Last night half of Hong Kong seemed to make its way to China’s laundromat, Macau – where money can be cleaned, but reputations sullied – to converge upon the Venetian’s Cotai Arena for the Rolling Stones’ ’14 On Fire’ Asia tour. The one-night-only show filled the 15,000 seat arena in just under 2 hours apparently.
“I first saw them in Covent Garden in 1977,” said a die-hard Stones fan. “Back then, they were the Rolling Stoned. Now, they get high on wheatgrass shots in the morning. A lot’s changed in 40 years.” Indeed it has, but not just with the band. Looking around at the packed arena, the largely middle-aged stone-cold-sober audience seemed at a loss to know what to do with itself. Does one stand? Does the head move with the limbs at the same time? Does one clap in time with the beat? Will a mere head-bopping suffice? Those that were under the age of 30 seemed oblivious to the fact that there was a performance taking place behind them on stage as they posed for endless selfies and videos miming the words to songs they vaguely recognised from you know, like, that film with the napalm and war. When the lights dimmed for ‘You Can’t Always Get What you Want’, thousands of little lights were raised about the heads of audience members in time for the angelic voices of the HK University choir. The lighters of innumerable smokers out and proud? Nope. They were the lights of thousands of iPhones filming the performance.
Mick Jagger was on fire the entire performance. The years of pilates and yoga has clearly paid off for the septugenarian. He gyrated, jumped, spun and stalked his way across stage, all black-clad skinny limbs and trademark pout still firmly in place. The man has more energy than Jordan Belfort on blow at a strip club. Keith Richards, Ronnie Woods and Charlie Watts, while resembling a gang of dentured fossilised meth-heads from a William S. Burroughs novel, didn’t miss a beat either. Well die-hard fan, if you closed your eyes you could have pretended it was ’77. Sort of. There were no drugs or sex at this show, but there was plenty of rock’n’roll, and I liked it.
Rock still has a faint pulse and mercifully lives on in an era of Ritalin snorting tweaking teenagers idols. Here’s my dodgy iPhone contribution from the night.