The Rolling Stones appeared Saturday at Hyde Park in London — the first time they have performed there since a famous free concert given 44 years ago.
That concert came in the wake of the drowning death of troubled band member Brian Jones. He had already been asked to leave the Rolling Stones because of his drug problems.
In the July 5, 1969 concert in Hyde Park held two days after Jones died, Mick Jagger read from the classic Percy Bysshe Shelley poem “Adonais” about the death of John Keats, a romantic poet who also died young. The Stones crew released hundreds of white butterflies in the emotional tribute.
The Rolling Stones would not return again to perform in Hyde Park until this Saturday’s event 44 years later.
Once a symbol of rebellion, the Rolling Stones are now one of the most beloved musical groups in the United Kingdom. Their performance was highly anticipated and attended by people of all ages.
Paul Sexton, who attended the event for Billboard, wrote: “[T]he secret to this sort of longevity is to perform every song as if you’ve never done it before, and may never again.”
At the 1969 performance, Mick Jagger famously wore a sort of white blouse, presumably another nod to Brian Jones’ recent death. On Saturday, he dressed with considerably more flash, in a black jacket heavily patterned in gold.
Of course the iconic Rolling Stones recently played the equally iconic Glastonbury festival for the very first time on June 29. They were the headliner on the Pyramid Stage in a highly anticipated performance in which they played 20 songs.
For three songs, including the encore “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, the group was joined by former member Mick Taylor, who was in the group from 1969 to 1974 — and who actually first appeared on stage with the band at the original Hyde Park free concert.
Here’s some video from backstage at Glastonbury:
Keith Richards recently said that he hoped the Rolling Stones would continue performing for another decade.
[Rolling Stones Hyde Park performance photo via their official Facebook page]