"Da Bulls! Da Bears! And now, da Stones!," grandpa Jagger shouted to the Soldier Field crowd of 53,000 Dockers-clad baby boomers and friends.
"It was grand nostalgia," deigned the rock critic for the Chicago Tribune. Or, in the view of the rival Chicago Sun-Times: "They're just another oldies act."
Certainly, if you're a ticket-holder to the Stones' 33-city Bridges to Babylon tour, you're not going to see the boys at their most innovative. Tuesday in Chicago, the band tore through 24 songs in a two-and-a-half hour set--only two of which are to be found on its upcoming release, also titled Bridges to Babylon.
So, did the crowd mind the nonstop classic rock, from "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to "Brown Sugar"? Not really. Said former CBS Morning News co-anchor Bill Kurtis, 57: "I feel young again."
Certainly, the Stones did their best to hide their ages. (Which for the record are: 54, Jagger; 53, guitarist Keith Richards; 55, drummer Charlie Watts; and 50, guitarist Ron Woods.) Richards proved he could still smoke and play at the same time. Jagger proved he could still peel "jackets, coats, scarves and a bowler hat off and on like he was in the midst of a shopping spree," in the words of the Tribune.
The more critical Sun-Times caught Jagger in possible concession to the ages--noting that the frontman relied on a TelePrompTer "for lyrics from decades past, much like Frank Sinatra" during Ol' Blue Eyes' final concerts.
The Stones play Chicago again Thursday, before moving onto Columbus, Ohio, for the weekend.
Meanwhile, a half a world away on Tuesday, another venerable, if not as long in the tooth, band was rocking the masses. U2's concert in Bosnia's shell-ravaged stadium, once home to the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, was the first in the war-torn region since peace was finally declared there three years ago.
The show played to 45,000 enthusiastic Muslims, Croats and Serbs--former enemies united in the strains of Bono's "Pride (In the Name of Love)."
During their 1993-'94 tour, the Irish rockers beamed one of their shows to the besieged country. Bono pledged to play the area in person after a visit there in 1995. The band even recorded a song called "Miss Sarajevo" with Luciano Pavarotti.