Photo: Getty Images
LONDON - The Rolling Stones on Monday made official a much-awaited return to the concert stage after taking a break of more than five years, unveiling four arena shows in London and New Jersey.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood posted a video message about their return to live events on YouTube.
"As the crowning glory of their ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations, the rock icons will play to thousands of fans at London's O2 Arena on Nov. 25 and 29, and then across the ocean to perform at the Prudential Center, Newark, near New York, on Dec. 13 and 15," according to a statement.
"They will treat their generations of fans in a must-see, heart-pumping celebration of era-defining tracks such as 'Gimme Shelter,' 'Paint It Black,' 'Jumping Jack Flash,' 'Tumbling Dice,' 'It's Only Rock and Roll,' plus a few surprises and countless other classics from GRRR!," a compilation album set for a November release that will celebrate the band's fiftieth anniversary.
The events will be organized in a partnership between Dainty Group and Virgin Live, a new initiative by Richard Branson's Virgin empire. Also partnering with Dainty is independent TV production giant Endemol, which will co-manage the international digital rights to the Rolling Stones "50 and Counting" shows.
The Stones last played together in August 2007 as their two-year "Bigger Bang" tour came to an end.
The band on Monday didn't comment on its plans beyond the four live dates late this year, although touring saxophonist Bobby Keyes told Billboard last week that more shows are in the works , and Jagger said as much in an interview with BBC2, according to Reuters : "It's not going to be a long tour, the first bit," he said, when asked how many concerts the Stones planned to perform. Shows at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center, which were expected to be the first New York dates, are still believed to be in the works .
"Everybody loves a celebration, and London and New York are two good places to do it in!" said Jagger. Added Richards: "Sorry to keep you all hanging around, but the waiting is over. I've always said the best place for rock and roll is on the stage, and the same is true for the Stones. I'm here with Mick, Charlie and Ronnie and everything is rocking. See you very soon!"
And Branson said: "Today marks the beginning of Virgin Live, and what a beginning! In the future, Virgin Live plans to make a real difference to how fans experience, interact and enjoy live events -- Virgin Live gigs will be truly people driven."
A new film, Crossfire Hurricane, directed by Brett Morgen, chronicles the key periods of the Stones' career. It will have its world premiere gala on Thursday at the BFI London Film Festival complete with red carpet and the full complement of band members.
Crossfire Hurricane will premiere in the U.S. at the HBO premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on Nov. 13 and air on HBO two days later.
Watch the Stones' video announcement below.