From sorrow to strength: Musical heavy hitters like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones rock out for Sandy relief at 12-12-12 concert

Songs of strength transformed the sorrow of Sandy into a spectacle of hope and determination at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The concert, named for the day it was held -- 12-12-12 -- went into the record books as an unprecedented event, graced by the top tier of pop talent, from The Rolling Stones to Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen. The show had the potential to reach more viewers -- via simulcasts on TV, at movie theaters, on radio and through Internet streams -- than any live concert in history. Up to 2 billion people had the opportunity to tune into the Garden show, which also featured stars like Alicia Keys, Eric Clapton, The Who, Billy Joel, Dave Grohl, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder,  Roger Waters, Bon Jovi, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Kanye West.   PHOTOS: STARS TAKE THE STAGE FOR SANDY RELIEF   MOLLOY: ROCKAWAYS SANIT WORKERS GET PRIME SEATS AT SANDY RELIEF CONCERT   Springsteen kicked off the night on a representative note -- of defiance and possibility. For the gospel-tinged "Land of Hope and Dreams," he implored those in peril to "leave behind you sorrows" and look to a time “when all this darkness will be past."   He localized his message with "Wrecking Ball," set amid the "steel and swamps of Jersey." But the star changed up the lyric to recast a mention of the Meadowlands to the grossly impacted state shore.   Springsteen invited a special guest along to duet on "Born to Run" -- fellow Jerseyan Jon Bon Jovi. Later the Boss returned the favor by trading verses on Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home."    In his own set, Bon Jovi performed songs that only meant to entertain, via self-glorifying hits like "Dead or Alive" and "It's My Life."   Adopted New Yorker Roger Waters performed a segment from his anti-fascist epic "The Wall."  He also revived "Us and Them" from Pink Floyd's classic disc "Dark Side of The Moon."  The monumentalism of both captured the fearsome foe at Continue Reading

TV review: ‘The Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’

"Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” is an odd and thoroughly delightful side note in the colorful history of the Rolling Stones. Less than 25 minutes long, it feels in one sense like a promotional video tease for the full-length concert album of the same name. The album “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!,” released in 1970, stands as one of the all-time great concert recordings, and the excerpts here, recorded at Madison Square Garden in November 1969, convey the same deep-rooted power. Simply put, there’s never been a better rock ’n’ roll band than the Stones of this era, with Mick Taylor on guitar. The film “Ya-Ya’s” begins with a young-looking Mick Jagger and Keith Richards alone on stage, and Keith’s guitar providing the only accompaniment to Jagger singing “Prodigal Son.” Jagger says it’s an “old blues” whose author he doesn’t know, though he probably did. It was The Rev. Robert Wilkins, who wrote it in the mid-1930s and would perform it as both a secular and a religious song. Mick and especially Keith do it justice, before we segue into a medley of “I’m Free,” “You Gotta Move” and “Under My Thumb,” then finally a full-length version of “Satisfaction.” In between, jumping around in ways that often feel random, we get wordless glimpses of Keith, Taylor and Jimi Hendrix strumming backstage, and Janis Joplin in the wings bobbing her head. “Ya-Ya’s” feels joyful and upbeat, making it a subtle counterpoint to the longer and much darker “Gimme Shelter” film that was made around the same time. Light and dark. That’s always been the Stones. The only downside to “Ya-Ya’s” is that it’s over too soon. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Ana Moura brings fado to the mainstream; Prince and the Rolling Stones clamor for the Portuguese star

We all know sad songs say so much. If so, the fado must say more than any other song-form in the world. Named for the Portuguese word for fate, the fado treats romantic pain with enough zeal to please even the most accomplished masochist. Singers in this style - often women - dress in black shawls, which they cling to as if lost in mourning or bracing against he chill of their own emotions. With downcast eyes, they throw themselves into their eloquent verses and enraptured melodies with the righteous passion of the wretched. Not that fado singers themselves see the style that way. “Yes, it’s sad, but it can also be very happy,” says Ana Moura, the most celebrated young singer in this historic genre. “I call it Portuguese soul music because it’s a style where you show all of your feelings. It’s every emotion at once.” To prove it, on the title track of her new CD, “Desfado,” Moura croons, “Oh, it’s so sad, this joy of mine/ Oh, it’s so joyful, this deep sadness.” In another song, she croons, “Thank you for telling me lies/ thank you for making me cry.” The point, it seems, is to savor emotion itself, to celebrate the frisson of feeling beyond consequence. It takes a singer of rare passion to articulate the nuances of such risks and, right now, the Lisbon-based Moura stands at the forefront of them. Not only has she been lionized in her native Portugal, she has attracted international attention, with invitations from both the Rolling Stones and Prince to perform with them. To extend her reach, Moura for the first time included English lyrics on her new album, which is backed by a U.S. tour that comes to City Winery on Monday. Moura wanted to elaborate her sound, so she hooked up with producer Larry Klein, the ultimate “woman’s producer,” who has worked with such interpretive stars as Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Tracy Chapman and Continue Reading

Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, John Mayer join the Rolling Stones onstage during New Jersey concert

Only at a Rolling Stones concert could appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga seem almost like afterthoughts. Those superstars and other top acts including the Black Keys and John Mayer jammed with the Stones on Saturday night, winding down a series of concerts celebrating the 50th year of rock's most enduring band (the occasion was also marked by a pay-per-view special).   The Boss rocked out with the band on out "Tumbling Dice"; Gaga matched Mick Jagger shimmy-for-shimmy on "Gimme Shelter"; the Black Keys joined on "Who Do You Love," and John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. showed their considerable guitar chops alongside Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on "Goin' Down."   Kevin Mazur/WireImage Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards perform at the Prudential Center Saturday night.        But the Stones would not be upstaged. While the sold-out crowd roared with each special guest, it was the aging but dynamic foursome that generated the most excitement of the night, as they put new energy into their decades-old catalog of hits, including "It's Only Rock `N Roll (But I Like It)," `'Start Me Up," `'Brown Sugar," `'Sympathy for the Devil" and more.   Evan Agostini/Invision/AP John Mayer (l.) performs with Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards.   The band took a moment to acknowledge the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school Friday in Newtown, Conn. "We just wanted to send our love and condolences to all the people who lost loved ones in the tragedy in Connecticut," Jagger early on in the concert as the audience applauded. Jagger noted the entire world was feeling the pain of the stunned nation.   But it was the only somber moment in an a frenetic show that showed why the Stones are considered by many to be the greatest rock band, and belied the much-discussed advanced age of the group's lineup (their ages range between 65 and 71).Jagger himself poked fun at the senior citizen Continue Reading

HEAR IT: The Rolling Stones’ ‘Doom and Gloom’ is booming new single

The Rolling Stones will not fade away. Fifty years after forming, the band released a brand new song Thursday, titled “Doom and Gloom.” It will appear, along with another new cut, “One More Shot,” on a 50-song best-of CD, “GRRR!,” out Nov. 13. The song marks the first time the prime remaining Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood) have made a studio recording in seven years. They last released a CD in 2005, “A Bigger Bang.” The new single hinges on an archetypal Keith Richards riff, with a bit of “Gimme Shelter” menace and a dash of “Start Me Up” verve. Of course, it’s just a dash. The guitar work in “Doom and Gloom” isn’t likely to unseat classics like “Brown Sugar” or “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” in the band’s pantheon. Either way, Jagger’s lyric merits attention. It starts with a dream that sounds like Mick’s 19th nervous breakdown. He’s piloting a plane filled with drunken louts, which crash lands in a field of zombies. It’s up to Jagger to kill the undead and find his way to light. Therapists will have a field day with this one. Might the drunks be dream-world exaggerations of the other band members, and the zombies the fans? It’s hard to say. Regardless, the song’s subtext seems to speak directly to the skepticism that may greet a Stones song and tour at this point. In the single, Jagger finds himself surrounded by cynics spewing “Doom and Gloom.” All this hasn’t stopped the band from planning to play live. Though they’ve yet to confirm it, reports have them performing two shows in London and two at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. A source told The News the Barclays shows will take place Dec. 6-8. Stay tuned. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

The Rolling Stones will play Newark’s Prudential Center on December 13 and 15 on their 50th anniversary tour

Newark got what Brooklyn wanted. While reports have circulated for months that the Rolling Stones would celebrate their 50th anniversary with two shows at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Monday the band announced they’ll play Newark’s Prudential Center instead. The local concerts will take place Dec. 13 and 15, following two shows from the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll band at London’s O2 Arena, Nov. 25 and 29. The second Newark show will be a pay-per-view event, titled “One More Shot,” running live on Dec. 15 at 9 p.m. According to a source in the Stones camp, the pay-per-view element drove the decision to go with Prudential. “It wasn’t money,” the source says. “You need a certain amount of time to get in and set up the cameras for a big pay-per-view production. And it can only be done on certain days. The Prudential had those days of availability.” The London and Newark shows represent the only dates to coincide with the Stones’ 50th anniversary. It will be the first time the main members have performed together in five years, since the played three nights at the O2 Arena in 2007. “Sorry to keep you all hanging around, but the waiting is over,” said the band’s guitarist, Keith Richards, in a statement Monday. “I’ve always said the best place for rock and roll is on the stage and the same is true for the Stones. I’m here with Mick, Charlie and Ronnie and everything is rocking.” The announcement of the live dates chases the release last week of the first new Stones song in 7 years. On Thursday, the band issued “Doom and Gloom,” one of two new songs set to be included on the double CD “GRRR!,” a career-spanning greatest hits collection arriving Nov. 13. These songs represent the first fresh music from the Stones since those on their 2005 CD, “A Bigger Bang.” In addition, the Stones will Continue Reading

The Rolling Stones celebrate 50 years on stage on anniversary of first gig at London’s Marquee Club

LONDON — Mick Jagger may rethink the words he sang more than 45 years ago — “What a drag it is getting old.” Thursday marks 50 years since Jagger played his first gig with a band called the Rolling Stones, and the group is marking its half-century with no letup in its productivity or rock ‘n ‘ roll style. Jagger himself is still the cool, rich frontman of the world’s most successful rock band. Now in their late 60s and early 70s, the band members are celebrating the anniversary by attending a retrospective photo exhibition at London’s Somerset House — and looking to the future by rehearsing for new gigs. PHOTOS: THE ROLLING STONES THROUGH THE YEARS Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts are getting together 50 years to the day after the young R&B band played London’s Marquee Club. Taking a name from a song by bluesman Muddy Waters, they were billed as “The Rollin’ Stones” —the ‘g’ came later. The lineup for the gig was vocalist Jagger, guitarists Richards and Brian Jones, bassist Dick Taylor, pianist Ian Stewart and Mick Avory on drums. Taylor, Stewart and Avory soon left the lineup; drummer Watts joined in 1963 and guitarist Wood in 1975. The band had its first hit, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” in 1963, and soon became one of the world’s biggest and most influential rock acts, rivaled only by The Beatles. The Beatles split up in 1970, but the Stones are still going strong — something Jagger says he could never have imagined at the time. Rankin/AP Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts pose in a photo at the Marquee club in London released Thursday to commemmorate the band's 50th anniversary. “Groups in those days and singers didn’t really last very long,” Jagger, 68, told the BBC. “They weren’t supposed to last. It was supposed to be Continue Reading

The Stones bio flick ‘Ladies and Gentlemen: the Rolling Stones’ shows band at its performance peak

It's been a bang-up year for Stones' fetishists. First, the band released a deluxe box set version of their hands-down-best live album ("Get Yer Ya-Yas' Out"), ladling on more songs from the original 1969 show, plus dollops from their opening acts, Ike and Tina Turner and B.B. King.Then, they issued a fuller take on their double album masterpiece "Exile On Main Street," featuring eight formerly suppressed cuts from its vaunted sessions. They chased that with a cool documentary covering every drug indulgence and tax dodge that fueled the set's dirty creation. ("Stones In Exile").Now the self-dubbed "world's greatest rock ‘n roll band" has issued "Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones," their signature concert movie, shot over four hot nights in Texas during the "Exile" tour.Never did the band rock harder, look better, or hold more true to their carefully drawn character. The movie, which debuted at New York's Ziegfield Theater in April of ‘74, captures them at the end of their pinnacle period (1968-74), a time frame that doubled as the peak of the first wave of classic rock itself. It was The Stones' first road-show since ‘69, a stint that ended with the hellish, but myth-building, riot at Altamont. The ‘72 tour gave them the chance to finally put the focus back on the music. Not only were the band bringing the spit and fire of "Exile" to the stage for the first time, they were offering their first live takes on the songs from ‘71's equally astonishing "Sticky Fingers." In fact, the movie kicks off with the latter album's two snarling singles, "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch." These versions proceed at a cocaine speed. Though only five of the 15 numbers come from "Exile" but its raging power informs everything surrounding it.The precision of Charlie Watts' drumming ricochets off Keith Richards' skittish and mocking riffs. But it's an under-recognized player who steals the show: Mick Taylor. He's the most Continue Reading

From George Carlin’s arrest to the Rolling Stones show, relive Summerfest’s 10 most memorable milestones

When a music festival welcomes millions of people and tens of thousands of bands across 50 years, there's bound to be some wild stories — especially when that festival is Summerfest, the world's largest music festival.Did you hear about the time a comedian got arrested for a profane bit? Or how about the time festgoers swam through floodwaters? 1. The first SummerfestIn 1962, Milwaukee's mayor Henry Maier established a panel of business and civic leaders to conduct a feasibility study for a major, recurring summer festival. By 1966, it had a name — Summerfest — with an opening run scheduled for July 19 to 28, 1968. But nearly a year prior to the first Big Gig, rising racial tensions escalated into a riot, prompting Maier to declare a state of emergency and issue a curfew. After that, Summerfest took on a new mission: to help increase racial understanding in a divided city. The first Summerfest featured a diverse roster of entertainment across 35 locations — including a "Salute to African Americans," an Up with People concert at County Stadium, a polka festival, puppet shows, Walt Whitman poetry readings and a "Youth Fest" on the lakefront. The mayor and local media praised the first festival, with an estimated million people attending. 2. Sly and the Family Stone packs them inThe first Summerfest turned a small profit, but the second was in the red by $164,000. In 1970, the citywide approach was modified, and from that year forward, the festival was contained to the site of a former Army Nike base on the lakefront. The new strategy was a success ... perhaps too successful in the beginning, when Sly & the Family Stone attracted between 100,000 and 125,000 people, Milwaukee Police said at the time. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported that Sly Stone was so intimidated by the reported crowd size he refused to leave the Pfister Hotel until festival officials sent three limos by request. Local radio Continue Reading

Fifty years ago, rock and roll became ‘rock,’ and music started to have more social comment, powered by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and The Who

Music often changes its sound. But 50 years ago, it also changed its meaning. On July 10, 1965, a group of hairy louts called the Rolling Stones hit No. 1 with “Satisfaction,” a song whose witty complaints about sexual frustration and social hypocrisy sowed the seeds of genuine protest. The next month, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” shot to No. 2, fired by poetic language that spoke of the freedom, and the fear, of leaving every societal convention behind. By December, The Who released “My Generation,” a stuttering, slamming anthem that drew a violent line between young and old. Statements that incendiary proved music could be more than entertainment. It could be art, community, religion, even a spur to political change. To mark so huge a sea change, the sound got a new title — or at least an amended one. Fifty years ago, the music previously known as “rock and roll” morphed into the emphatically named “rock.” The word was both a description and an instruction. Followers had to be ready to move beyond the form’s earlier function as teen-pop that simply implied sex, freedom, and change. “Rock” made those things explicit, and their implementation extreme. It’s not that music had never acted as social critic, or as protest soundtrack, before. A wide variety of folk styles carried political messages, and social commentary, going back centuries. There even existed a movement simultaneous to early rock and roll — from strummers like the Weavers and Joan Baez — which made their worldly concerns plain. But it was the choice of one such troubadour, Bob Dylan, to combine folk awareness with the new rock power that made him THE bellwether artist of ’65. In fact, Dylan pushed so far ahead of the pack, some fans turned on him. When he and his band played an electric set at the Newport Folk Festival in July, they drew boos. The Continue Reading