Rolling Stones mark 50th year with London show

Rolling Stones

Even the famously taciturn Wyman briefly cracked a smile when trading quips with Richards and Ronnie Wood.

The concert started with a brief video tribute from luminaries like Elton John, Iggy Pop and Johnny Depp, who praised the Stones for their audacity and staying power. The Stones' show contained an extended video homage to the American trailblazers who shaped their music: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and others. The montage included rare footage of the young Elvis Presley.

The Stones began their professional career imitating the Americans whose music they cherished, but they quickly developed their own style, spawning hundreds make that thousands of imitators who have tried in vain to match their swagger and style.

The concert began with some early Stones' numbers that are rarely heard in concert, including the band's cover of the Lennon-McCartney rocker "I Wanna Be Your Man'' and the Stones original "It's All Over Now.''

They didn't shy away from their darker numbers, including "Paint It Black'' and "Sympathy for the Devil'' Jagger started that one wearing a black, purple-lined faux fur cape that conjured up his late `60s satanic image.

He even cracked a joke about one of the band's low points, telling the audience it was in for a treat: "We're going to play the entire "Satanic Majesty's Request'' album now,'' he said, referring to one of the band's least-loved efforts, a psychedelic travesty that has been largely, mercifully, forgotten.

He didn't make good on his threat.

He also made fun of the sky-high ticket prices, which had exposed the band to some criticism in the London press.

"How are you doing up in the cheap seats,'' he said, motioning to fans in the upper rows of the cavernous 02 Arena. "Except they're not cheap seats, that's the problem.''

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