The Rolling Stones kicked off the last show of their 50th anniversary mini-tour by performing "Get Off of My Cloud," but despite that exclusionary-sounding opening, the show was all about inviting fellow music stars onto their cloud—namely, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, the Black Keys, John Mayer, and Gary Clark Jr.
The two-and-a-half-hour set at Newark's Prudential Arena was aired live as a pay-per-view special via Yahoo! as well as various cable providers (and is also available for re-viewing on demand for anyone who signs up). Produced by Grammys veteran Ken Ehrlich, the well-shot "One More Shot" show asked the musical question: Do we really need another Stones concert immortalized after the scores that have already been put on video or film over five decades?
The answer is, yes, maybe so, if it involves seeing Gaga reenact Merry Clayton's "Gimme Shelter" wail while giving new definition to the term stretch pants.
Once her Lady-sty's participation was announced, it wasn't too hard to guess that she'd guest on the one Stones song ever to feature such a prominent female vocal. (Mary J. Blige tackled the part at a previous stop on the tour.) And if you knew that Gaga's ability to sing in a more soulful style than her dance-oriented music usually allows was not just rumor, her ability to do some belting was not a complete surprise, either. So most of the suspense lay in how she'd dress for the occasion. It turns out she is the rare woman who can pull off neck-to-ankle vertical stripes, and the rarer woman who can strut on towering platform shoes right out of the mid-1970s.
You'll forgive us if we do not afford the same attention to Springsteen's wardrobe or cleavage. What song he would join the Stones for was a source of much mystery among fans of historic rock & roll summit meetings. The choice turned out to be "Tumbling Dice," after Jagger joked, "Some of the guests we'e had have come thousands of miles... Our next guest, he just had to walk here." It was tumbling good fun, as Bruce sang "You got to roll me" with his best frog-in-his-throat upper growl while Mick vamped in response. Near the end, Ronnie Wood leaned over and put his head on Springsteen's shoulder, in a possibly unintentional echo of the famous pose that had Bruce leaning on Clarence Clemons.
The Black Keys showed up to join the Stones for what Jagger described as "this old Bo Diddley number we worked up," "Who Do You Love." Mick said, "I don't think we've ever done this before, in public"—and Mick was wrong, as the Internet rushed to provide video evidence that the Stones had performed it at least once back in 1995... with Bo Diddley! But the Keys proved an entirely viable contemporary substitute, with Dan Auerbach adding a fuzzier tone to the Richards/Wood riffing and Patrick Carney doing some less visible double-drumming with Charlie Watts on the cranky shuffle.
Keith and Ronnie were happy at other times, too, to turn their guitar duets into guitar triplets, or even quadruple six-strings. John Mayer had put in an appearance at the Stones' concert at the same venue two nights earlier, and upstart bluesman Gary Clark Jr. had guested at an earlier show. If there was any question which of these guys would be entrusted to show up and add some blues licks to the pay-per-view, the answer was, happily, both. And all four guitarists—the two regulars and two guests—got in some soloing during a cover of Don Nix's "Goin' Down."
Mick Taylor, Wood's 1969-74 predecessor in the band, came back and made the cameo that he has on most of the other dates on this 50th aniversary swing, on "Midnight Rambler." Or maybe "cameo" isn't quite the right word for a song that stretched to 12 minutes—even longer than the nine-minute version Taylor played on on the live album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! Deeply blonde, still pretty, and slightly pudgy, Taylor provided a reminder that there once was briefly a time when the Stones had a member who did not look like a cartoon character.
And once again, with Taylor joining the fray, every guitarist on stage got some lead licks in, leading you to imagine that maybe it might not even be overcrowded if this Mick were invited to re-join the group full-time while Ronnie stayed in. Would it be too much to ask the Stones to give us that as a 51st anniversary present?
The set list for the show (which will continue to be available to PPV subscribers on demand for the next month):
Get Off of My Cloud
The Last Time
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
Paint It Black
Gimme Shelter (with Lady Gaga)
Going Down (with John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr.)
Who Do You Love? (with the Black Keys)
Doom and Gloom
One More Shot
Honky Tonk Women
Before They Make Me Run
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
Start Me Up
Tumbling Dice (with Bruce Springsteen)
Sympathy for the Devil
You Can't Always Get What You Want (with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street)
Jumpin' Jack Flash
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction