Start me up: The Stones kick off North America tour in Houston


By Arathy Somasekhar

HOUSTON (Reuters) -The Rolling Stones kicked off their North America tour at a sold-out venue in Houston on Sunday, with people traveling from various cities to watch one of the world’s most enduring rock bands amid worries that this could be their last tour.

The show was the first of 16 performances, set across the U.S. and Canada through July.

Fans flocked to the NRG Stadium in Houston in Rolling Stones T-shirts showcasing the band’s iconic lips and tongue logo.

The band, formed more than six decades ago, opened with “Start Me Up” with Mick Jagger walking onto the stage in a shiny striped jacket, a gray sequined shirt and black jeans. People immediately started to dance along to the 1981 classic.

Jagger, who is 80, danced, skipped and ran across the stage while showcasing his vocal range.

“Hello Houston, it’s good to be back in the lone star state,” Jagger said, adding that band visited NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston and making quips about Texas-based convenience store chain Buc-ee’s.

He performed alongside Keith Richards, 80, and Ronnie Wood, 76, the surviving core of the band.

“Every time I see them, it’s such a joy. They’re amazing. They take such true joy in playing,” said Greta Brasgalla, 56, who traveled from El Paso, Texas, to watch the band for the seventh time. She also plans to watch the Rolling Stones in Atlanta in June.

The band attracted people of all ages to the stadium, with a significant proportion of the audience over 60.

The 18 songs played over two hours included a mix of classics and three from the latest record “Hackney Diamonds”, the Stones’ first album of original material since 2005 and the first recording since drummer Charlie Watts died in 2021.

Other songs they played included “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Out of Time”, all to massive applause.

Richards, whose song-writing partnership with Jagger is one of the most enduring and successful in rock, sang “Little T&A.”

The Stones closed the show with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. They head to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for a special performance this week.

Fans, however, worried that this could be one of the last tours by the Stones.

“Every time we see them, we wonder if it’s going to be the last. That’s our fear,” said Savannah Welch, who traveled from Austin and brought along her son Charlie.

(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Lisa Shumaker)

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