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Rolling Stones Concert Review 1981

Updated on November 5, 2021

What A Show !

Mick Jagger above everyone's head in a cherry picker ? Keith Richards looking like the picture of good health ? Fireworks after the concert on a 90 degree afternoon ? The first time I saw The Rolling Stones in concert was in Philadelphia on September 26th 1981. This was the second official concert in support of the recently released Tattoo You album.

We had gotten up quite early that Saturday morning and my friend and I drove to Cherry Hill, NJ, and got a hotel room, had breakfast and the proceeded over to JFK Stadium, along with the other 100,000 fans going to the show. We all wondered, "is this really the Stones last tour ?"

As is typical at a Stones show, there was loads of police, some on horseback, some walking around and it looked like some of the local Navy sailors were there for added security as well. It took about 15 minutes to get in and once inside the stadium we grabbed some seats as it was all general admission.

The opening act was George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, none of us had ever heard of him. Besides being the sound check, he basically blew us all away with his set. Just think about it, George Thorogood playing at 11 a.m. on a Saturday. Now there is a wake up call !!

Next came Journey. It must be tough to be the band that plays before the Stones, I think Journey found that out that day. Must say I did think the song Wheel In The Sky rocked that day when they played it early afternoon.

When the Stones opened with Under My Thumb, it was like everyone was wondering what they looked like. How’s Mick looking ? Is Keith on anything ? Whats Ronnie doing ? Where is Bill and Charlie ? The stage was massive but their sound was big enough to handle it, by 1981 standards the sound mix was clear all day. As best as I can remember other songs played that day included; Lets Spend The Night Together, Neighbors, Let Me Go, Beast Of Burden, and Time Is On My Side. Outstanding versions of Black Limousine, Honky Talk Woman, Start Me Up, and You Can’t Always Get What You Want were also played. And yes during Jumping Jack Flash, with Keith and Ronnie at the center of the stage-here comes Mick out over the crowd in a cherry picker. Wild stuff for 1981. By the time the played their last song Street Fighting Man, I wouldn’t say the crowd was drained, we were looking for more, but not necessarily that day. In the early 1980's rock and disco were still pushing to see who could gain more market share. This day the Stones proved-They were the market !


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