The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

When Legends Gather #54


Keith Moon, Pete Townshend and Mick Jagger, on the set of Rock and Roll Circus (1968)

This weekend I'm trucking to Moncton, N.B. to cover the Rolling Stones' 'A Bigger Bang' concert stop in Atlantic Canada, the band's first venture to this neck of the woods, if you don't count a quick visit Jagger made to Halifax two decades ago to slap an injunction on Cape Breton resident and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design guest instructor Robert Frank for an unauthorized screening of Cocksucker Blues.

I saw the Stones 15 years ago, on the 'Steel Wheels' tour, and even then the past-their-prime feeling was palpable, so I can only imagine what kind of vibe I'll get in the middle of an outdoor natural amphitheatre (first used for a visit by Pope John Paul II) full of 90,000 people. I've heard they're throwing in some R&B stuff into their shows, including a Ray Charles tribute, so maybe I'll hold off with the pre-judging. Right now I'm just listening to 12X5 and trying to fight back an ever-increasing feeling of dread.

I'll cut them some slack if they do 'Connection' or 'Live With Me', but I'm not getting my hopes up.

3 comments :

Brooklyn Blowhard said...

They are still the world's greatest rock band to me, and I'm looking forward to seeing them later this month. Some say "they are too old". Well, BB King still tours, and what new music out there is really worth seeing?

Tom Sutpen said...

They are still the world's greatest rock band to me, and I'm looking forward to seeing them later this month. Some say "they are too old". Well, BB King still tours, and what new music out there is really worth seeing?

*****
It's not so much a matter of their being old as it is the sheer cynicism of their enterprise at this point. God knows I don't think performers should do their act for nothing, but when the creative spark is long gone (as it is with The Rolling Stones) and money becomes the sole intention, then there's a problem. Guys like B.B. King, Willie Nelson, even Lou Reed still have a considerable, palpable affection for what they're doing. And you can feel it in their performances still. This isn't true of the Stones (much as I once loved that band). You can tell that, were it not for the money, they'd all rather be doing something else.

swac said...

Whaddya know, they did Live With Me.

They must read this blog. That, All Down the Line and their Ray Charles tribute The Night Time is the Right Time made the trip worth it, I think.