The Rolling Stones kick off their first album tour without Charlie Watts

30 April 2024, 12:38

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By Mayer Nissim

The Rolling Stones have kept on rolling despite the death of their long-time drummer.

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The Rolling Stones weren't really The Rolling Stones before Charlie Watts joined the group.

Tony Chapman, Carlo Little and future Kinks man Mick Avory had oh-so brief stints behind the kit, but things really came together for the band when Charlie joined, playing his first show as a permanent member at the Ealing Jazz Club on February, 2 1963.

Ian Stewart, Brian Jones, Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman all left the group over the years, but the Wembley Whammer was a Rolling Stone until his death in August 2021.

He did sit out the group's final shows before his date due to ill health, being replaced on those dates by his friend Steve Jordan, with his blessing.

So after his passing, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards decided to continue as a band, there was only one man they were going to enlist to sit in Charlie's seat.

The Rolling Stones including Charlie Watts on the No Filter tour
The Rolling Stones including Charlie Watts on the No Filter tour. Picture: Getty Images

The Rolling Stones have won rave reviews for their live shows over the last few years since Watts died, including a 60th-anniversary tour including a run of gigs in the UK and dates at London's Hyde Park, as well as some one-off concerts promoting the release of their Hackney Diamonds album.

The album is their first ever long-player without Watts, though his drumming does feature on two of its songs.

And this month they've set off on what's their first-ever album tour without Charlie, kicking off the jaunt at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Sunday (April 28).

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The full setlist at the show was as follows:

  1. Start Me Up
  2. Get Off of My Cloud
  3. Rocks Off
  4. Out of Time
  5. Angry
  6. Beast of Burden
  7. Mess It Up
  8. Tumbling Dice
  9. You Can't Always Get What You Want
  10. Little T&A
  11. Sympathy for the Devil
  12. Gimme Shelter
  13. Honky Tonk Women
  14. Miss You
  15. Paint It Black
  16. Jumpin' Jack Flash
  17. Sweet Sounds of Heaven
  18. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Mick Jagger and Keith Richard at Houston, Texas
Mick Jagger and Keith Richard at Houston, Texas. Picture: Getty Images

Speaking to CBS's Sunday Morning last October, Mick and Keith opened up about what it was like to play live without Charlie.

"Yeah, of course it's hard," Mick said. "I mean, it's all my life. Ever since I was 19 or whatever, it's always been Charlie. On some level it had to be emotional not to have Charlie there.

"Of course it's emotional, but you have to get past that in life. You know, I love Charlie and all the things, but I still want to carry on making music."

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Keith suggested that it was Charlie's death that partially spurred the band to make Hackney Diamonds – their first studio album since 2016 covers record Blue & Lonesome and the first of newly-written material since 2005's A Bigger Bang.

"I think maybe because of Charlie's demise that we felt that if the Stones were going to continue, then we'd better make a mark of what the Stones are now," Richards said.

"I think we basically love each other and we love our music. And when you're doing it, you don't really think about it.

The Rolling Stones - Angry (Official Music Video)

"But I think with Charlie going, I've realised more and more how special that is.

I mean, there's something about the Stones and there's something about us all that sort of says, no, we stick together.

"And then you can't just drop it, you know. You've got to follow it right down to the end, down the tunnel."