The Rolling Stones at SoFi Stadium

Larson Sutton on October 22, 2021
The Rolling Stones at SoFi Stadium

photo credit: Steven Rood


During the evening of The Rolling Stones’ second of two nights at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, Mick Jagger casually reeled off a pair of remarkable stats.  He told the tens upon tens of thousands packing the shiny, new multi-tiered colossus that on this exact date, 60 years before, he was on a Dartford train platform reacquainting himself with a schoolmate and fellow blues enthusiast named Keith Richards.  Too, Jagger noted with great appreciation, that tonight’s performance on this autumnal Sunday marked the 49th time the Stones had played in L.A.

Jagger stood on a massive stage erected in SoFi’s end zone; Mick and his mates shadowed by a half-ring of four towering monoliths of video projection.  Charging through 135 minutes of sound and spectacle, their iconic, emotive figures dazzled on this Stones-henge of high-definition; repeatedly affirming the rep these indefatigable cheaters of time and their gold standards of rock music have manifested for over 55 years as band: The Rolling Stones are bigger than life.  And now, especially after the recent passing of drummer Charlie Watts, if the three remaining veteran Stones- Jagger, Richards, and Ron Wood- look far less the London troublemakers that were once regaled and cautioned against as the anti-Beatles, and have replaced some of their hedonistic, pheromone-inducing swagger with more age-and-era-appropriate attire and attitude, the music, and the moves, still make the girls scream, and the boys take notes.

The near-impossible task for Steve Jordan, sitting in Watts’ chair, was made even more conspicuous by the pre-show video tribute underpinned by the founding drummer’s bedrock-steady beat, and by Jagger’s dedication of the show to Watts soon after the “Street Fighting Man” opener.  The Rolling Stones are a different band without Watts, or, to say, with Jordan, a very well-respected, seasoned player and past collaborator in the Stones circle.  While hitting all the signature fills and deftly anchoring the longtime rhythm section of bassist Darryl Jones and keyboardist Chuck Leavell, Jordan’s groove still was his own, driving a bit harder, yet keeping the Stones swinging and smiling.  As for the trinity, Jagger’s voice remains exceptionally vibrant, full, and relentless, provoked and propelled by the telekinetic, artisanal guitar weaving of Richards and Wood.

These two L.A. dates came a few weeks into the revived No Filter tour; fulfilling a U.S. run that began in pre-pandemic 2019.  The setlist honors and defends the group’s proclamation as the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world, peppered with certifiable classics.  Even with the group recently taking a cultural cue, announcing that “Brown Sugar” would no longer be performed, there was still a litany of the Stones’ legacy on the SoFi docket.  And a few surprises (though not the one a joking Jagger suggested: performing Their Satanic Majesties Request in its entirety; answering The Eagles’ full reading of Hotel California the night before at the neighboring Forum).

“All Down The Line” made its tour debut.  “Beast of Burden” came with a pre-emptive warning from Jagger, saying they’d try this one.  And “Wild Horses” won its spot by fan request.  Finally, after the superb penultimate trio of “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and “Gimme Shelter,” after the last notes of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” dissolved into a blitz of stage-flanking fireworks, the multitude of more-than-satisfied couldn’t help but be greedy, hoping sometime soon for a 50th night in L.A.