By Daniel Paiz
The Rolling Stones have had one of the longest careers of any band imaginable. Their first show in Denver dates back to 1965, and it almost sounded like they planned to visit again at the end of this show. It was a very enjoyable night, and one that should also signal to Colorado music fans that Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats are ready to have their own impressive run. Their set certainly set the stage for Mick (Jagger), Keith (Richards) and the rest of the band, who had quite the interaction with the crowd in Denver on Saturday night (August 11, 2019).
Roll out the Stones
The “Uncle Drew” of rock bands came out energetically grinning, clearly enjoying their craft after all these years. It goes without saying that the original crew is a bit past their prime. However, they work on making up for that with their enthusiasm. Despite how into the songs Mick Jagger and Keith Richards get, their performance still felt off.
Everything they play sounds a little too polished and a little too calculated. Perhaps that’s the deal after half a century of performing. But, it also feels like something behind the curtain is being done when absolutely no one is allowed into the seating bowl during sound check. Perhaps those running the tour just want a short jam session so that the vaunted background touring band members of Karl Denson (saxophone), Sasha Allen (background vocals), and Bernard Fowler (backing vocals, percussion) among several others gel well together with the main four Stones.
This isn’t said to pick on the Stones for having a few industry tricks up their sleeves. It’s stated to simply point out that their performance, while impressive, felt too clean for a group that is supposed to be a true rock and roll band. The big songs like “Paint It Black” and “Satisfaction” had a better production value than did popular tracks. “Gimme Shelter” was more impressive due to Sasha Allen’s range and genuine interaction with Jagger than it was because of his singing. Karl Denson rocked his spots on the sax while Chuck Leavell and Matt Clifford owned their own musical moments. It just felt a little too clean. With the openers, things were a bit more rock and roll.
Nathaniel Rateliff and company set the stage
“I Need Never Get Old” and “S.O.B” were just two of the jams that ignited the historic night skies at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, because Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats owned their set. It’s not everyday a band gets to open for another band that has been around over 50 years, and that wasn’t lost on Rateliff. It was also an extra special set because it was in Denver, a place where Rateliff and company formed, grew, and developed their sound.
Rateliff danced around the front of the stage, taking in the moment and making the half-full stadium bounce and sway to their tunes. The chemistry between band and crowd was their fairly early, and these openers set up the Stones as best they could. Their set was only around 45 minutes, but that came off as just right as fans held their energy for the headliners. The Stones rolled out about 10 minutes later and the rest is history for the nearly 60,000 fans who sang along.