Rolling Stones rock London in first of 50-year shows
The Rolling Stones rocked London on Sunday as they thrilled a 20 000 crowd in the first of five concerts to mark their 50th anniversary.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were joined by their original bass player Bill Wyman at the O2 Arena as the ageing rockers performed their first major concert for five years.
Lead singer Jagger made light of criticism of the ticket prices for the sold-out gig, with fans paying up to £406 for a standard seat, and thousands of pounds more on ticket re-selling sites.
"How're you doing in the cheap seats? They're not that cheap though, that's the problem," Jagger joked as the concert began.
The band opened with "I Want to be Your Man", with 69-year-old Jagger strutting around the giant stage dressed in a silver jacket and trilby, before launching into "Get Off of My Cloud".
US soul diva Mary J Blige joined Jagger to sing the female lines of "Gimme Shelter" and legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck joined the four-piece to play "I'm Going Down".
The Stones welcomed another former member, guitarist Mick Taylor, on to the stage to play on several songs.
Tickets for Sunday's gig and the second London concert on Thursday were snapped up in seven minutes last month.
They are the first part of the "50 And Counting" performances to mark the Stones' half century in the music business, with a concert in New York and two in Newark, New Jersey to follow next month.
Diehard fans seemed undeterred by the cost of the tickets, with some believing it might be their last chance to the see their heroes in action.
Jill Roberts, a 52-year-old housewife from England who was making her way into the O2 for the concert, said: "It's hard to justify that kind of money but a lot of people were prepared to pay it.
"It's an awful lot of money but I guess it's just a one-time thing. I don't think I'll be coming again anyway."
She first saw the Stones play eight years ago. "I want to experience it again, because they are such good musicians," she said.
The band have been rehearsing in Paris, where they played a concert for just 350 people at a small club on October 26, although tickets for that surprise gig were priced at just 15 euros (£20).
US music magazine Billboard reported in August that the Stones would earn a total of $25 million for the four shows -- and that was before the extra date in New York's Barclays Center on December 8 was added to the itinerary.