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Stones roll out their classics


They say death and taxes are the only assured things in life, but a tour by the Rolling Stones would have to rank a close third.

The legendary ageless wonders rolled into the Delta Center Tuesday night and delivered nearly 2 1/2 hours of songs — almost all rock classics — before a packed house of all ages.

Dressed mostly in black, including a black headband, Keith Richards ran out to the middle of the stage first and launched into "Start Me Up," a song fans worldwide can recognize after just the first three notes.

Mick Jagger was in fine vocal form throughout the evening and had the crowd on its feet for "You Got Me Rockin'," a fantastic rendition of "She's So Cold" and "Tumbling Dice."

The 62-year-old Jagger with his lanky 22-year-old body made full use of the large bilevel stage, playing to the audience by running from one end to the other, swiveling his hips and making his trademark rooster moves.

The always steady Charlie Watts let his solid drumming do his talking for him, while Ron Wood, sober now for many months, looked the best he has in years, jumping around the stage and ripping through guitar solos.

In fact, despite the obvious aging of each member of the band, they all moved around just like they did 30 years ago.

Richards — who grinned through his heavily wrinkled face all evening long — took over the mike for two songs, and Jagger even played rhythm guitar on a few numbers. The group also admirably went back to its blues roots by covering Ray Charles' "Night Time is the Right Time."

The Stones played a couple of tracks from their new CD, "A Bigger Bang," including "Rough Justice," which was the best-sounding of the new material. But it was the Rolling Stones' classics, many of which could be ranked in the top 100 songs in rock 'n' roll history, that fans paid the big bucks to see.

And the boys didn't disappoint.

An up-tempo version of "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and the slow "Wild Horses" were early crowd pleasures. The band, backed by an occasional four-piece horn and sax section, three backup singers, a pianist and bass player Daryl Jones, put the show into overdrive when part of the mammoth stage moved like a giant surfboard from one end of the Delta Center to the other. Jagger and company grooved through "Miss You," "Honky Tonk Woman" and 1965's "Get Off Of My Cloud," which sounded just as good 40 years later.

From there the hits and the momentum kept growing as each song became the next big highlight. Jagger's voice was prime for "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Brown Sugar," and an animated Richards rocked hard on "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

The encore included "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and the quintessential Stones' song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."