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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rolling Stone Keith Richards turns 69 today, thanks to an indomitable constitution that has survived everything from heroin to a mean coconut tree. His rock ‘n’ roll sartorial flair is intact too: when MrB and I saw the Stones on their 50th anniversary tour at Barclays Center on December 8, I was thrilled to see that Keef was wearing a très WendyB turquoise motorcycle jacket. Here’s a front view of that, along with Mick’s sequin jacket …


Mick in sequins, Keef in turquoise, Charlie Watts wearing his natural coolness. Photo by Wendy Brandes.

… and here’s the back view.


Photo by Wendy Brandes

I missed getting a clear shot of Mick in the long, black, Mongolian lamb jacket he wore at the start of “Sympathy for the Devil.” Same with the ombre sequin tailcoat he wore for the encores. But I did get photos — including this one of Mick singing “Gimme Shelter” with Mary J. Blige — showing that Mick, like his bandmates, has kept his skinny ’60s rock-star physique.


Mary was amazing.

Seriously, his entire body is the size of one of Christina Aguilera’s thighs … one of her 1999 “Genie in a Bottle” thighs, obvs.

A few years ago, I got to shake Mick’s hand at a party and exchange a few words with him about designer Ossie Clark, but I hadn’t seen the Stones live since they played Giants Stadium in 1994. That show was a pretty bad experience, because I loathe Giants Stadium as a concert venue, so I’m glad I got another chance. (Barclays, by the way, is an amazing venue for sound and seating, but the ticket-taking and merchandise-selling departments were woefully understaffed that night.)


The stage at Barclays.

You really have to see Mick in action to believe him. Watch any clips of him dancing in days gone by — whether during the ’60s or in 1985’s gayest video of all time — and trust me when I say that he still dances exactly like that, the entire time he is on stage, at the age of 69. Damn! He still got the moves like Jagger! It’s mind-blowing and inspiring.


Mick, larger than life, at Barclays.

This September, I decided I wanted to have moves like Madonna when I’m 54, but now that I’ve seen the Stones, I’m aiming higher. I want to wear ombre sequins and skinny jeans and dance like a maniac when I’m 69. It pisses me off when people say the Stones and other musicians of their generation should hang it up. Why? They’re having a great time, the all-ages audience is having a great time (my entire subway car was singing “Woo! Woo!” from “Sympathy for the Devil” all the way home)  …


The audience at Barclays Center on Dec. 8, 2012.

… who the fuck is it hurting? If you don’t want to have a great time with us old folks, get off of our cloud. Stay home. If you’re old, you can hang out in the rocking chair I won’t be needing on concert night. If you’re young, you can keep yourself busy reblogging soft-porn gifs and photos of self-harm scars to your Tumblrs. Oh yeah, I see what you kids are doing and I wouldn’t relive those miserable teenage “forever alone!” years for all the money in the world. The good news is you’ll grow out of it. Hang in there!

UPDATED DEC. 20, 2012, TO ADD: Today’s New York Times style section has a story by Alex Williams mocking the appearance of the “retirement-age rock icons” who were kind enough to get off their asses and perform at the 12-12-12 concert to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. It says their aging is “more tragic since they toil in a business built on youthful rebellion, and contrasts so sharply with our shared cultural images of them, frozen in youthful glory.” Apparently, hair dye and sequins are offensive and, as for an unbuttoned shirt, “…when these flesh-baring rockers are men of Viagra-taking age, that’s a visual most people could do without.” Admittedly, it’s interesting to see men persecuted for their appearance and urged to become invisible the way women of a certain age usually are, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I say there’s nothing more rock ‘n’ roll than saying “fuck you” to the expectations of the New York Times and the snarky Twitterati it quotes. I hope Paul McCartney dyes his hair till he’s 105 just to annoy them.

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15 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Keith Richards, and Thanks for the Concert”

  1. stacy says:

    Great photos Wendy! OMG, Keith in turquoise leather! Mick is my new idol.

    • WendyB says:

      You can testify as to how blown away I was by Mick! (And that’s coming from a Beatles fan and you know Beatles fans and Stones fans aren’t supposed to mix.)

  2. K-Line says:

    Oh, how I would have loved to be at this concert! You can see your turquoise style is all the rage.

    • WendyB says:

      I forgot to mention that Mick also wore a different style jacket that might have been turquoise! It read turquoise to me at moments but other times looked green. I wasn’t sure because of the lighting. I’ll have to dig up a photo.

  3. Mary Panjari says:

    They look the business don’t they? Yes fuck off to all the naysayers that want ‘old people’ to act as if life is over. OMG it makes me so cross!

  4. Oh FUCK OFF to the asshats that think they should hang it up. They still rock like no other, and can kick the asses of some younger bands. Plus look at how damn happy they are doing what they do best! Thank you, loved the pics! I so wanted to go, but birthdays birthdays birthdays. Okay I’ve got some of the Jagger swagger down at 53, I can dance like a maniac and wear skinny jeans. I used to be more wiry, and will be again (once training for the zombie apocalypse starts!) As much as I love what he does, don’t put me and Mick in the same room. I think I’ll try for Keith’s sartorial cool by the time I’m his age… got a few years to work on it! XXX PS now I’m craving turquoise and I don’t even look good in it!

  5. Priscilla says:

    Amazing! I love the Rolling Stones. They are one of my favorite bands of all time. The first time I saw them was on their Tattoo You tour in 1980–I was 12, the concert was outdoors (Dallas, the Cotton Bowl), and it was pouring cold rain the whole time, but they played through it all. Legendary. I saw them again in 1989 under drier circumstances–they were still great! I don’t think they should quit unless they stop having fun.

  6. Vix says:

    Insanely jealous! I’m hoping they’ll headline next years’ Glastonbury…than my life will be complete! x

  7. Faux Fuchsia says:

    I endorse everything in this post. Hope you’ve read Keef’s fab autobiography- tis brilliant and he says luff too xxxx

  8. Jealous! Mick is my dance idol. Very nice job on the photos. The first three are frameable.

  9. I’ve always had a thing for skinny English gents. Even when they’re, what, 69. And I love Sir Mick’s game sense of humour that he displays so well on SNL. He *is* a sir, right?!

  10. Love this post – and love Keef! Mr TNMA just saw The Stones in London & I refused to let him get me an extortionately priced ticket, regretting that now. I’ll be going to gigs when I’m 90, so the youngsters better get used to it!

  11. oxinsocks says:

    I wanna see the Stones! Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! (Sound of a temper tantrum in process…) And a double bird to punks who overlook serious artistry because the artists aren’t youthful and perfect. Kiss this! Whoo whoo indeed.

  12. ali says:

    I almost saw them in Shanghai while living there… but SARS got the tour canceled 🙁 Our tickets were pretty sweet. We were devastated.

    Broadway’s Cats, however, did come to Shanghai (braving the the SARS quarantines). Had to stay an extra month. The consequence was, I saw Cats in theaters 10 times. I wanted to be a Cats cat when I grew up. Was in love with Magical Mister Mistoffelees.

    Blame it on Mick, the Diva!

    Keef forever!!!