So take them to the airport, and put them on a plane. We should have no expectations of them passing through here again. At the Air Canada Centre on Thursday, the Rolling Stones gave their second (and final) concert at the venue on their current “50 and Counting…” tour. Much was similar to the long-in-the-tooth band’s first appearance on May 25.
Mick Jagger sang of threatening storms (on Gimme Shelter ) but did seem overly concerned. Blues of the honky-tonk sort were executed swingingly, and the mobile, extra-slim singer wore an ostrich-feathered H.R. Pufnstuf cape as he expressed Sympathy for the Devil . The show was juiced-up and sloppy; a crowd was giddy and satisfied once again.
But if much was the same, there were new flashes and altered glimmers too. Here are five things which differed from the first concert to the second.
Worried About You : The deep cut from 1981’s Tattoo You was the choice of online voters at rollingstone.com, where fans have some set-list say. On the languid and lounge-y soul-blues number, Jagger played electric piano and sang in a squawking falsetto that was high, raw and exposed.
Guest Star : Where the big-voiced Nashvillian Carrie Underwood dueted with Jagger on It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) for the first concert, there was no star parachuted in for show number two.
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking : Former lead guitarist Mick Taylor, brought back in small nightly doses for this tour, stretched out like Carlos Santana on the sprawling Latin-grooved jam that makes up the song’s second part. He fumbled initially, and never did match the finesse of the recorded version from 1971’s Sticky Fingers . It was as if Taylor was trying to fit in all the notes he missed over the years, having left the band in 1974.
Rocks Off : If sunshine bored the daylight out of the Stones back in ‘72, perhaps it is now band rehearsals that leave them yawning. The choogling opening number from Exile on Main St . was energetically rendered but seemed woefully unrehearsed.
Before They Make Me Run : Instead of his signature Happy , the grey guitarist Keith Richards sang gruffly and struck the choppy chords of this defiant rocker recorded during his drug-busted days of the late 1970s. “I wasn’t looking too good,” he barked dryly, “but I was feeling really well.” Which seemed about right.
The Rolling Stones play Montreal’s Bell Centre, June 9.