With arena stages being dominated by aging “classic rock” stars the last few months there’s been no shortage of snarky comments about how “wrinkly,” “saggy,” “over the hill” artists should just pack it in already.
But the truth is artists like the Rolling Stones, The Who, and Springsteen are out grossing and often out performing many of the younger pop bands. Why? “The enduring power of the music,” according to a thought provoking article by NY Daily News by critic Jim Farber.
“By performing cuts from a catalogue four to five decades after their creation, the bands tested the value and potency of their material apart from any tie to a certain phase in life or period in history. While a key part of their songs’ power, and the audience’s experience, has to derive from its original context — and from the mists of nostalgia — the songs don’t require that history and dew to resonate,” contends Farber.
“When the boomer stars perform their best songs with conviction — as the Stones and Who did this fall — they have as little need for youth, beauty or “edge” as Cole Porter standards or a Bessie Smith blues. They’re classics in compositional essence, in form as well as in content.”
“Certainly, the Stones’ shows at the Barclays Center had those things going for them. Speaking as someone who has witnessed every tour by this band since 1975, I felt that these dates dazzled with the best. When Keith Richards’ guitar riffs ricocheted off Ron Wood’s — and Charlie Watts’ snare drum set the beat from behind — the thrill wasn’t about being young. It was about something far more broad and enduring: Being alive.”