If you thought an impending Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds and flooding rains would keep the world’s greatest rock 'n' roll band away from their fans in Miami, you don’t know the Rolling Stones.
Mick Jagger was born
in a crossfire hurricane. In fact, those were his first words when the Stones hit the stage almost an hour late Friday for the final night of the North American leg of the No Filter Tour at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.
Jagger sang “Jumping Jack Flash” to a ravenous and drenched crowd that had delayed stockpiling food and nailing up storm shutters, only to be soaked by a downpour just before the show began.
Guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood traded licks on “It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)” and “Tumbling Dice” before Jagger paused to apologize to the crowd for “screwing up” everyone’s weekend plans.
The tour was originally scheduled to kick off in Miami April 20 but had to be postponed to August 31 because Jagger needed heart surgery. A few days ago, the show was moved a second time — from Saturday to Friday night — because of the approaching Hurricane Dorian.
After receiving collective forgiveness from an audience that was elated to see them under any circumstances, the Stones rolled into “I’m Out of Control” and “Under My Thumb.”
Wood ripped out an impressive guitar solo on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” while Jagger briefly took up guitar before trading it in for some laps around the stage.
The highlight of the evening came when Jagger, Richards, Wood, and Charlie Watts took to the mini-stage at the end of a catwalk stretching halfway across the field for “Sweet Virginia” and “Dead Flowers.”
With infinite charisma and a sly smile, Wood worked the crowd, while Watts, looking shy and slightly detached, perched behind his minimalistic drum set.
Then, in a quintessential example of the raw genius that defined the early Stones, Jagger and Richards belted out the soulful, bluesy lyrics of the two early classics that helped seal their reputation as the most enchanting and enduring partnership in rock.
Back at the main stage, Jagger donned black sequin tails and a black hat for an impassioned version of “Sympathy for the Devil” and then “Honky Tonk Women” before again apologizing for being late, joking he got “stuck in Mar-a-Lago traffic.’
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Richards took over lead vocals on “You Got the Silver” and “Before They Make Me Run,” the former of which began with Richards and Wood harmonizing on acoustic guitars.
Jagger shuffled and shimmied to “Miss You” while briefly playing guitar before treating the crowd to booty-shaking hip action accompanied by some fat beats from bassist Darryl Jones.
“Paint It Black” featured a brief but powerful intro by Richards, followed by “Midnight Rambler” with Jagger on harmonica, riling up the crowd around the small stage and then creeping and slithering back down the catwalk.
The band wrapped with an explosive version of “Start Me Up,” during which Wood kicked and lunged across the stage and joked around with an amused Richards. Jagger told the crowd the show was their 25th in Miami, the first one being 54 years ago.
“We saved the best for last,” Jagger said as they broke into “Brown Sugar,” the final song of the regular set and which featured a riveting sax solo by Karl Denson.
Then, falling somewhere in the category of "you can’t make this stuff up," the preshow downpour returned precisely during the opening notes of the first encore song, “Gimme Shelter.”
Jagger and the extraordinarily talented and electrifying back-up singer Sasha Allen danced together down the catwalk to the mini-stage, where Jagger raised his arms to the sky and let the rain wash over him.
The pair nailed the aching, emotional intensity of the song before Jagger escorted Allen on the rain-soaked runway back to the main stage.
The showers tapered off during the second encore song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which saw every bandmate, even Watts, laughing, playing, and appearing to have the time of their lives.
Fireworks shot up above the massive screens just as the band walked offstage. Almost immediately, the sky opened up again, the rain blowing in sheets across the field and parking lot, flooding the ground under several inches of water and making it difficult to walk.
No one complained.