By Shannon Kirsch, Special to OnMilwaukee.com   Published Jun 24, 2015 at 8:16 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

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When people hear that The Rolling Stones are one of my favorite bands, they’re taken aback since I’m 20 and Keith Richards is pushing 100 (Editor's note: Richards is actually 71, but 71 going on 100). Of course, this is another typical joke about how The Rolling Stones are old. However, after the energetic show they just put on at the Marcus Amphitheater, I’m confident that their energy and sound trumps any modern rock band a quarter their age. 

I saw The Stones once before in Chicago in 2013, but I didn’t have the best time – mostly because I paid $80 for seats behind the stage while predominately hearing drunk people have conversations during a Rolling Stones show that was a block away from me. However, being in the mere presence of these rock legends is worth $80 in my book (it shouldn’t be, though, because I’m a broke college student who can hardly afford milk).

Blues legend Buddy Guy opened with wild guitar riffs, pouring his heart and soul in his performance. It annoyed me that half the crowd didn't seem to be paying attention or even in their seats. Guy is one of the key reasons The Rolling Stones are The Rolling Stones; It was an insult to him for these concert goers to just use him as background music as they purchased their concessions.

Usually at concerts for rock bands of the '60s and '70s era, I’m the only one under 40. However, here there was a good chunk of individuals who were my age that I was not expecting. 

The Stones went on a half-hour late, but I don’t blame them; thousands of people still were not in their seats, either. I don’t know if this is customary for bands to be a half-hour late or for people to be lollygagging around when the concert is supposed to start, but I have to say I don’t like it.

The Rolling Stones stormed the stage to the catchy track "Jumpin' Jack Flash" during which I got my first glimpse into the prime entertainment Mick Jagger is. He whips from one side to the other making intense facial and body expressions as he yells out the lyrics in the most emotional way possible. It’s impressive how he seems to reach all sides of the stage multiple times running back and forth dancing in the process. It’s really a sight to see.

Jagger also interacted well with the audience, knowing Milwaukee and Wisconsin culture throughout the show. At one point during the show, he yelled, "It’s great to be in Milwaukee! Hello cheeseheads!" Later on, he welcomed "all our guests from Chicago," which was met with half applause and half booing. In response, he said, "Oh yeah, something to do with Packers and Bears or something." I don’t know if anyone enjoyed his nonchalance as much as me.

As the show went along, he also made a comment about signing up for the sausage race and a joke about Wisconsin native Liberace. I’m sure he probably had his assistant writing him what to say. Still, for Jagger to even somewhat know and comment on Wisconsin culture when he’s played all over the world was unexpectedly personalized and truly cool.

The band performed two tracks from "Sticky Fingers" to promote the reissue, which includes live tracks and alternate versions of the original track list. I initially believed the plan for this whole tour was to play "Sticky Fingers" in its entirety, so hearing two songs is close but no cigar. However, it was the best two songs on the album: "Can’t You Hear Me Knocking" and "Moonlight Mile."

"Can’t You Hear Me Knocking" was met with energetic guitar riffs with prime vocals. However, I was partially irritated that this version wasn’t as fast as the album version. Then I remembered these individuals are prior drug and possibly alcohol addicts who are still performing to thousands of people and somehow not dead from an overdose. So maybe a few seconds slower is alright …

During "Champagne & Reefer," Guy came out. Every time reefer was mentioned the whole crowd cheered, and the smell of weed was rampant in the section. Stay classy, Milwaukee.

When it was Keith Richards' turn to take the stage, he said with a gigantic grin, "It’s good to be here but it’s good to be anywhere." He took the stage with such a big smile that I am contemplating printing out a picture and framing it. He performed "Before They Make Me Run" and "Happy."

"Midnight Rambler" was longer than the original extended with extra guitar and vocals which gave this already energetic song an extra punch, or strangle if you will. Later "Gimme Shelter" was met with haunting ooohs from backup singer Lisa Fischer, who pulled off the seemingly impossible and put original female vocalist Merry Clayton to shame in her powerful but short performance.

The encore started with the UWM choir singing "You Can’t Always Get What You Want" and "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction." However, I feel like those songs are lies because tonight I did get what I want and was satisfied with it. I was able to see musical legends in a great venue where people were utterly absorbed and not constantly chatting around me. If that’s not satisfaction, I don’t know what is.

Set list

  1. Jumping Jack Flash
  2. It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
  3. Tumbling Dice
  4. Doom and Gloom
  5. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
  6. Moonlight Mile
  7. Champagne & Reefer (with Buddy Guy)
  8. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
  9. Honky Tonk Women
  10. Before They Make Me Run
  11. Happy
  12. Midnight Rambler
  13. Miss You
  14. Gimme Shelter
  15. Start Me Up
  16. Sympathy For The Devil
  17. Brown Sugar
    Encore #1: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
    Encore #2: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction