The Rolling Stones welcomed former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor back on stage at their 50th anniversary kick-off concert at London's O2 Arena last night. The show also featured Jeff Beck and Mary J. Blige. Although Wyman and Taylor weren't onstage at the same time, the show definitely showed a small amount of nostalgia for the Stones, with the band tipping it's hat to the Beatles for the opening number by performing "I Wanna Be Your Man" -- which John Lennon and Paul McCartney finished for them in 1963 giving them their first Top 20 UK hit.
The Stones followed it with a triple punch of '60s classics -- "Get Off My Cloud," "It's All Over Now," and "Paint It, Black" before settling into the set. Blige stepped up to sing the Merry Clayton part in "Gimme Shelter" and Jeff Beck joined the band for the 1969 Let It Bleed outtake, "I'm Going Down."
Bill Wyman made his first appearance with the Stones since June 27th, 1990 in Basle, Switzerland, sitting in on "It's Only Rock N' Roll" and "Honky Tonk Women." Taylor was featured on the band's 1969 classic, "Midnight Rambler" -- a cornerstone of the legendary shows he played with the band between 1969 and 1973. Although he hasn't played live with the band since sitting in with them on December 15th, 1981 in Kansas City, Missouri, he added new guitar work to the 2010 expanded reissue of Exile On Main Street.
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have announced the launch of a new charity called Teen Cancer America, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for teens and young adults with cancer. The organization will partner with hospitals to create facilities, develop support programs, and raise awareness during and after treatment. The new fund is a direct outgrowth of the work that the duo has been doing for 22 years with the U.K.-based Teenage Cancer Trust.
Daltrey said in a statement, "I am incredibly proud to be launching the Teen Cancer America initiative. I have seen firsthand how Teenage Cancer Trust has set the gold standard for care in the U.K. and I am excited to help start a movement that demands the same level of care for teens and young adults in America. Over the years I have met many young people with cancer and have been inspired by their unfaltering spirit, optimism and lust for life. I believe that we should do all we can to ensure that they can still be young people first and cancer patients second."
Daltrey added, "These facilities for teenagers should be a right, not a privilege."
The Who is donating $1 from each ticket sold on its current Quadrophenia And More tour to the fund. while British Airways is supporting a "Text To Donate" sweepstakes at every stop on the trek.
Kick ASS show at the Bi-Lo Center My top favorite of 2012 so far! Pete took time to drop a note on his blog!
"Great to be in the U.S.A. on Election Day. I would have been happy for either candidate to win. There are pros and cons. The only longing I have is for the President to work more closely with the UK than he appears to have done before. As unpopular as they ended up with the deep thinkers, George W. Bush and Tony Blair were friends, and that -- to me -- exemplified what I feel is most important about the relationship between the UK and the U.S.A. We are above all else friends. Friendship is not 'special' (as in the 'special' relationship'), it is normal, and accepting.
And so the Who tour kicked off in the teeth of a hurricane, and our immediate duty to our millions of fans in the Northeast is to promise that we will hopefully do more than just offer our prayers. While we're here we'll try to do something practical, as I am certain will all of our rock and pop buddies. Watch this space.
The shows so far? I'm doing great. The stage level is very quiet, and that suits me. I want to hang on to my hearing, which is still good enough to mix music like I did for the Quadrophenia: Director's Cut, and to cut my own demos at home. Roger is singing incredibly well. His vision is an interpretation of Quadrophenia rather than a straight narrative, and that seems to suit the period we are in as the two surviving members of the old Who, and our age. It FEELS great to me (I can't see the screens behind me and I haven't been able to see the entire set of projections because I was working right up until rehearsals) and that is the best measure for me. Roger and his creative team have clearly done a great job.
The audiences so far have been wonderful, and the shows promise to continue to improve. It's great to see some old faces, but as always I'm glad to see a few younger people in the crowd, and I hope they haven't been dragged along to check us out by nagging parents (or grandparents!) Thanks to all of you who have bought my book.