The Rolling Stones Storm Houston in Only Texas Date
UK legends haven’t lost a step after frontman’s heart surgery
By Doug Freeman,
11:57AM, Mon. Jul. 29, 2019
The Rolling Stones first tackled Texas 55 years ago with a two-night stand in San Antonio on their inaugural American venture. A day after his 76th birthday, Mick Jagger led the UK foursome back into the Lone Star State without having lost an ounce of charisma or energy despite the date’s postponement from April for the singer’s heart surgery.
The sold-out NRG Stadium in Houston marked the Stones only stop in Texas during the No Filter tour, which Jagger acknowledged in recruiting applause from fans trekking from Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Lubbock.
“I only know five cities in Texas,” he shrugged, thanking the crowd for their patience with rescheduling.
To whatever extent the ever-lithe frontman may have been slowed by his surgery, it wasn’t apparent Saturday night as the legendary foursome delivered a workman-like, two-hour, 19-song set. Opening with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” and “Tumbling Dice,” Jagger strutted the extended catwalk in a sequined jacket while the band warmed. Keith Richards appeared particularly winded from the outset, only really ripping into his guitar after stepping up mid-set to sing “Before They Make Me Run” and lead “Miss You.”
Ronnie Wood, on the other hand, provided the backing glee and no one seemed to be having more fun onstage, while Charlie Watts remained the unflappable, stoic hand of time behind the kit.
“Out of Control” burned as Jagger tore into the harmonica, but the fan-voted request of “Heartbreaker” proved a hot mess, highlighting the frequently muddled sound in the stadium as it echoed back from the packed rafters. A two-song acoustic reprieve faired better, the band marching to the second stage in the crowd like the four horseman to deliver “Sweet Virginia” and “Dead Flowers,” the latter slathered thick with its co-writer’s affected drawl.
Likewise, “Sympathy for the Devil” and a blistering “Honky Tonk Women” reset the band before Richards took center stage for his double shot spotlight. Most fans took the interlude as an excuse to take a break themselves, but the Day-Glo disco blast of “Miss You” quickly called them back to their seats.
Afterward, “Midnight Rambler” punched a trademark highlight of the evening. The 1969 blues broiler from Let It Bleed wound into an extended jam, even dipping into Robert Johnson’s “Hellhound on My Trail.” That set up the end-run blowout of “Paint It Black,” “Start Me Up,” and “Brown Sugar,” with the closer finally showcasing Karl Denson’s roaring sax and unleashing Bernard Fowler and Sasha Allen’s backing vocals.
Allen also received her close-up on encore opener “Gimme Shelter,” belting out the iconic Merry Clayton part as she and Jagger went toe-to-toe at the lip of the stage. Closing with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” the Rolling Stones proved themselves still an unstoppable force more than half a century after first storming the USA.
NRG Stadium set-list, 7.27.19“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” “Let's Spend The Night Together” “Tumbling Dice” “Out of Control” “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” “Sweet Virginia” “Dead Flowers” “Sympathy for the Devil” “Honky Tonk Women” “Slipping Away” “Before They Make Me Run” “Miss You” “Midnight Rambler” “Paint It Black” “Start Me Up” “Brown Sugar” Encore “Gimme Shelter” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”