

The sound fell flat, not quite hitting the upper stands and Mac was positively static compared to Jumping Jack Jagger, but such is the fate of a support band.

The Stones entered following a touching video tribute to Charlie Watts before launching into Street Fighting Man, Jagger all rubber legs and air punching. From our lofty heights he could have been 18, never mind 78.

What amazed throughout this phenomenal gig was the energy of the three remaining Stones and thanks to the big screens, the joy on their faces. Get Off My Cloud offered a further tribute to the late Mr Watts.

The show was essentially a career long Greatest Hits collection with very few diversions. The Covid era Living in a Ghost Town, and Keith’s showcase of You Got the Silver and a Dylanesque Connection, were the only real break from the trail of obvious hits.

Jagger teased the crowd with a suggestion of a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, to a clearly mixed response, then flipped back the clock to 1963 with I Wanna Be Your Man, the single penned by Lennon and McCartney in a sweet tribute to the “local lads”.

Out of Time got its first live airing and stirred the crowd into its first real sing-a-long.

Obvious highlights included Sympathy for the Devil (bathed in demonic red light), Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women and Start Me Up, but the encore (following a crowd rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone) was the icing on tonight’s Let it Bleed cake. 

A breath-taking Gimme Shelter. Where Elton, Rod and Macca have sadly lost their voices to the ravages of time, Mick’s vocals are as strong as ever and joined by their exceptional backing singer at the end of the catwalk for the soulful finale, this was nothing short of electric. Images of Ukraine on the screens also added context to an already powerful classic.

The expected Satisfaction ended the show. Despite having pretty well performed this countless times it was still fresh as a freshly laundered daisy, with no sign of Jagger tiring after a truly energetic set.

With a welcome cloud of positivity in the air, The Stones left the stage, fit to fight another day and brought a much-needed smile to our city.

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