Preview: The Rolling Stones, Sheffield Don Valley Arena, August 27
By Stephen Lewis
To slightly misquote a famous old clich: you can't keep an old man down.
If anyone was living proof of this, it has to be The Rolling Stones - a quartet of increasingly geriatric old rockers who have refused to let life get the upper hand.
Not laryngitis (Mick Jagger), being treated for throat cancer (Charlie Watts), or even having surgery to relieve a blood clot and swelling on the brain (Keith Richards) has been able to dim these old geezers' lust for life.
The British leg of the Euopean leg of their A Bigger Bang world tour kicked off at Twickenham Stadium last weekend. Opening the gig with Jumpin' Jack Flash, 63-year-old Jagger apparently showed no signs of the laryngitis that forced the band to cancel two concerts in Spain recently. He "strutted the stage with his trademark swagger," according to one critic.
Let's hope they can keep that swagger going through next weekend.
On Friday the band play Hampden Park in Glasgow, before their eagerly-awaited performance at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium on Sunday next week.
That they've made it this far on their tour at all is testament to The Stones' true grit. Drummer Watts had beaten his throat cancer by the start of last year - early enough to take part in later recording sessions for the A Bigger Bang album.
But the European leg of the tour was delayed for more than a month after guitarist Richards underwent surgery in New Zealand for head injuries sustained by apparently falling out of a tree.
Despite everything, tour director Michael Cohl claims A Bigger Bang is on course to be The Stones' "greatest tour yet".
"This band is redefining the concert experience," he said.
"There is nothing even comparable to the thrill of being on stage with the Rolling Stones and seeing a stadium show from the band's perspective."
You'd expect him to say that: but this time there may be some truth to the hype.
The world tour kicked off in Boston, USA, last August. It has taken in Brazil's Copacabana Beach, where 1.5 million fans enjoyed one of the biggest gigs the worlds has ever seen, and even the Chinese capital, Beijing - the first time The Stones have played in that country.
Throughout the tour, The Stones have been supported by some of the hottest names in the music biz: Starsailor, Simple Minds, Kasabian and, in Twickenham and next Friday in Glasgow, the Charlatans.
For their Sheffield gig, they will be supported by Paolo Nutini. Despite his name (due to his Italian dad) Paolo is a Glaswegian, and both his debut single Last Request and debut album These Streets have been flying high in the charts.
He supported The Stones in July at the Ernst-Happel Stadium in Vienna, so Sheffield will be his second time sharing the stage with the rock greats.
"This is a really exciting time for me," he said. "The band's support for me has been overwhelming and I am truly honoured to be asked to support again."
The Rolling Stones, Sheffield Don Valley Arena, Sunday, August 27. Gates open 4.30pm. Some tickets still available, priced 90 and 150 with ten per cent booking fee, from the Hallam FM Arena box office on 0114 256 56 56.