HOLLYWOOD, FLA. — As it turns out, you can sometimes get what you want.
Such was the case Tuesday night for the lucky fans who scored exclusive tickets to The Rolling Stones’ one-night-only show at the 7,000-seat Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. — the most intimate venue the band has played in more than 12 years.
Coming 52 years after the Stones first played in Florida, Tuesday’s show was a last-minute addition to the schedule, marking the final night of the band’s four-year, sold-out, worldwide No Filter Tour.
As with every show since the August death of Charlie Watts, the show opened with an uplifting video tribute to the band’s late drummer.
The Stones then kicked off the two-hour show with the raw and raunchy “Street Fighting Man,” which saw Mick Jagger whip the crowd into a frenzy by shuffling, sidestepping, kicking and shimmying across the stage only a few tantalizing feet from the standing-room-only pit area.
“Let’s Spend the Night Together,” a song mild by today’s standards but censored in the 1960s for its suggestive lyrics, rolled into another mid-’60s hit, “19th Nervous Breakdown.”
Jagger animatedly sang the lyrics about a mentally unstable woman, rolling his eyes and shooting looks at Keith Richards and Ron Wood who laughed in what appeared to be unspoken solidarity.
Jagger then paused briefly to dedicate the night’s show to Watts, sending the audience into a collective chant of “Char-lie, Char-lie!”
The gritty “Tumbling Dice” preceded an unusually mellow and somewhat bluesy rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” during which Jagger strapped on an acoustic guitar as the crowd belted out the infamous lyrics word-for-word along with him.
Jagger scoffed briefly about COVID, which had delayed the current tour by a year, before the band broke into its latest hit, “Living in a Ghost Town” — a somewhat eerie tune that was written and recorded during and about the frustrations of pandemic lockdowns.
Blowing on his harmonica and sometimes speak-singing in a deep, whispery voice, Jagger held the melody while Darryl Jones, who in 1993 took over for retired bassist Bill Wyman, plucked out a slow, steady bassline.
The low-key Richards sprung to life with the first, instantly recognizable chords of “Start Me Up.” He then offered a twangy solo for the band’s No. 1 country-rock hit, “Honky Tonk Women.” True to fashion, Richards forwent the intricate fretwork preferred by many rock guitarists in favor of rhythmic riffs that seem to flow out of somewhere deep inside him almost effortlessly.
Jagger, during a rare conversation with the audience, said he was glad to be ending the No Filter Tour in the Miami area, saying, “It just feels right.”
It was unfortunate, he said, that he would have to miss some of the great events coming up in the area, such as Art Basel, Jason Bonham’s show at the Hard Rock and the Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly tour.
At the mention of the latter, the normally non-political Jagger smirked, turned on his heel and padded to the back of the stage, as some audience members laughed and broke into a collective boo that was decidedly not directed at Jagger.
Jagger introduced the band members before taking a short break, leaving Richards to lead vocals on the slightly manic “Connection” and the slow groove of “Slipping Away.” The crowd went wild, proving that one need not have a perfectly trained voice to be an entertaining singer.
Jagger returned for a funkified version of “Miss You,” slithering, sliding and shaking his hips to the high-spirited horns of saxophone greats Karl Denson and Tim Reis and the undulating beat of Jones and drummer Steve Jordan.
A mind-blowing version of “Midnight Rambler” started with Jagger in prime form on harmonica and included him falling to his knees in front of fans at the edge of the stage.
Richards and Wood postured face-to-face, playing seamlessly off one another as Jagger bopped and strutted with a level of energy that has not dissipated one bit in his 60 years fronting the band.
“Paint it Black” harkened the Stones’ trippy, psychedelic period with white lights flashing across the stark, smoky stage while overhead video screens depicted band members melting and blurring in ways that audience members who were teenagers in the ‘60s and ‘70s have likely seen before.
Flames made of lights flickered across the curtains at the rear of the stage as Jagger swaggered out in a black-sequined tailcoat at the first chords of “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Adding even more depth to the layered musical arrangement was one of the things that makes Jagger the quintessential front man — the innate ability to captivate his audience with decades-old lyrics as if singing them for the very first time.
To the delight of the crowd, Richards took a rare stroll out to the small platform jutting from the front of the stage and then smiled and shook his head watching Jagger sashay back and forth, pump his arms and shake a set of maracas while standing on the drum riser.
After a false ending to the concert that fooled no one, the Stones returned for an encore of the haunting “Gimme Shelter.” In a turnabout from her usual onstage playfulness, back-up singer Sasha Allen joined Jagger for an impassioned, spine-tingling rendition of the dark and foreboding song Jagger once referred to as apocalyptic.
The Stones wrapped up the show on a lighter note, sharing laughs and bantering between themselves during what is perhaps their best-known hit, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
And while the band’s departure conspicuously lacked the familiar, “See you next time,” Stones fans undoubtedly got more than enough satisfaction to last a lifetime.