By the time the Rolling Stones took the stage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Monday night, there was little doubt that the legendary British rockers would launch right into “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” which opens with Mick Jagger singing about a “crossfire hurricane.” The band’s 75-year-old front man had already tipped his hand to that on Twitter over the weekend, when the Stones hunkered down, waited for Barry to pass, then went on with the hastily rescheduled show a day after originally planned.
It had been the second such delay of the band’s long-awaited return to the city, 25 years after their last local show. The first, of course, came after Quint Davis’ plan to mark the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 50th year with its biggest set ever ended with news that Jagger needed a new heart valve. Aging’s tough, both for music festivals and for musicians who’ve been at it this long. Which made the concert that finally happened all the sweeter.
Still limber and energetic even with a surgically repaired ticker, Jagger pranced and shimmied around the huge stage for nearly two hours. Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts, looked like they were having a fine time playing together after all these years.
The hurricane reference wasn’t the only shout-out to locals. Jagger also joked about the infamous Saints’ no-call, noted that the Stones may be the only band to have had an indoor concert rained out, and used “lagniappe” correctly in a sentence as he introduced the New Orleans-set “Brown Sugar.”
Like the rest of us, some of the band’s famous lyrics showed their age. “Under my Thumb,” included in Monday’s set list courtesy of an online fan vote, would never pass today’s #MeToo test, and Jagger seemed to fudge a few of the offending phrases.
None of that much mattered to fans who surrendered en masse to the collective nostalgia. It took a while, but there was plenty of satisfaction to go around.