Monday, 26 November 2012

All Over Now

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?


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  2. On the other hand, you don't have to take it that seriously - ie. take away the 'importance' of 60s Stones, and you're simply left with the some damn good music. They want to play it, people want to see them play it, and who are you or anyone else to tell them they can't? Dylan has avoided the repetition/pastiche thing by refusing nostalgia tours, but on the other hand, his shows are by and large rubbish, whereas the Stones guarantee you a cracking night out.

    Also, aren't we way, way past this criticism now with the Stones? This post could have been written any time in pretty much the last 35 years. The time has surely come to simply marvel that they're still capable at all.

  3. PS. Was that Keef you had to delete above?

  4. No, it wasn't Keef, it was some Tahitian clown selling Noni juice, which is supposed to turn the papyrus-skin of pensioners (me) into 'the skin of a 12 year old girl'. I've tried it - it doesn't.

  5. Mick Brown in The Telegraph lines-up, broadly, behind you Nige - as do I. Great songs, great band - but they had their day in the sun, and the sun has now set...nothing new to say....but what did a Brand ever say to me but 'give me your money'? Yes, of the dozens of Dylan shows I have attended, one or two have been dogs....but, in the soundworld that I inhabit, he is as near to greatness as I believe it is possible to get. And even on his off-nights, he is always questing, pushing, changing, trying something new....when did the Stones last do that? I can answer my own question - over 30 years ago. When talking about one of his idols Woody Guthrie he said 'you could listen to his songs and learn how to live'. Well, I could use the same words to describe the value I put upon Bob Dylan's vast output

  6. Oh, and after giving it some deep thought and consideration, I would be prepared to attend one of these corporate shindigs for £850.00 + a chopper ride from my gaff 5 miles away to the venue, and back. Reasonable don't you think?

  7. Eminently reasonable Mahlerman. Actually I think I might have settled for that kind of sum in the end - they'd have had to wrestle me down though....

  8. As you know MM, I yield to no man in my admiration for His Bobness, but allow me to point out an irony: I suggest that 90% of Dylan's audiences go to see him because of what he used to be, or so they can say they saw him live before he pops his clogs; i.e. the precise reason people go to see the Stones. And no more than 10% go to see him questing and pushing boundaries. Or to put it another way, if he'd started out doing what he does now, he'd be playing pubs not arenas.

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