It’s been a pretty big year for classic rock fans when it comes to anniversaries. In this edition of our Holiday Gift Guide, we take a look at two that capture some momentous musical moments from 2013.
2013 saw the Rolling Stones hit the road for their 50 Years and Counting tour, celebrating the band’s anniversary. The Queen and I had the chance to see them in Toronto and, honestly, it was perhaps my favoueite performance I’d ever witnessed by the band (which have ranged from stadium shows to a 1000 person club gig). The set list was solid, having guest Mick Taylor for three songs was a treat, and the band were simplyplaying in fine form. With Ronnie Wood sober, he was handling more of the lead guitar parts again, while Keith Richards showed why he’s one of the best rhythm players in the history of rock and roll. At 71, Charlie Watts kept the show going without tiring, while Mick Jagger proved once again that, even as he was about to turn 70 years old, he is simply the best front man in rock and roll.
You can see what I’m talking about in the new Blu-ray/DVD/CD Sweet Summer Sun, which captures the band before more than 100,000 fans at London’s Hyde Park, where the band had last performed some 40 years earlier. At this point, the Stones were even more finely tuned, and had the massive crowd in the palm of their hand. Who would have thought songs such as Start Me Up, Midnight Rambler, and You Got The Silver would be played with such life and energy and sincerity so many years later. The Rolling Stones are one of rock’s greatest stories, one that still doesn’t seem to be winding down.
2012 would have also marked the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia’s 70th birthday. I never had the chance to see Jerry live, as I wasn’t quite the Dead fan I am today back when they were still touring. In the past ten years, by love and admiration for the band has increased, and I thought it was very cool that Bob Weird, the band’s rhythmn guitarist organized a small show at his own TRI Studio to celebrate Jerry’s b-day. Among the guests were surviving members of the Grateful Dead (Phil Lesh, Donna Godchaux, and Weir), along with members of Vampire Weekend, the Hold Steady and Phish.
Directed by Justin Kreutzmann (former Dead drummer Bill’s son), the film Move Me Brightly is both a documentary on Garcia and a live concert celebration, as musicians honour and pay homage to the king of all hippies. If you grew up on the Dead, or have just discovered them in the last few years, or if you know someone who is a certifiable Deadhead, they’re sure to dig Move Me Brightly.