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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Stones start monster tour
Guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards
The Stones played the hits as usual
The Rolling Stones have started their 40th anniversary "Licks" tour in front of 16,000 screaming fans at Boston's Fleet Center.

Four decades after an embryonic version of the group first wowed blues fans at London's Marquee Club the band are still going strong.

This tour is expected to be the most lucrative in North America this year, and one of the biggest earners ever.

Mick Jagger
Jagger was in full flow
Since 1989's Steel Wheels tour, the Stones have specialised in big-budget stadium tours with an emphasis on pyrotechnics and the hits.

"There's nothing so exciting as starting an American tour on the first night," the 59-year-old Jagger told the audience.

"And there's nothing so exciting as starting it here in Boston."

The Stones will play 40 dates across North America over the next five months in a mixture of 60,000-seat stadiums, mid-sized venues like the Fleet Center and a handful of smaller dates.

Familiar numbers

On the first night, Jagger was his usual frenetic, strutting self with a 22-song set featuring some more unusual choices.

After opening with Street-Fighting Man, the band aired less familiar numbers like Stray Cat Blues, Loving Cup, Rocks Off and Rip This Joint.

Charlie Watts
The band are still going strong
The second half gave way to more established hits with Honky Tonk Woman, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and Brown Sugar before ending with an encore of Sympathy for the Devil and Jumpin' Jack Flash.

Intermingled with the hits were a cover of the O'Jays' Love Train and blues classic Mannish Boy.

"That was fun. We've never let that one out in public before," said Jagger after performing Love Train.

Not all of the band were able to match Jagger's energy, with the 58-year-old Keith Richards looking tired and nearly drowned out by the backing singers when he took lead vocal duties, according to one report of the show.

Did you go to the show? What did you think? Tell BBC News Online your views.

I saw the Stones twice in Toronto during the 1989 Steel Wheels tour. I saw them twice at Wembley in London during the 1990 Urban Jungle tour. The 40th Anniversary Licked tour is off to a brilliant start. Mick was just as magnificent and put on a wonderful performance. He sounded great, I love his voice! Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones still going strong and are still the BEST!!!
Lisa, Canada

It's always exciting to be caught up in the energy of a live show. The Stones were good last night but not spectacular. Mick still seems to have unlimited reserves of energy. He was missing the punched up pizzazz I've seen in other tours. Of course he is getting older and after 40 years, how repetitive and boring it must it be.
Karen Shaw, USA

I was there and it was my first Rolling Stones Concert. I rank them in my top five live bands of all time (along with the Grateful Dead, Tool, U2 and Dave Matthews Band). The Stones sound was amazing...close to digital quality. The stage setup and lighting was great with a main stage and a second smaller stage in the rear of the arena.

Highlights included the opener Street Fighting Man, a sweet souldful Wild Horses, Loving Cup, Satisfaction, Neighbours and Sympathy and then there was the first ever playing of Can't You Hear Me Knockin' (my favourite). All in all watching the Stones erupt for over two hours was like watching history. They also played 5-7 obscure songs which were great as well. Rock on Stones....see you Thursday in Foxboro MA, Gillette Stadium.
Jeff, USA

Charlie Watts is always overlooked in these posts but he really held the show together and can swing, swing, swing. Well worth the trouble of getting up to Boston!
Todd, USA

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