The Rolling Stones, Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA- 10/6
Scott Stadium, a mere stones throw from the Thomas Jefferson-planned University of Virginia campus, seemed an unlikely stop for the Rolling Stones on their Bigger Bang U.S. tour. However, bringing their rock and roll show to Charlottesville reinforced the Jeffersonian idea of community at the heart of the original UVA campus plan. Students, parents, children and fans alike congregated within the 61,500 person stadium to see the Rolling Stones on a rainy Thursday night.
Trey Anastasio and his 70-Volt Parade kicked off the evening’s festivities at 7 p.m. sharp to a nearly empty stadium. Anastasio, no stranger to large crowds of adoring fans, appeared to be humbled by both the magnitude of opening for the Rolling Stones and the vast empty spaces between sporadically placed concert-goers as he opened his set. Trey’s voice rang out across the filling stadium like a bell on “Come as Melody,” and his clearly defined role as band leader was evident as he guided The Parade through the song, dancing and seemingly enjoying himself. A mid-set “I am the Walrus” catered to those in the crowd asking each other who the red-headed guitarist in front of them was. A succinct “46 Days” proved a treat for those who knew Anastasio’s history, and could tell one in great detail what his musical career entailed before this night. Anastasio closed his 35 minute set in front of an engaged crowd with a rollicking “Shine,” a tune which has grown with “The Parade” into a feel-good standard. The song is enhanced by Trey’s intricate guitar work and powerful backup vocals from Jennifer Hartswick and Christina Dufree.
The Rolling Stones took the massive stage next in a storm of fireworks, lights, and sequined costumes opening with an appropriate “Start Me Up.” The song got the crowd, ranging in age from infant to eighty, on their feet and ready for a night of excitement while Keith Richards crouched to his knees wailing on his guitar as if it was the first show he had ever played. The first set featured an army of Stones standards, introducing only one song off Bigger Bang- “Rough Justice.” An acoustic and apposite “Sweet Virginia” invited crowd participation and allowed the largely Virginia based audience to ponder the fact that the Rolling Stones were playing to them in their own backyard.
Mick Jagger announced from the stage that the Stones would take a short break due to “technical problems” after “Nighttime is the Right Time,” a Ray Charles tune spiced up by a steamy duet between Jagger and backup singer Lisa Fisher. After nearly an hour long break, in which the first twenty rows were evacuated, dogs scoured the floor of the stadium, and security was markedly tightened, the Rolling Stones returned for a second set.
Not ones to miss a beat, the Stones came back to the stage with Jagger strutting around in running shoes leaving the crowd wondering whether or not he was 62 or 22. The rain started to come steadily down in the midst of the second set highlight “Sympathy for the Devil” and fueled the energy both onstage and off. Ron Wood, clad in a CBGB shirt, took the lead where necessary, and laid off when it was appropriate, while a glowing Charlie Watts held strong behind the drum kit, looking regally out towards the crowd. The show closed with a “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”-“Satisfaction” grand finale, and the stadium slowly emptied with damp bleary-eyed fans filing out wondering if what they had just witnessed was a dream or a big-budget reality.