I've been idly working out how much I'd have had to be paid - cash, upfront - to get me to the O2 Arena to see the Rolling Stones 50th birthday gig. I reckon I'd have done it for two grand, maybe a bit less - probably around the kind of money some desperate fans shelled out for a ticket. Most of my price, I must admit, would have been to cover the multiple hassles of getting to and from Greenwich and into and out of the stadium, and to compensate for my deep-seated loathing of giant music venues (I once made the mistake of taking up the offer of free tickets for the Three Tenors at Wembley - suffice to say we were out of there long before the interval...).
The Rolling Stones might well be 'the greatest rock and roll band in the world', but they were that 40-plus years ago, at their peak, and they've done little since, apart from somehow staying together and making it to this big-money semicentennial. I used to love their albums up to (and probably not including) Exile on Main Street - but hey, that was then, when it was all new; this is now, when it's all over. However well the aged Stones perform - and by all accounts they were on good form - there's nothing new here; it can only be pastiche and repetition. Rock music of the golden age (early 60s to early 70s) is music that can't happen twice - and doesn't need to, as all the best of it is there to be revisited on vinyl or CD. It's that river you can't walk through twice. Isn't it?