Rolling Stone Magazine
By Patrick Doyle
December 14, 2012
Seven songs into the Rolling Stones' set at the Prudential Center in NJ, last night, a roadie handed Mick Jagger a printout. "We're going to do a request," Jagger said, adding that fans voted for a song of their choice on the band's new mobile app. The winner? 1964's "Around and Around."
"That's an old one, isn't it?" Jagger said. "We haven't done that one in a long time!" They tore through the Chuck Berry classic, Jagger clapping upward and dancing furiously as if channeling his old T.A.M.I. Show performance, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood weaving double-string licks as the song swung in a way it never really has before. "Yes!" Jagger said with a grin afterward. "That's right!"
Without the high-profile guests of the other recent shows (Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton), the band seemed to revel in playing with each other. Charlie Watts grinned ear to ear as he pounded the brooding intro to "Paint it Black," Wood nearly bounced out of his chair while nailing the pedal steel lines to "Happy" while Keith belted the song with such glee he appeared emotional. Jagger was chatty and personable between possessed performances, at one point reflecting on playing Newark in the summer of 1965. "Thank you for 50 years of coming to our shows," he told the crowd. "Thank you very much."
The set began with mid-Sixties cuts; "Get Off of My Cloud", "The Last Time."
The first truly bone-chilling moment came during "Gimme Shelter," when the band conjured a dark musical storm while backup singer Lisa Fischer howled lead vocals alongside Mick for the first time since the Bigger Bang tour.
Jagger soon welcomed John Mayer for "Respectable". Mayer delivered a manic, wicked solo; Ronnie Wood matched him with his own, grinning as he effortlessly pointed his guitar neck toward the crowd. Richards went next, firing away rhythmic blasts with intent focus.
Afterward, Keith shrugged at the crowd and laughed.
But there was nothing quite like seeing Mick Taylor play with the Stones again. For his first time playing with the band on U.S. soil since 1981. He emerged unassumingly and unannounced, as soon as Richards launched into an 11-minute "Midnight Rambler," Taylor unleashed flourishes of virtuosic greatness that were unmistakably him. Jagger howled furious harp lines, Taylor rocked back and forth, grooving harder than he did on the entire 1972 tour the band gave him plenty of room to stretch out. "Mick Taylor!" Jagger said afterward. "He's great! Really good!"
It was a marathon from there. "Tumbling Dice" - Keith played the riff eyes-closed, as if meditating in it and a raucous "Brown Sugar." The guitars blared full force in "Jumpin' Jack Flash,". After a heavy "Satisfaction,"
Earlier in the night, during his solo set, Keith Richards referenced Hurricane Sandy while talking to the crowd. "I know you guys had a rough time. We admire the way you stuck with it. Keep on trucking, you know?" We felt the same way about them.