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Rolling Stones Live!

Time is Still on Their Side

by Stella Brown

When the Rolling Stones strut out onto a stage, the press notices. Reporters take turns playing the historian, recalling the British music explosion of the 60's and the Stones' leading role in that blast. Something about a band with that kind of longevity that both intrigues and impresses. Articles are written, and photos snapped. Much is made of their senior ranking in a fickle business that promotes, perpetuates, and personifies youth. 

But the band's ability to transcend the spectrums of both time and space was evident at the Portland Rose Garden arena on Tuesday, November 1, 2005. The self-proclaimed "world's greatest rock-n-roll band" has produced a massive body of work that still lifts an arena full of fans to their jumping, dancing, stomping feet. And the hoards of parent enjoying the show with their kids clearly illustrated the power of the Stones' music to bridge generations. 

The tight two-hour set included "She's So Cold," "Tumbling Dice," "Brown Sugar," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Miss You," and "Honky Tonk Woman." The very receptive Portland crowd screamed and sang along to favorites from the Rolling Stones catalogue of classics, music that spans four decades. Three songs from the latest album were not as well received, but that could have been because front man Mick Jagger stepped back to let Keith Richards lead the effort. Not the best band decision. While Richards has more than established himself as an iconic guitarist, he lacks the charisma that Jagger effortlessly exudes with every swaggering step. Did Mick study dance? He seems to glide on his toes, and definitely still has the lithe form of a dancer. 

The show hit a peak, for both audience and performers, when Jagger dedicated a cover of "Night time is the Right Time" in memory of the song's composer, Ray Charles. Joined by their 9-piece horn section, the musicians clearly were enjoying this jam as much as their enthusiastic audience was. The horn section wailed and rocked along with the singers- yes, singers. Jagger's ever-strong voice, matched by Lisa Fischer's powerful, soulful vocals, reverberated through the packed arena. 

Sure, since their first show in July of 1962, these guys have aged- they are, after all, only human. But they certainly have both staying power and stamina in a business that is not always loyal to its artists. Maybe the real reason that we are just now checking the age box for rock musicians is that the very history of rock has yet to span the average human lifetime. We are still waiting for that spectrum to come full circle, and the Stones still have time on their side.


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