By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)
The lights went down and the massive video screens showed 50 years worth of music and photos.
Fireworks went off and nearly 60,000 fans went insane.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones.
It was ironic as 71-year-old lead singer Mick Jagger strutted onto the stage and sang “And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,” during the opener “Jumping Jack Flash” just as the day long rain had subsided.
The crowd was in full-blown hysteria by the time the sets second song “It’s Only Rock “n” Roll (But I Like It)” kicked in, as Keith Richards’ sleazy guitar sound filled Heinz Field.
Though feedback, due to the excess of amplifiers, drowned out the greatness of songs like “All Down the Line” and “Tumbling Dice,” the rest of the show sounded flawless for a band that’s half a century old.
2012’s “Doom and Gloom” faired well stacked up against “Bitch” and “Moonlight Mile” and proved the boys from London can still write a hit song.
“Paint it Black” won the fan vote, over songs such as “Shattered” (much to the crowds delight).
Perhaps the biggest fan reaction came when the Gramps with Amps kicked into “Honky Tonk Woman” as nearly the entire stadium was on its feet belting out “It’s the honky tonk woman, gimmie, gimmie, gimme the honky tonk blues.”
Speaking of blues, guitarist Ronnie Wood and company played an exceptionally bluesy version of “Midnight Rambler,” which was easily the highlight of the night.
It also displayed the often-underrated chemistry between Richards, Wood and drummer Charlie Watts (as well as the backing musicians).
They all managed to cohesively trail off into their own jams just enough to make the performance a unique one. Then brought it back around to complete the classic track.
Before Richards took over lead singing duties on “Before They Make Me Run” and “Happy,” Jagger introduced the entire band.
Wood, ever the attention whore, stretched out his ovation by walking around the catwalk and egging the crowd on for more cheers.
Though Richards introduction was received with a roar of applause and chants of “Keith” the sometimes under appreciated Watts received the biggest reception.
Maybe the shyest Stone, Watts was treated to a nearly three minute ovation, before quietly returning behind the kit.
Kicking off their performance of “Gimme Shelter” the band played to a dimly lit stage as the lyrics to the 1969 hit still resonate to this day.
It’s worth noting that long time backing vocalist, Lisa Fischer, did an admirable job singing the legendary Merry Clayton’s vocals.
As the muggy night wore on, Jagger came out in a bright red, feathery outfit as flames erupted and the opening drums to “Sympathy for the Devil” filled the air.
When the Stones returned to the stage for their encore they were joined by the Penn State Concert Choir for a stunning rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
But sometimes you get what you need, as fans were treated to the ageless “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” as the closer.
One thing is certain, all of the Rolling Stones fans, both old and new, left Heinz Field satisfied.