There was a moment at Wednesday’s Rolling Stones show at TCF Bank Stadium that summed up the whole thing better than anything else that night. It came about halfway through the show, during one of Mick Jagger’s many jaunts up and down the catwalk that cut through the center of the crowd. Jagger was somehow dancing, yelping, strutting and singing all at once, waving his arms emphatically and trying to coax the audience to join him in the infamous “Ooooh-ooooh-oooohs” of his band’s 1978 disco tune “Miss You,” when he locked eyes with someone who wasn’t following along.
“C’mon, man,” he said, beckoning to the person in the crowd. “You’re not too old to sing.”
It is a beautiful thing, this idea of staying “not too old to sing,” and I found myself returning to it again and again throughout the show. Despite the fact that the Rolling Stones have been touring together longer than any other rock ‘n’ roll band on the planet, it was impossible to ignore just how spry, youthful and full of wonder Jagger appeared on stage, and it reminded me of something the great Yoko Ono wrote recently about aging in the public eye: “Don’t make me old… Get my energy or shut up.”
What else besides an endless fount of enthusiasm and ceaseless curiosity could explain Jagger and company’s desire to not only return to Minneapolis for the 11th time but to immerse themselves in all the city has to offer, getting here a few days early to eagerly scour the town for books and art and parks and other signs of cultural life?
Throughout the show Jagger gushed about Minnehaha Falls, the Mall of America, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and even name-checked A Prairie Home Companion, while his Glimmer Twin, Keith Richards, grumbled poetically like a chain-smoking shaman about how, “It’s good to be anywhere — but here’ll do.” Together with founding member Charlie Watts and longtime member Ron Wood, the Stones proved that they could still play with the jagged imprecision and giddy looseness of a band just feeling one another out for the first time in a garage, despite the fact that they were performing in front of 50,000 people in an arena.
A few technical issues also contributed to that mildly disjointed vibe during the first half of the show (even one of the giant screens bordering the stage was on the fritz for a while, proving just how unpredictable a stage set-up of this scale can be), but the band appeared unbothered. Nothing was going to stop Jagger from dancing his freaky free-form flailing dance and pushing the party forward with megahits like “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Midnight Rambler.”
“We first came to Minneapolis in 1964, to the Danceland Ballroom in Excelsior,” Mick Jagger reminisced, pausing before “Miss You” to think back on the early days. “There were only 243 people, and none of them liked it much, or so I read. But we’ve been coming back ever since.” It’s been a decade since the Stones were in the Cities, and there seemed to be an unspoken understanding between the band and the crowd that their Zip Code Tour might be the last time they would pass through. All the more reason to make it unforgettable.
By the time the Stones reached the last hour-long stretch of their two-hour-and-15-minute show, it was like a downhill coast into hitsville: “Gimme Shelter” (which featured an unnecessary duet with the show’s opening act, Grace Potter, even though it was clear that the band’s back-up singer Lisa Fischer would have been a better fit for the part), followed by “Start Me Up,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” and “Brown Sugar.” Plus a parade of Jagger’s flashy jackets and capes. And the encore was simply stunning: An emotional rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” that was elevated by the Minneapolis-based choir VocalEssence, followed by the triumphant, in-your-face declaration of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
It was a night of time-traveling music, to be sure, and hearing such familiar jukebox hits in such quick succession made it difficult to stay tethered to any one age, time or memory. By the show’s end, no matter where the songs had sent you or whatever old feelings resurfaced throughout the night, it was downright impossible to ride those recognizable riffs and look up at the red fireworks bursting into dandelions in the sky and feel anything but eternally awestruck, and forever young. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll but I like it, I like it, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
All Down the Line
Doom and Gloom
Out of Control
Honky Tonk Woman
Before They Make Me Run (led by Keith Richards)
Happy (led by Keith Richards)
Gimme Shelter (with Grace Potter)
Start Me Up
Sympathy for the Devil
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with VocalEssence)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
More Photos by Nate Ryan