Mick Jagger speaks Singlish

Mick Jagger speaks Singlish
Mick Jagger (right) and session musician keyboardist Chuck Leavell (left) turn on the heat non-stop in a solid, two-hour show.

Concert review
THE ROLLING STONES - 14 ON FIRE
Marina Bay Sands Grand Ballroom
Last Saturday

Mick Jagger - rock royalty, cultural icon and 70-year-old stage dynamo - is also a Singlish fan it seems.

How else to explain his multiple uses of the colloquial form of the English rocker's native language at The Rolling Stones' gig at Marina Bay Sands?

"Wah lau, your weather damn hot," he quipped halfway through the set. "Just when I thought your weather is hot, your food lagi more hot."

Needless to say, that went down well with both the local and expatriate fans that made up the 5,500-strong audience who had paid between $250 and $700 each and snapped up all the tickets within two hours of them going on sale last month.

Later on, he would tease his bandmates while introducing the musicians on stage.

One of the band's backing vocalists, Lisa Fischer, was "stylo milo", while guitarist Ronnie Wood, 66, was "blur like sotong".

But perhaps it is not surprising, coming from a veteran who is still regarded as one of rock's most charismatic frontmen.

Yes, the man whose defining stage moves have inspired a 2011 hit song (Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger) has boundless energy at age 70, whether it is sprinting across the stage runway that extended into the audience or gyrating his lithe body throughout the whole show.

The five decades of gigging experience have obviously turned the band into a well-oiled machine onstage. Kicking off half-hour after the stipulated 8pm start time, they launched into blues rocker Jumpin' Jack Flash, first released in 1968.

It is quite a wonder to see the band, whose members are in their 60s and 70s, turn on the heat non-stop in a solid, two-hour show sans intermissions.

The 18-song setlist was culled from all phases of the band's vast discography, from the rollicking anthem It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It) (1974) to the sombre strains of minor key masterpiece Paint It Black (1966).

While not as agile as Jagger, lead guitarist Keith Richards, 70, is still the epitome of stage cool, with guitar slung so low it almost knocked his knees.

"It's great to be back here. It's great to be anywhere, really," he ribs. He would go on to take over lead vocals for Slipping Away (1989) and Before They Make Me Run (1978).

Wood was a mix of both Jagger's flash and Richards' style, and was probably the only rocker who could get away with smoking a cigarette in a non-smoking, indoors venue.

Charlie Watts, the oldest of the lot at 72, looked dignified behind his drum kit as he anchored the rest with his steady beats and collected playing.

The guest appearance of fan favourite former guitarist Mick Taylor, 65, who played in the band from 1969 to 1974, on several songs, including Midnight Rambler (1969), was a treat as the man laid down some solid chops on his instrument.

The band were bolstered by their regular cast of session musicians - Fischer, fellow backing singer Bernard Fowler, bass player Darryl Jones, keyboardist Chuck Leavell and saxophone players Bobby Keys and Tim Ries.

Home-grown choral group The Singapore Youth Choir Ensemble Singers joined the band on the 1969 tune, You Can't Always Get What You Want.

In their third outing in Singapore, Jagger reminded the audience that their first show here in 1965 at the Singapore Badminton Hall was their first-ever gig in Asia. They also performed two nights at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2003.

While there were plenty of middle-aged fans who would have been in their teens when the band first rose to prominence in the 1960s, there was also a good mix of fans in their 40s and below, including a smattering of teenagers.

This was no passive crowd either, as many got up from their seats and surged forward to get closer to the stage the moment the band appeared.

Many stood on their chairs, dancing, waving, singing along and whipping out their phones to snap pictures whenever Jagger or the rest moved closer to the edge of the stage.

While they sang along to the chorus of signature tunes such as Gimme Shelter (1969) and Sympathy For The Devil (1968), their enthusiasm peaked in the encore - and one of rock's most recognisable tunes - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965).

"Singapore, we sayang!" Jagger exclaimed in the middle of Miss You, the opening track off 1978 album Some Girls.

Yes, Mick, Singapore sayang you too.

dinohadi@sph.com.sg


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