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Archive for Sunday, November 24, 2002

Stones’ know how to move geriatric fans

November 24, 2002

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Recently I attended a Rolling Stones concert. This is something I do every two decades. I saw the Stones in the 1960s, and again in the 1980s. I plan to see them next in the 2020s, then the 2040s, then the 2060s, at their 100th anniversary concert.

By then, of course, I will be a very old man with no working organs. But I'm sure medical science will figure out a way to get me to a Stones concert. Maybe I'll be just a head, with no body, kept alive in a Plexiglas container carried around by an attendant. When the Stones play, I'll express my excitement by instructing my attendant to dance with the attendant holding the head of the baby boomer next to me.

I have no doubt that the Stones will still be playing decades from now. They're amazing physical specimens. I mean, they're basically 60-year-old men, but when you see them up close, they look, incredibly, more like 90-year-old men, except for Keith Richards, who looks like a giant iguana that has learned to walk erect and play guitar.

Keith is not a health nut. His idea of taking care of his body is to occasionally play an entire song without smoking a cigarette. He has very deep facial creases: You expect at any moment to see a prairie dog poke its head out of his face, blink at the lights, then duck down again. Keith would not notice this. I'm pretty sure the Stones have a guy on a walkie-talkie somewhere, transmitting to Keith's earpiece, reminding him to blink.

The other Stones look healthier than Keith, but then so does the late Chairman Mao. This is not a pretty-boy band. If they've had any plastic surgery, it was apparently done at Home Depot.

But their looks don't matter, nor does the fact that they have ear hairs older than Britney Spears. What matters is that, in clear violation of the laws of biology, the Stones are still performing, and they're really GOOD. They do a butt-kicking two-hour show that does not rely on special effects, aside from Mick Jagger's pants, which are the smallest pants I have ever seen on a grown man. They look like he got them in the Toy's 'R' Us Barbie section, from a box labeled "Rock Star Ken."

The Stones also do not engage in elaborate choreography, nor do they lip-sync, unless you count when Keith Richards and Ron Wood puff on their cigarettes simultaneously. What the Stones do, really well, is play instruments, unlike these so-called (WARNING WARNING OLD-FOSSIL RANT COMING) "bands" you see today where some guy is fussing with a turntable and carrying on as though this is a display of virtuoso musical skill, instead of what it actually is, which is a guy operating a record player. What's next? "Musicians" changing stations on a radio? "Musicians" operating toaster-ovens? This is NOT MUSICIANSHIP! This is CRAUGH COUGH COUGH CARRGLE (sound of dentures being ejected).

Sorry. My point is that the Stones may be old, but, consarn it, they can still play. They sound as good to me today as they did in 1965, when I used to cruise slowly past Pleasantville High School " I had to cruise slowly, because I was driving my mom's Plymouth Valiant station wagon, which boasted roughly the same top speed as a parking meter " with the radio blasting "Satisfaction," which in 1965 seemed to be coming out of every radio all the time, even if the radio was turned off.

If you can remember 1965, you would have fit right in at the Stones concert. It was an older crowd, a crowd that would not enter a mosh pit unless there was reserved seating. The guy in front of me " long white hair, pony tail " held his cell phone in his right hand for the entire concert. While his left hand was thrusting into the air in time to the music, his right thumb was pressing phone buttons. Rock and roll!

Also on hand were the guys who go to every concert I go to and always manage to sit near me, including the guy who whistles really loud pretty much nonstop, and the guy who has 11 beers and feels the need to give everybody around him a violent high-five at least twice per song, which means you have to high-five him back, or there will be nothing to stop his hand from slamming into your face.

But I'm not complaining. It was a great concert, and the Stones are an inspiration to all of us older people who still want to "get down," insofar as this is possible with artificial hips. So to the Stones I say: Thank you.

And to Keith, I say: Blink.




" Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

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