ITS ONLY ROCK AND ROLL BUT I LIKE IT !
I’ve seen The Rolling Stones twice before, in 1976 at Bingley Hall Stafford when they were good and again in 1990 at Manchester City’s old ground Maine Road when they were pretty average.
Today I could to photograph one of my hero’s Patti Smith who’s career has been heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones, in particular Keith Richard OR I could shoot The Stones at Old Trafford, Theatre Of Dreams. After much soul searching(seriously) I chose The Stones and I am so glad I did.
At 7.30 the photographers like a group of school children on a school trip we were led single file into the ground through a maze or corridors, turning left, right, up steps, down ramps until finally we were on the hallowed Old Trafford pitch right in the centre of an excited crowd. The stage was high and not having a step stool like many of my fellow photographers I was going to have to be on tip toes to get some decent shots. By 8 o’clock everybody was in position clustered round the stage and the tension was palpable as we awaited the alleged greatest rock and roll band in the world.
The days of The Stones keeping audiences waiting for hours are long gone and when Joy Division’s, Love Will Tear Us Apart had finished blasting out of the speakers (a nod to Manchester’s musical heritage) the chords of Jumping Jack Flash rang out across Old Trafford and The Stones were there in your face.
This was a truly brilliant performance, with their back catalogue of songs there was never going to be any filler and Mick Jagger was on top form having clearly done his homework as he name checked the surrounding towns, and places The Stones had played in Manchester over the years, even Coronation Street villain Pat Phelan got a mention. Tonight however it was all about the music as The Stones played hit after hit, a bluesy Tumbling Dice, Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women, an incredibly atmospheric Sympathy For The Devil the list is endless, there was even space for a cover of Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. After two hours of incredible energy the band returned for a classic version of the spooky Gimme Shelter followed by the inevitable (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction with accompanying explosive fire works.
The Rolling Stones are clearly enjoying life at the moment, Keith Richards didn’t stop smiling all night, and as a result they are giving some great performances. The greatest rock and roll band in the world? Very probably!!