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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Press views: Rolling Stones tour
Rock legends The Rolling Stones have kicked off their latest world tour at Fenway Park, Boston - getting an overwhelmingly positive reception from critics.


The Rolling Stones at Fenway Park, Boston

Age can be cruel to musicians, eroding voices and stamina. But yes, the Stones can still do it.

Through decades of selling out arenas and stadiums, the Stones have remained more a band than a spectacle.

The flashpots, strobing video and inflatable lips-and-tongue logo are still only a sideshow to the physical presence of the band members, playing their instruments and romping across the stage.


The opening night of the band's 31st global tour was marked by numerous high points, not the least of which was the guys' indefatigable passion for playing music.

Appropriately, they hit the stage with Start Me Up, as plumes of fire shot skyward from the front of the stage. Dressed in blue satin pants and a silver jacket, Jagger jumped about in all his swivel-hipped glory.

Richards, looking every bit like Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, prowled the stage, both a little oblivious to the audience and also feeding off their energy.


The twist this time is the much-hyped onstage seats that make fans an integral part of the Bigger Bang set design.

The Stones' new configuration turned out to be about as intimate as the view from a high-rise.

The "onstage" seating (which actually is standing - there are no seats) put several hundred fans up on a series of tall balconies that stretched up, in a spider-like shape, from the huge screen that was the stage backdrop.

Some who found themselves 40 to 60 feet above the band and watching Keith Richards from behind all night were less than thrilled.


Whereas the rest of the group have mellowed in their various ways, Jagger was as tough and spiky as a cactus as he jiggled and wiggled through the opening salvo of Start Me Up and You Got Me Rocking.

In particular, his electrifying performance of Ray Charles' Night Time (Is The Right Time) underlined why he is still one of the greatest singers of the pop era.

A chunk of the stage dramatically detached itself and carried the group about 30 yards into the crowd while they played Miss You. This was the cue for a string of greatest hits.


For two hours, on what's reportedly the biggest, most expensive stage ever assembled for a rock show, the legendary band, known for excess, demonstrated how too much was just enough.

With 36,000 fans on the brink of mass hysteria, Boston's hallowed baseball field was electric from curtain to bow.

The ultimate question is: Do the Stones still have the right stuff? If the Fenway show is the tour standard, the answer is absolutely.

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