Singer Mick Jagger said the Rolling Stones had rehearsed around 70 songs for a series of 50th anniversary concerts later this year, and guitarist Keith Richards assured fans the veteran British rockers would “deliver”.
The four Stones appeared on the red carpet on Thursday for the world premiere of Crossfire Hurricane, a documentary charting the meteoric rise to fame and fortune following their debut in London in 1962.
Jagger, who is 69, Richards, fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts posed for photographers before speaking to the media on their way into the movie theatre in London’s Leicester Square.
“Rehearsals are going very well, (we've) done about 70 different songs,” Jagger told reporters. “I said, ‘look, we only need to do 30, we don’t need to do 70, but now we are doing 70. I don’t know if we will do them all.”
Richards added of the upcoming gigs in London and New York: “You know, we are looking forward to a great time. See, it’s a two-way thing. It’s to do with all these people and it’s to do with us, we will deliver alright — one love.”
The band, one of the most successful in rock history, is marking its 50th birthday with a greatest hits album, photo book, exhibitions, documentary and gigs.
The Stones will play the O2 Arena in London on November 25 and 29 before crossing the Atlantic to perform at the Prudential Centre, Newark, on December 13 and 15. Jagger has hinted that the band could play more dates in the future.
Tickets to the London dates go on general sale on Friday, although priority customers, including Amex card users and subscribers to the Stones archive mailing list, have been able to by some of them earlier.
Fans have voiced anger at the ticketing system and reports of prices ranging from $152 (Dh558) to as much as $1,520 for a VIP hospitality seat.
At the film premiere, hundreds of fans gathered to catch a glimpse of the band members who signed autographs on their way in.
While clearly enamoured with their musical heroes, some in the crowd were unhappy about the concert ticket prices.
“Too much, against rock and roll ethics if you ask me,” said Valantina Bertezzi, a 29-year-old who had taken the day off work to see the Stones. “(They) should be cheaper and more for the people than ‘American Express People’.”
Crossfire Hurricane, screened as part of the London film festival, is drawn entirely from archive footage and attempts to recreate what it was like to be on stage and backstage amid riotous noise and screams of adulation. Jagger said it looked “like a pretty mad ride”.
Critics praised its portrayal of the Stones in the 1960s and 1970s, when many music critics argue they were at the peak of their powers untainted by commercialism.
“Millions of fans will doubtless indulge these elderly gentleman rebels as they engage in yet another round of lucrative myth-making,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton in a review.
“In other words, Crossfire Hurricane is business as usual from the Stones, and good fun on its own terms. However, anyone expecting buried treasure or fresh insights into ancient rock folklore will get no satisfaction here.”