The Rolling Stones

Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Russell Leadbetter


THE Stones’ last studio album, the electrifying collection of covers that was 2016’s Blue & Lonesome, was a joy to listen to, and a potent reminder of the great Chicago bluesmen whom Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first bonded over, all those decades ago.

In the same way, Saturday night’s show at Murrayfield was an uplifting experience. It’s more than just the songs, of course, more than just the fact that you know you’re going to hear all the greatest hits. The two-hour-long show underscored what Keith Richards said the other day: “We are truly at our happiest and, I think, at our best" when they perform live.

Jagger, at 74, is still a rail-thin force of nature, as compelling and energetic a frontman as ever, the power of his voice undimmed by the passing of the years. Richards never seemed to stop smiling. Jagger kept up the badinage throughout, with sly references to the trams, Irn Bru, the fate of the last time England played Scotland at Murrayfield, and England reaching the semi-final of the forthcoming World Cup. He even, at one point, used the local expression, ‘Gie’ing it laldy”.

The opening riff to Start Me Up kicked things off, and thereafter we were back in the Stones’ creative, riff-laden heyday: Let’s Spend the Night Together, It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll, Tumbling Dice, Under My Thumb. Eddie Taylor’s Ride ‘Em On Down, from Blue & Lonesome, was giving an airing, followed by the rarely-heard She’s A Rainbow, from the 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. It had been voted for by fans prior to the gig, prompting Jagger to remark from the stage that it made quite a change from the blues.

Still the classics came: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, a particularly evocative Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women. Richards was given his customary solo spot - with You Got the Silver, and Happy - before the band returned with an extended Sympathy for the Devil, a funky Miss You, and a magnificent Midnight Rambler. Two encores, Gimme Shelter (with backing vocalist Sasha Allen performing a storming duet with Jagger) and Satisfaction crowned a first-class show.