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The Rolling Stones return to Hyde Park 44 years later


Just over 44 years after beginning the second era of their live career at London's Hyde Park, the Rolling Stones returned on Saturday (July 6th) to the legendary open air venue. The Stones, who first played the Park on July 5th, 1969, had intended the show -- which was their first in two years -- to be the formal introduction of new guitarist Mick Taylor. Back then, with co-founder Brian Jones drowning on July 3rd, the concert quickly changed gears to serve as a memorial to Jones. Saturday's show in front of 65,000 fans was a far cry from the band's 1969 gig, which saw the Stones unrehearsed, horribly out of tune, and still unsure as how to play to a massive crowd -- which was believed to top out at around 200,000.

On Saturday, the Stones opened with 1981's "Start Me Up" -- which has usually been performed later in the band's recent shows and peppered the setlist with such deep cut favorites as "Bitch" -- with Guy Clark, Jr., "All Down The Line," and "Beast Of Burden." Pollstar reported that at one point Jagger took to the stage wearing a white frock similar to the one he wore back at the band's 1969 appearance, joking with the crowd that it was, "just something I found in the back."

Mick Jagger told us that the nightly variable of the live audience is what keeps performing a kick for him: "You never really know what's gonna happen. You never know what the audience is gonna be like, you never know how they're gonna behave, you, you expect them to do certain things, but they don't always do that, and you don't always do the same things that you've done the night before. That's what brings you into live playing, what makes live playing so interesting."

Although the Stones' second new song, "One More Shot" has gotten the axe for the band's festival appearances, their most recent single, "Doom And Gloom" has survived the changing setlist and remains a crowd favorite. Keith Richards told us that the song is indicative of the newfound energy in the band: "The classic Stones bit comes fairly easily when you put the boys back together. There's. . . the sound is -- I mean, after all, it's ours. I think Mick did a great job with the lyrics. And at the same time, I think there's a feeling of enthusiasm with these five years off that we've got a lot of stuff bottled up, y'know, and ready to go again, y'know?"

The Rolling Stones will wrap their 50 & Counting Tour dates on Saturday, July 13th with a return to Hyde Park.

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