"It's great to be in this stadium for the first time ... in Aaahlington, Texas," Mick Jagger told thousands of Rolling Stones fans on Saturday night. "Taylor Swift told me to say that."
The 71-year-old frontman was in high spirits at the AT&T Stadium stop of his band's 15-city Zip Code Tour. When he wasn't sharing clever between-song quips or paying homage to George Strait (we'll get to that later), he was giving us the full Mick in all its cavorting, seducing glory. Everyone in attendance Saturday now knows exactly why there's a (somewhat annoying) hit song inspired by the dude's moves.
Unmistakably brilliant, the singer was just one of many causes for celebration inside Jerry Jones' spaceship. Here's more on the Stones' triumphant two-hour show. (And in case you're wondering if the guys still have it, the answer is a resounding yes.)
Bravo to the fans: Let's face it — any event at AT&T Stadium amounts to a gigantic hassle for most of its attendees. There's no way around it. So, while getting in and out of the place made up much more than half the collective battle on Saturday, fans seemed to let that go and get loosey-goosey during the Stones' performance. From the floor to the nosebleeds, folks were having the time of their lives. Positioned in front of an aisle, I saw ridiculously dressed diehards dancing and high-fiving all night. They were as entertaining as the action on stage. Quite a few attempted to re-create that iconic Jagger strut. I wouldn't try it after more than a couple of beers, though.
The sights, the sounds: Thank the gods of arena rock for the three large screens that made up the Stones' backdrop, because otherwise the majority of the fans there might not have gotten a good look at the faces and getups of Jagger, Keith Richards and company. They might not have seen drummer Charlie Watts' slightly perplexed permaface as he nailed every beat. And they wouldn't have been clued into memorable musical moments courtesy of brilliant backup singer Lisa Fischer (she easily matched Jagger's intensity on "Gimme Shelter") and the University of Texas at Arlington A Capella Choir's cameo during "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
As for the sound, well, there's just no way to achieve a perfect mix in that stadium. We all know it, yet high-profile concerts keep happening there. Waddaya gonna do? At least the Stones and their extended touring band hit all the marks and cranked out inspired renditions of the hits. Even with the muddled noise and echoes mucking things up, the music didn't suffer too much.
The indomitable Keith Richards: The Stones' legendary guitarist was as much a focal point as Jagger throughout Saturday's show, rocking colorful jackets and headbands, and churning out endlessly bluesy riffs. Richards' and Ronnie Wood's combined axe-work (along with a few turns by Jagger) gave the Stones' classic material boosts of energy in the Cowboys' home. Richards even sang lead on a couple of tunes including "Before They Make Me Run." And he made sure to ask us to all remember the late, great Texan saxophone player Bobby Keys, the longtime Stones touring player who passed late last year. Jagger may handle all the flash and glam, but Richards again and again provided the soul.
Those songs: Saturday's set featured the same hit parade other cities on the Zip Code tour have received. For dancing and strutting there were "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," "Miss You," and "Start Me Up." For singalongs, "Honky Tonk Women," "Gimme Shelter," "Brown Sugar" and "Sympathy for the Devil." The special request voted on via Web by the crowd turned out to be "Rocks Off," but we got a lot more pleasure out of the extended blues opera "Midnight Rambler." And, of course, the night climaxed with an epic rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
And back to Jagger: He's bigger than life, even when he appears to be the size of an ant (shout-out to the top sections), so we have to end on Mick. A few unforgettable moments: Before revealing which requested song the band would be doing, he gave us a few bars of George Strait's "All My Ex's Live in Texas." It was bizarre and thrilling to hear that song Jagger-fied — we can't begin to explain how effectively he twisted that melody to his snarling vocal style.
Another Texas reference came after he did one of his signature struts."I got some of these moves from Jerry Jones," he said. And Jagger's many memorable outfits included a see-through black top (he's in much better shape than I am, dangit) and a feathered red cape. Top that, every other lead singer in the world.