At a hastily assembled press conference today, the Rolling Stones announced that they are planning another major tour which very well may prove to be the biggest tour of their storied career and perhaps the greatest tour of all time. With some of the details just now coming to light, many fans are speculating if the magnitude of it may signal that it will be their farewell tour.
While many details are still in the development stages, one item that is finalized is the setlist. At the press conference, the band appeared together and told a room full of reporters that they would be following a similar pattern as many other bands are following recently: playing one of their classic albums in its entirety.
“We took a look at all of the albums that we felt fans would most enjoy hearing,” declared an energetic Mick Jagger, “and we’ve decided to do the ‘Harlem Shuffle’ across North America!” The band will be performing Dirty Work in its entirety for the first set of their show.
“As a guitar player, you really want to play the songs that make you look good,” admitted Keith Richards, “and Dirty Work is probably the best album in our whole catalog that really highlights Woody and myself.”
The second set of the show will be a cross generation collection of greatest hits of songs from Goats Head Soup onward; there will be no songs from the band’s 1964-1972 period performed.
“We just got done with re-doing all of the Exile On Main Street material, so we think the fans will be tired of those songs,” explained Jagger. “And we’re tired of playing ‘Satisfaction,’ ‘Brown Sugar,’—you know—all of those early songs. We’ve been at it for over forty years now and there becomes a point where you just go ‘God! I’m f*cking sick to death of playing ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.'”
“Amen!” added Ron Wood, looking robust after his stint in rehab and slowly nursing a Zima, explaining that it was the only alcoholic beverage his doctors would allow him to drink after his recovery.
One exception to the “No old songs” rule will be with the special encore set, which opens with Bill Wyman rejoining his old mates for a version of “In Another Land,” Wyman’s contribution to Their Satanic Majesties Request.
“We’ve never played that song live before,” said drummer Charlie Watts, who broke his usual silence and commented on the opportunity to perform again with his former partner in rhythm. “He’s got a unique style that meshed well with my drumming…But the best thing was how the backstage area was like a junior high cheerleading tryout whenever he was around!” drawing a laugh from Wood to the point where a bit of his malt beverage unexpectedly came out of his nose.
The band will also honor other Stones alumni during the encore, beginning with a video montage of Mick Taylor appearing on the big screen while the band performs “Far Away Eyes.”
“It’s the closet thing we’ve done since he left that sounds like he’d be a part of,” stated Richards, who looked to be napping for most of the band’s fifteen minute long press conference.
When pressed why Taylor would not be a part of the tour in person, Richards stated that they had “lost his phone number” in 1977.
He then perked up when the discussion came around to “The 6th Stone,” Ian Stewart, who will be eulogized with a life-like balloon of the band’s longtime pianist, who was not as attractive as his other mates of the band to officially be a member.
“Like that balloon, the cat was bigger than life!” continued Richards, growing emotional as he recalled their former mate who passed in 1985. “We’re going to show the world how beautiful Stu was with a f*cking three-story tall floaty that will work its way around the stadium while we play the last song he was a part of, Too Much Blood,'” referring to the side two opener of Undercover.
They saved original guitarist Brian Jones for last, as many members of the press quietly wondered how they would show respects to their fallen comrade, particularly given the band’s previous commitment of not playing any songs prior to 1972 (Jones died in 1969).
“We’re taking a bit of our own history with that one,” explained Jagger as he referenced the band’s 1969 Hyde Park performance that took place shortly after Jones’ passing. “We plan on releasing 365 white doves—one dove for each day of the year—right before we play ‘Star Star,’ and it’s a pretty accurate assessment of Brian…That guy got more tail than a fox hound!” joked Mick, which caused Ron Wood to abruptly laugh and let out an unexpected burst of gas that’s clearly audible on the press conference video (see below).
While Wood excused himself from the press conference, Richards stated the obvious “Logistically, we’re gonna have to do this at the end of the show. Whenever you have that many birds getting let of cages in front of a stadium crowd, well, more than a few of them are going to get nervous and want to relieve themselves.”
At that moment, you can see members of the press and even the band themselves begin to laugh as the irony of Richards’ statement mixed with the smell of Ron Woods’ shart still fresh in the air.
One reporter questioned the band’s decision to house, ship, and release so many doves on every show of a North American tour, tentatively scheduled for 34 dates.
“Listen cat!” barked a clearly irritated Richards, “If you’re implying some kind of animal abuse, you can take your complimentary white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie and get the f*ck out of here!”
Jagger went on to calmly explain that they had worked out a strategy with members of PETA in which two bio-diesel fueled planes will circle each stadium after the doves are released with huge nets tethered between them. “Well scoop those white beauties while they’re still in flight and then recycle them.” The frontman stated, adding “It’s what Brian would have wanted.”
Aside from those brief questions shouted out from reporters during the press conference, the band allowed for no questions and provided no details on if the band had a name for the tour or if they’d be playing other locations outside of North America.
The biggest question—would this indeed be the band’s final tour—was not addressed even as numerous reporters asked that pointed question as the band retreated out the door of the Ramada Inn conference room.
The only clue was a brief smile and a quick wink as Jagger exited the modestly decorated facility.
A video of the press conference has been posted here.