Today marks the first brand new release from The Rolling Stones. You heard that right, in 2023, 18 years after 2005’s A Bigger Bang, The Rolling Stones are back! However, the question remains, what does an 80-year-old Mick jagger have to prove to the world? They say rock and roll is a young man’s game, and with the recent passings of Jimmy Buffett and Gary Wright, is it even worth being a rock star at that age? The answer is a confuddled one. On one hand, new audiences can experience the artists they fell in love with, though on the other, life on the road takes its toll on the band in their advancing age.
Let’s start with the Rolling Stones, the band just keeps on rolling. The group put out a new single titled, “Angry”. Though ironically there is not much to complain about, the track is good. It sounds like vintage Stones with more modern production techniques added. However, the Stones are “vintage”. Mick Jagger celebrated his 80th birthday recently, Ronnie Wood, 76, married a woman 40 years his senior. Keith Richards, ever the embodiment of a living skeleton, will likely outlive all of us.
Though at their age, why continue to tour and record? Simply because they love to do so. Even though the new record is due out in October, the band has 11 more new songs to record. They continue to play for old fans, as well as legions of new ones, as represented by their use of up-and-coming actress Sydney Sweeny in the music video for the new song.
Recent bands to hit the septuagenarian age and still play great live shows include Aerosmith. The band just kicked off its Peace Out “Farewell” tour in Philadelphia. The band from online video footage available, appears to be in top form. Steven Tyler, at 75, is seen zipping around the stage as though he were a kid again.
Other oldies acts including Alice Cooper, Santana and Sting appear to be in great physical shape for playing live. Their shows may not be as long anymore, but they found a way to keep on rocking into their twilight years. Sting even found a way to connect to modern audiences through collaborating with rapper Shaggy. The duo has an upcoming music festival primed for launch in the Philadelphia area soon.
Despite the joy these artists have when being on the road, there is the negative side to touring in your 70’s. Age does affect us all eventually, and despite their rock god status, they are not immune to the passage of time.
Bruce Springsteen, soon to be 74, is slowing down his marathon shows. Originally known to have spontaneity in his setlists, Bruce has instead opted for something more static. Playing the same songs night in night out caused division amongst the die-hard fans. This is due to advancing age, and not having the physicality he once had. Video footage of The Boss falling off the stage has fans worried, and at his age, he should take less risks if he still wants to perform. Though fans shouldn’t complain, at 74, he still plays for nearly 3 hours and taking the night a bit easy is playing 27 out of 29 songs.
Metallica, however, drank from the wrong side of the Fountain of Youth. The band is slowing down considerably. The group is now playing 16 instead of 18 songs and opting for two or three opening acts to tour with them. They even release online content less frequently than in days past. While still in top form, the signs of age are taking their toll on the legendary metal band.
Despite the pros and cons of these bands touring in their advanced age, there is still a desire to see them live. Springsteen shows continue to sell out in cities across the U.S. and the world. The Power Trip Festival featuring Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N Roses and the youngest band, Tool whose members are in their 50’s, will be a money maker.
People love their oldies; for the artists, playing live music is all they know how to do. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top went on record to say he’d rather die on stage than retire. Going forward, if fans notice changes in the ways their favorite bands play, it’s because they are taking their age into account. They want to keep playing and for you, the fans, and you should reward that enthusiasm by seeing them live while they are still around.