British rock legends The Rolling Stones on Wednesday open their European tour with a gig in Madrid to mark six decades since the band was formed.
The Sixty tour will include 14 concerts across Europe with the first taking place in the Wanda Stadium, home to Atletico Madrid football club.
It follows the band’s “No Filter” tour, which began in 2017 but saw the North American leg postponed due to the pandemic.
After a long delay, they resumed the tour late last year, wrapping it up with a million tickets sold, although missing their drummer Charlie Watts who died in August at age 80.
The Rolling Stones helped define the Swinging Sixties and the hippie era with timeless hits such as “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.
Frontman Mick Jagger, 78, and fellow band members Keith Richards, also 78 and Ronnie Wood, who turns 75 today, arrived in the Spanish capital last week.
“Sympathy for the Devil in Madrid. The Stones are in town! Countdown to the first show is on!” they wrote on Instagram, posting a picture of the Fallen Angel fountain in the Retiro Park, referencing one of their best-known songs.
“Enjoying lots of what Madrid has to offer, from fallen angels to Flamenco!” tweeted Jagger, with pictures of him having a beer and visiting Picasso’s “Guernica”.
He also posted a brief flamenco-style clip of “Paint It, Black”.
– Whistle-stop tour –
The Stones will tour 13 cities in Europe, playing two gigs in London.
Following the opening night in Madrid, they head to Munich and then on to Liverpool to play at the city’s Anfield football stadium in what will be their first gig in more than 50 years in the hometown of The Beatles.
They will also play in Amsterdam, Bern, Milan, London, Brussels, Vienna, Lyon, Paris then the German town of Gelsenkirchen with their final show in Stockholm on July 31.
As well as celebrating their 60th anniversary, the Stones are also marking 50 years since the release of one of their most iconic albums “Exile on Main St”.
Jagger and Richards were childhood friends who lost contact until a chance encounter as teenagers on Dartford station southeast of London.
The following year, they would go on to form what would become one of the world’s best-known rock bands.
Dartford station today carries a blue plaque to mark the historic encounter.
They did their first tour of the UK in 1963, kicking off a stellar career which would see them release more than 50 albums, both studio and live, with millions of copies sold. — Agence France-Presse