Friday, June 21, 2019

The Stones: Important men making unimportant music

Rolling Stones
     The Rolling Stones are in town — Hi, Mick! Hi, Keith! — for two shows at Soldier Field, Friday and Tuesday, kicking off their North American tour.
     I’m going to the second show. Yes, I know, you’re thinking, “That’s out-of-character for you, Neil. Aren’t you more of an opera guy?”
Jimmy Johnson
   Yes, yes I am. But there is an explanation: My wife really likes the Stones. I’ve forced her to sit through many hours of Wagner. Turnabout is fair play.
     The tour almost got scuttled after Mick Jagger had a health scare. But a new heart valve got tucked in and he seems good to go.
     The man is 75, but that’s nothing for a bluesman. Jimmy Johnson performed a strong set at Blues Fest a few weeks ago and he’s 90. Bobby Rush is 86, and shimmied for an hour with two enormous, scantily-clad dancers.
Venus of Willendorf
    (Am I the first guy to see Rush’s dancers and think, “Venus of Willendorf”? Maybe. They were very large. That is not a criticism. My attitude was: ‘Good for them, I bet employment opportunities are limited for 250-pound dancers.’ My wife was uneasy with Rush’s sexism, and it did cross my mind that the city of Chicago was sponsoring a bawdy show. But the dynamics of race, music and offense are complicated, and I can’t imagine any complaint getting traction.)
     See why I’m not the ideal rock audience? I’m not good at unreflective enthusiasm, at forming my fingers into horns and waving them above my head, screaming “Woooo!!!”
     Here, I’ll try it.
     Pathetic, like a koala moaning in its sleep.

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  1. I checked out a U-Tube video of Bobby Rush and his dancers (Miz Lowe featured) and found one of the dancers to be very pretty with an engaging non lascivious smile. If you saw her from the waist up, you wouldn't think her fat. I would attribute her more than generous proportions below the waist to inherited Steatopygia, but one of my sisters is built much the same way, while my other 3 are a lot skinnier. The video was a lot of fun and by no means "bawdy" by current standards (assuming there are any).


  2. Great column. (Read it in the hard copy) And glad you brought up the Richard's book "Life", what a great read. I too saw the Blues Fest with Johnson and Rush. The 90 year old Johnson could have passed for 65. But in regards to the Stones and all the other Dinosaurs, they're stuck. You can predict at least half of what they are going to play.
    I saw Van Morrison back in April. What an awesome and unpredictable show. Lots of Blue, so New Orleans Jazz and a few hits played completely different from the original. I thought, "This is great ". Blew away my expectations. But a woman sitting next to me was a little upset that it wasn't a greatest hit fest. The great ones can pull of what Van Morrison and a few others can do. Saw it with Bryan Ferry and King Crimson. Stones can't pull it off. They are overrated and only get together for a quick tour for something to do. I have seen them before. I think people like to see them just to say they saw them. And that's all cool. I saw them in 1981 and said to my friend "You know their getting old, this might be the last time they tour". Now I am 20 years older than the Stones were then. And I hope to be as active as they are now when I am their age.

  3. You didn't say "Woo" like you meant it, sorry.

  4. Your "woo" brought to mind Ronnie "Woo-Woo" Wickers, of Wrigley Field bleacher infamy. He's no longer healthy enough to "woo" these he even still alive? if so, he will turn 78 this year. Time doesn't march runs.

    1. If Ronnie Wickers isn’t still alive, then I saw his doppelgänger earlier this season on Clark Street.

    2. Last spoke to him on The Corner (Waveland and Kenmore) on the night the Cubs beat the Dodgers for the NL pennant (10-22-16). I was quite buzzed, but if I recall correctly, Ronnie was in a wheelchair. Some of the other old-time Die-Hards who were there...well...let's just say they now have season tickets for the Angels.

  5. I was surprised by Richard's secret guitar guru. Though I've double checked I still forget which Everly brother it was. That this short lived pop vocal duo contained a serious guitar talent responsible for the sound of every Stones record since Sticky Fingers blew my mind. It's a nice sound but it leaves me indifferent to most of their later work and believing that the Stones' guitar genius is not Keith but an Everly. Enjoy the show, Neil, I've been told they are worth the effort live.

  6. Saw him walking along an aisle at a Cubs game this season. Nobody seemed to know him.

    1. Not surprised by that, just saddened. Wrigley--and Wrigleyville--have been utterly transformed in recent seasons..and not for better. They have been Disneyfied into "the Cub experience." I rarely encounter anybody from my bleacher years (early Sixties to early Nineties) anymore. They've been priced out, or they've moved away, or just died. Those days are gone forever...over a long time ago...oh, yeah....

  7. A couple of years ago I spent a nice chunk of chance to see Dylan at the Riviera. Why? Because it was a chance to see Dylan.
    Was it impressive or memorable? No. Do I regret it? No.
    I saw Dylan.

  8. I passed up a chance to see the Stones 30 years ago because they were already a dinosaur band. 1989. But you'll know all the songs.


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