Rolling Stones Put on a Spectacle in 2016 Desert Trip Set

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Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones perform onstage during Desert Trip at The Empire Polo Club on October 7, 2016 in Indio, California (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip; used with permission)

Billed as the concert of a lifetime, Desert Trip Indio saw 75,000 attendees descend upon the Empire Polo Fields — the site of Coachella and Stagecoach — for the first of three nights of what’s an incomprehensibly mind-blowing classic rock lineup. Bob Dylan was Friday night’s opening act; see our review here.

Walking through the crowd, it was clear with nearly 70 percent sporting their iconic tongue logo, the Rolling Stones were the draw. Wearing a multi-colored button-down that covered a Stones logo shirt, Mick Jagger, as he does, oozed with sexiness that had women screaming like it was 1971. Somehow, the singer, who does not look his 73 years, has aged seamlessly while performing shimmying and sliding with the ease of someone half his age.

With the announcement of their first new studio album in over a decade, Blue & Lonesome, the Stones performed Jimmy Reed’s “Ride ‘Em on Down” for the first time since 1962. Even with the 54-year layoff, the song sounded crisp and fluid and was nestled at home after power anthems “Start Me Up,” “You Got Me Rocking” and “Out of Control.”

Watch the Stones perform “Ride ‘Em on Down”

“We’re not going to make any age jokes, but we’re going to play a song we haven’t played in a long time,” Jagger told the crowd. To the surprise of many, that ended up being “Mixed Emotions” from Steel Wheels, played for the first time since 1990.

If longtime Stones fans were surprised by that, then there’s no doubt, judging by the oohs and ahhs of the crowd, it didn’t compare to their cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” With Paul McCartney looking on, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood slogged through the psychedelic classic.

The Stones may not be the baddest band in the land anymore — despite Jagger and Wood’s efforts — but they still know how to put on a spectacle. Finishing their set with muscular versions of “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” it was easy to tell with Richards’ scorching guitar leading the way, that the band was cooking all night.

Watch the Stones perform “Start Me Up”

By the time the fireworks display erupted during “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” smiles were aplenty, and even as the traffic issues that plagued the event from earlier in the day continued, fans left the dusty venue buzzing about how Neil Young and Paul McCartney could possibly top an epic day one.

Setlist by Ronnie Wood (via the Rolling Stones' Facebook page)

Setlist by Ronnie Wood (via the Rolling Stones’ Facebook page)

Rolling Stones Setlist
Start Me Up
You Got Me Rocking
Out of Control
Ride ‘Em on Down
Mixed Emotions
Wild Horses
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll
Come Together
Tumbling Dice
Honky Tonk Women
Slipping Away
Little T&A
Midnight Rambler
Miss You
Gimme Shelter
Sympathy for the Devil
Brown Sugar
Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Encore
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Watch the Stones perform “Midnight Rambler”

Related: When the Stones finally began their 2019 tour

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Daniel Kohn
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  1. The Saguaro
    #1 The Saguaro 7 October, 2022, 18:24

    IMHO (and others) Neil Young blew the house down on Week 2, especially when the full moon came up in the middle of Harvest Moon. A thrilling sight to be sure.

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  2. Jas
    #2 Jas 8 October, 2022, 16:18

    The only reason I went to this show was The Stones. The worst part was having to listen to Bob Dylan open for them. I can’t stand Dylan’s monotonous drone and it was all I could do to listen to it. Worse than nails on a chalkboard.
    Ugh.

    Compared to other Stones shows and I’ve been to probably close to one hundred, this one was average considering the venue they had to work with and the minimal stage production. Also compared to all their other shows, the people in the Pit were the rudest I’ve ever encountered. I was really looking forward to their next show in Vegas the following week which I knew would be a real Stones show. Unfortunately Mick got laryngitis and the show was cancelled at the last minute. I was devastated.

    Paul McCartney was good , though I’m not really a Beatles fan. Neil Young was also good even though he didn’t play Cinnamon Girl which I really wanted to hear.

    The Who were good too though the last time I saw them in 1982, they were better. Roger Waters was OK too though I’m not a Pink Floyd fan either.

    The other highlight of this program was this huge area they had dedicated to photographs of the bands throughout their careers, and the Stones section was really fabulous.

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