Back in the news: A blast from the past.

We revisit the 2016 10-city tour with the Rolling Stones — breaking ground as the first-ever rock band to play in Cuba since Fidel lost his khakis — being displayed in full color on Netflix.

Here they are, the first senior-citizen rockers yet to find a bed in a nursing home: Mick Jagger (77), Keith Richards (77), Bill Wyman (84) and Charlie Watts (79).

The presentation, a JA Digital production produced by Sam Bridger and directed by Paul Dugdale, with incredible color and sweeping shots by Jonas Mortensen, is full of surprises.

I’ve never been a fully hyped-up Stones fan, but those credentials aren’t required here.

If you’re a Stones fan, or just a student of Rock ‘n’ Roll, it’s a visual phenomenon to be relished.


The full fury of the band’s power has diminished of course, no sound and fury lasts forever, and only a few of Jagger’s hits still hang in the air. Even in this nostalgic trip, there are only about two full-out songs. The rest is maximum adoration.

The perpetually gaunt Mick is here strutting and puffing like a prisoner just freed from the Bastille.

He’s a vision in linen, as he floats in casual clothes and a two-dollar straw hat, among a gallery of stone and marble crypts in a cemetery, and then, hours later, explodes onto stage at the free concert on a hot night in Havana.

For 15 minutes, with every strum of a guitar or lyric being heard, Mick leaps into the air and jabs his bony arms at the crowd. Crowd? That’s too small a word for what Mortensen’s camera captures. The “Rolingas” are here to sing and taste the forbidden fruit of freedom.

Any band or striving politician today would kill to have such a turnout at a rally. The crowd that night, and all the nights on the tour, was full of sweaty twisting bodies, teary eyes, waving tattooed arms, singing along with classic and iconic lyrics they couldn’t even hear.

On stage under the hot lights is Keith Richards still, in 2016, as he miraculously is today, looking like a 21st-century Lazarus, rising from the dead, moving around the giant stage like a happy-as-Hell bowery survivor, a homeless saint who just found a $20 bill in the gutter and a guitar in a dumpster.


In silver, red and gold-threaded jackets, Mick and Ronnie Wood, looking like a 30-year-old version of Keith, flow back and forth past one another like medieval street musicians.

And there’s Charlie Watts, cancer survivor, with a brush of white hair and a Cuban sun tan, trying to hide in a closet of blue light just out of the brighter lights. The show has started; the night is on.

The 2016 The Rolling Stones tour, a blast from the past just when we needed it most.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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