Rolling Stones rock small LA club ahead of tour
LOS ANGELES (AP) — For one night only, the Rolling Stones were an up-and-coming band again.
The legendary group rocked a small club in Los Angeles on Saturday night for a minuscule crowd compared to the thousands set to see them launch their "50 and Counting" anniversary tour a week later on May 3 at the Staples Center.
The band kicked off Saturday's hush-hush 90-minute concert at the Echoplex in the hip Echo Park neighborhood with "You Got Me Rocking" before catapulting into a mix of new and old material, as well as their bluesy covers of classics from Otis Redding ("That's How Strong My Love Is"), Chuck Berry ("Little Queenie") and The Temptations ("Just My Imagination").
"Welcome to Echo Park, a neighborhood that's always coming up — and I'm glad you're here to welcome an up-and-coming band," lead singer Mick Jagger joked after the second song of the evening, "Respectable."
Despite clocking in several decades as a band, Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood showed no signs of slowing down Saturday.
Jagger, who promptly ditched a black-and-white track jacket emblazoned with the band's logo after the first few songs, worked the crowd into a sing-a-long frenzy with "Miss You," complete with a harmonica solo from the strutting frontman.
Tickets to the Echoplex concert were sold earlier in the day for $20 each — a fraction of what tickets to the tour cost.
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the El Rey Theatre across town earlier Saturday for a chance to attend the spontaneous show. Buyers were limited to one ticket, and they were required to pay with cash, show a government-issued ID, wear a wristband with their name on it and be photographed. Their names were verified at the venue, which has a capacity of about 700.
This Saturday, April 27, 2013 photo provided by The Rolling Stones shows the group performing during a surprise gig at the Echoplex in Los Angeles. The legendary group rocked a small club in Los Angeles on Saturday night for a minuscule crowd compared to the thousands set to see them launch their "50 and Counting" anniversary tour a week later on May 3 at the Staples Center. (AP Photo/The Rolling Stones, Luis Soto)
Cameras and smartphones weren't allowed inside the Echoplex, which usually plays host to hipster bands and mash-up dance parties. The lack of personal recording devices made the Stones' performance feel even more exclusive and old school, freeing concertgoers' hands of the gizmos that have become commonplace at concerts nowadays, and further bonding the crowd, many of whom built up camaraderie during the confusing ticket lottery earlier in the day.