Start Them Up!

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 7:24 pm (UTC+0)

By Ray McDonald

Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s assume that the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary tour, which starts on May 3 in Los Angeles, will be their final outing. It could very well be: the youngest member, Ronnie Wood, is 65, while elder statesman drummer Charlie Watts is 71 and has been grumbling about having to play at more outdoor festivals. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 69, and while they appear in good health – at this point, I think we can agree that Keith is indestructible – who knows what the future holds?

So – in the words of an early Stones hit, “this could be the last time.” Now, here’s where you get to be creative. When the boys take the stage for their final appearance on their final tour – which songs will they play? Looking at the set lists for the  “50 and Counting” shows they did last year, I see the Stones played 22 or 23 songs per show, but I’m betting sheer adrenaline will keep them onstage a bit longer for the final gig. Here are my picks for their last-ever concert.

1) “Start Me Up” – obvious but fitting. Keith’s opening notes will get the crowd pumped and ready.

2) “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll”

3) “Grown Up Wrong” – obscurity from “12 x 5” where Mick Taylor can shine on slide guitar (Mick played in the band from 1969-1974 and will appear on the upcoming tour).

4) “Monkey Man” – a “Let It Bleed” track where Mick can ham it up.

5) “Happy” – Keith gets his turn at the mic.

6) “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” – classic track from “Beggars Banquet.”

7) “Rough Justice” – high-energy track from “A Bigger Bang.” Later Stones material seems too often overlooked.

8) “Get Off Of My Cloud” – the Stones kicked off their 2012 shows with this 1965 rocker.

9) “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” – let’s give it up for the horn section!

10) “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” – a “Sticky Fingers” favorite with more horn workouts.

11) “Gimme Shelter” – peak intensity from “Let It Bleed,” perhaps my favorite Stones album.

12) “Midnight Rambler” – another great “Let It Bleed” track where Mick can get busy on harmonica.

13) “Miss You” – their 1978 nod to disco, ramping up the energy level again.

14) “Doom and Gloom” – c’mon, they have to play one of their latest singles. Mick says the crowds only want the classics, but they’ve been working this one in.

15) “Paint It Black” – one of my all-time favorites. Here’s where I really miss Brian Jones.

16) “When the Whip Comes Down” – good, vicious rocker from “Some Girls” that they fit into some 2012 shows.

17) “One Hit (To the Body)” – another great rock workout, this one from the 1986 “Dirty Work” album.

18) “Dandelion” – a psychedelic obscurity from 1967. I may be the only person on earth who loves this song.

19) “Play With Fire” – ominous 1965 song with a great Jagger vocal. The boys need a couple slow tracks to prepare  for the final stretch.

20) “Brown Sugar” – this one will get the crowd charged up for the finish.

21) “Sympathy For The Devil” – this is how they ended their 2012 shows…


1) “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – …and this is how they kicked off their encores.

2) “Honky Tonk Women”

3) “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – this was their concert closer. A perfect send-0ff, featuring the ultimate rock guitar riff.

It won’t happen like this, of course. I realize that some of these songs will never be disinterred. Still, that’s my ultimate Rolling Stones set list. Now – what’s yours? Just to get you in the spirit of things, here’s a clip of Eddie Vedder sitting in with Mick and the lads on “Wild Horses,” recorded on September 28, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.




2 responses to “Start Them Up!”

  1. Joey says:

    I put in a vote for Tumbling Dice and Street Fighting Man

    • rmd says:

      Hi Joey,

      Both great choices. I indulged myself with a couple obscure songs which pushed out the bigger hits…but you know they’ll be doing both these songs until the very end.



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