When you walk into an arena where the Rolling Stones are about to play, you get the feeling that you’re living through a historic moment. Around you members of the audience are saying to each other how “fortunate” they are to see this 50-year-old British rock band for maybe the last time. But Ismael Fausto, a veteran music journalist, takes a different view: “I’ve been hearing people say that since 1996, and they’re still here.” After a 10-year absence, the Stones returned to Mexico City on Monday night, and gave 60,000 fans nearly two adrenaline-fueled hours of performance.
They were punctual and got straight to the music. The band worked the crowd up with Start Me Up and, without taking a break for the usual greeting, they played the classics It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll and Wild Horses. The adrenaline rush was contagious for the crowd – those who were fortunate enough to attend. Ticket prices for latecomers cost more than $800.
“We used to drink tequila... Now we drink mezcal,” said Mick Jagger before the band launched into Out of Control
Mick Jagger moved from one side of the stage to the other like a Tarahumara native. Despite Mexico City’s restrictions on open-air events, due to high levels of air pollution, Jagger sang and howled as if he had infinite oxygen reserves. Keith Richards drove the crowd wild when he took center stage to play a solo. Ron Wood smoked a cigar. Charlie Watts was the only one who reminded onlookers that they were watching a group of mostly septuagenarians.
Mick Jagger addressed the crowd in Spanish throughout practically the whole gig. “We used to drink tequila... Now we drink mezcal,” he said before the band launched into Out of Control. He made a similar joke in Colombia, saying that he had been contributing to the country’s economy for years.
Their Satanic Majesties have retained their irreverent attitude. Jagger did not shy away from El Chapo controversy. “Sean Penn came to interview me in the hotel but I escaped,” he joked.
After more than 20 albums and 250 million records sold, the average time for a concert does not seem enough to exhaust their repertoire
“Are you ready?,” Jagger asked after performing non-stop for 90 minutes. After more than 20 albums and 250 million records sold, the average time for a concert does not seem enough to exhaust their repertoire. Sympathy for the Devil, Brown Sugar, You Can't Always Get What You Want and the unbeatable Satisfaction. “What a great night, Mexico,” Richards said in perfect Spanish.
The Rolling Stones tour began in Chile in early February. They have performed in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. On March 25, they will play a free concert in Havana for the first time. The performance is expected to draw more than 200,000 spectators, who will dance to what was once written off in the Caribbean country as “capitalist rhythms.”
The Stones will leave Mexico on Thursday and, as always, they leave their fans filled with the fear that it may be the last time.
English version by Dyane Jean François.