Inside the News with Peter Mansbridge

Last Updated: Aug 8, 2013 11:16 AM ET

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger (right), Keith Richards (centre), Charlie Watts (back) and Ronnie Wood in concert in Toronto on Saturday May 25, 2013. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

I finally, after 50 years of wanting to, went to a Rolling Stones concert the other night. I wasn't disappointed. I screamed like a crazy person. I stood and waved my hands in the air. And I was in awe that Mick Jagger can still jump around the stage for two and a half hours. It's only rock and roll. But I like it. Yes I do.

Almost 50 years ago when we first heard "Satisfaction" (released in 1965) it was a huge hit right away. The other night when Keith Richards played the familiar opening chord that signals one of their key anthem songs is upcoming, it took me immediately back to those Friday night high school dances when we'd stomp the floor in rhythm to "Satisfaction's" signature beat.

Mick Jagger performs with Carrie Underwood at a Rolling Stones concert in Toronto on May 25, 2013. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Who knew that half a century later I'd be doing the same thing on arena concrete with my 13 year-old son beside me wondering who this strange guy next to him, masquerading as his father, was? He was kind though, said he had a great time, that it was a memory he'd never forget. I bet. Sure never saw my Dad screaming his head off at a rock concert.

As the Stones all become septuagenarians, concert nights like this do raise questions: how long can they keep this up, and how long will fans pay big bucks to watch them? I remember asking Geddy Lee that question as he approached sixty and Rush was about to launch another concert tour.

Geddy Lee of Rush attends the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision)

He conceded that when he was 16 the idea of still playing at twenty  seemed ridiculous, but after multi-million album sales since, he had reconciled that notion.  As he said to me, people still want to see great opera singers, pianists, jazz artists and crooners  no matter their age, so why should rock stars be any different.

Watch: One on One with Geddy Lee

And the other night proved that correct once again. The big screens behind and around the band were filled mostly with close ups of Jagger, Richards, and Wood. But interspersed were cutaways of the crowd. Face after face after face of people who had to be at least in their late 50s and 60s, reliving, I'm sure, similar Friday nights from many decades ago just like I was.  And they were loving it, perhaps, for no small reason, because they were reconnecting with something they could believe in.   

The Rolling Stones, arrive at Montreal Airport in 1965. (Associated Press)

These past few weeks, on a range of other issues, it has been hard to do that. Secret back room money deals in the backrooms of the prime minister's office, alleged drug scandals in Toronto City Hall, even Barack Obama's White House responsible for the Justice Department listening in on reporter's phone calls.

The Rolling Stones are hardly role models. There's been lots of bad stuff in their past you wouldn't want your children repeating. But for the most part, they've been loyal to each other and to their fans. And when you see 20,000 people mouthing every word of their hits, it's nice to know that some things haven't changed.

Mind you, I won't forgive them for not singing "Ruby Tuesday." 

More from Inside the News:

Watch: Peter Mansbridge: Rock star

Comments are closed.