Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



Bent Nights
The Rolling Stones: Jan. 22, United Center
by Vern Hester

This article shared 1446 times since Wed Feb 12, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Jan. 22, 2003 is the day I chucked cynicism and embraced faith. The final Chicago date of the Rolling Stones' '40 Licks' tour even justified 'The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World' tag without sounding smug. After all, it's not bragging if you can do it.

But that 'Greatest Band' label isn't mere hype, because it cuts to the heart of what the music is. Rock is a purely spontaneous art form that impacts its time, thus how it ages defines its relevance; whether hearing Carole King's Tapestry makes you feel the same in 2003 as it did in 1971. Rock, being a youth-created medium, gets stickier with super groups like the Stones. On the audience's part there's a need for nostalgia (the success of 'Beatlmania' is a perfect example; a sound-a-like concert by Beatle look-a-likes, it ran for years as theater) and spontaneous surprise. More than anything, 40 years down the line do these super groups make you feel like you used to? And then some?

But being the 'Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World' has given the Stones a crushing burden. Stuck with competing with their prime, every new album automatically gets met with cynical scrutiny. Whether 1997's Bridges to Babylon or 1983's Undercover are great is beside the point. The point is, those albums aren't Beggar's Banquet, Sticky Fingers, or Some Girls. For the Stones and particularly Mick Jagger, live onstage is the last arena where they can prove their relevance. Which was why for me, a jaded fan for decades, after seeing them three tours before (1978, 1981, 1997), the 'Licks' tour was an evening of redemption.

A 'Greatest Hits' show without frills, it got unpredictable on the second song. 'You Got Me Rocking,' a generic raver from the limp Voodoo Lounge, got a jolt of acidic bite through Jagger's phrasing. 'I was a hooker, loosin' er looks ...' he snapped like a wet towel cracking across a bare ass. A pile-driving 'Satisfaction' that was far nastier than the original, Mick wagging/pointing his finger preaching 'Neighbors,' Keith Richards' near-operatic 'Thru and Thru.'

Gimme Shelter' was as un-nervingly furious as any version that I'd ever heard, with Mick trading vocals with Lisa Fisher. Vocally it was the evening's highlight. The whole show was three hours of high-ball rockers ('Thru and Thru' and 'Waiting on a Friend' were the only exceptions); 'If You Can't Rock Me,' 'Whip Comes Down,' 'Happy,' 'Brown Sugar,' 'Start Me Up,' Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone.'

But 'Sympathy for the Devil' topped them all. 'Sympathy' has so much weird baggage attached to it (released in 1968 during the civil-rights riots/Vietnam conflict, it made its mark during the druggy, messy catastrophe known as Altamont), that it conjures up an aroma of sheer black dread. In a fedora with digital flames flashed on a screen, Mick conveyed that dread as well as the song's irony. 'Pleased to meet you ... won't you guess my name?,' he pleaded, flinging his hands out like he was casting a spell.

'Sympathy' is still creepy, but now in 2003 it's even more compelling. Compelling because after 9-11, Desert Storm, and Columbine, we know for a fact that evil, huge catastrophic evil, is not only possible but routine in our day and age.

But Mick is hardly the devil, what he is is hard to pin down. Not merely an entertainer, he's more a blur of motion—unchoreographed, wholly spontaneous, always able to push the impact of a song with an unexpected gesture. Playing the goofball one moment on 'Monkey Man,' then prowling the stage the next on 'Street Fighting Man,' he's full of drive and weird life. Sashaying back and forth, taking teeny cat steps about, or jabbing that finger while he slices across the stage, the man aims every move to the back of the house. You can say what you want about his age (60), but there's no one like him on stage, never will be. Odder still, he's uncompromisingly sexy. From this tour, even now it's easy to see how he ushered in androgyny in rock and redefined concepts of gender and role playing.

The rest of the band had the look of a bunch of high school boys running wild without a care in the world. Richards, who was remarkably agile, ended at least eight songs with a knee slide, and though his face is gone, he still plays with a searing bite. Ron Wood was just as goofy—jumping up and down like a cheerleader, then striking guitar-god poses. And behind it all sat Charlie Watts, casually playing with a smile on his face like he was at a picnic.

'The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World?' I shit you not.

This article shared 1446 times since Wed Feb 12, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

MUSIC Aimee Mann to perform April 29-30 at Old Town School of Folk Music 2022-01-19
- Musician Aimee Mann is slated to perform April 29-30 at Old Town School of Folk Music's Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. After several albums with 'Til Tuesday (with songs like "Voices ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music festivals, Murray Bartlett, Reese Witherspoon, author David Sedaris 2022-01-16
- Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival revealed the lineup for this year's festival, taking place June 16-19 on the Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, Tennessee, a press release noted. Highlights will include performances by Tool, J. Cole, Stevie ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theatre announces 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings 2022-01-14
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL—Black Ensemble Theater's Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces its 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings. The 2022 Season includes four World Premiere musicals showcasing the power ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Mary Rose' running through Feb. 12 2022-01-10
- Black Button Eyes (BBE) Productions is concluding its 2021-22 season with the world-premiere musical Mary Rose, featuring book and lyrics by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, music and lyrics by Jeff Bouthiette, direction by Ed Rutherford ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Non-binary skater, Cardi B, David Bowie, 'West Hollywood' series 2022-01-09
- U.S. figure skating champion Timothy LeDuc is hoping to make history as the first out non-binary Winter Olympian in Beijing, noted. The 31-year-old Iowa native and their skating partner, Ashley Cain-Gribble, already have a gold ...

Gay News

THEATER Trans performer Sis is doin' fine in 'Oklahoma!' 2022-01-05
- This isn't your typical grandma's Oklahoma! The very first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943 and continues to captivate audiences today. The dialogue remains the same, but updated casting choices have ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Winnie the Pooh' running March 15-June 12 2022-01-05
- After its run in New York City, Jonathan Rockefeller's Disney's Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation will arrive in Chicago on March 15 and will run through June 12 at the Mercury Theatre Chicago, ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Bachelor' parody musical to start Jan. 13 2022-01-03
- Bachelor: The Unauthorized Parody Musical will run Jan. 13-Feb. 13 at Apollo Theater Chicago, 2550 N. Lincoln Ave. With songs like "Sob Story," "Two-On-One Tango" and "The Date Card is a Riddle," this parody has romance, ...

Gay News

Local composer finds inspiration in a queer love story 2021-12-29
- Two melodic soprano voices echoed through the packed theater. Each note, pitch and crescendo was composed to tell a story of queer love overcoming injustice. Ana Miranda and Michelle Ford Knott, dressed in black, faced the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ The film 'Licorice Pizza,' Aaron Sorkin, WNBA player, Mariah Carey 2021-12-26
- Alana Haim, who stars in the film Licorice Pizza (now out in theaters), talked with about how the movie incorporates queer representation by including unsung queer political figure Joel Wachs. "Joel Wachs was such an ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' judges, 'Nash Bridges,' Dolly Parton, J.K. Rowling, Britney 2021-12-19
- The guest judges for the 14th season of RuPaul's Drag Race have been revealed, according to Lizzo, Alicia Keys, Taraji P. Henson, Andra Day, Loni Love, Christine Chiu, Ava Max, Nicole Byer, Ts Madison, Alec ...

Gay News

MOVIES/MUSIC Director Julia Nash keeps legacy of gay deceased father alive with Wax Trax! film 2021-12-17
- Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records is a documentary telling the story of two gay men who created a music empire in the '80s. Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher were a couple who made ...

Gay News

MUSIC Out singer VINCINT plans a 'Getaway' 2021-12-17
- Out and proud singer Vincint Cannady (aka VINCINT) continues to change the game in the world of pop music. He got his start from performing in gospel groups before becoming a finalist in the singing competition ...

Gay News

Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw to headline 2022 Smokeout 2021-12-13
- Windy City Smokeout announced the headline music acts for its 2022 outdoor country music and BBQ festival. They include Grammy winners Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert, ACM Award winner Sam Hunt; and 12 time Grammy winner ...

Gay News

Photography giant Annie Leibovitz talks 'Wonderland' at Chicago Humanities Festival 2021-12-13
- In its classic style of spotlighting creative humans, the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) hosted "Ellen Stone Belic Presents: In Her Infinite Wisdom Annie Leibovitz: Wonderland" on Dec. 7 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.