Rock

Rolling Stones Dedicate First Show Back to Charlie Watts: 'We Miss Him As Friends, On and Off the Stage'

the Rolling Stones
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Ron Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones photographed circa 1990.

The Rolling Stones played their first-ever show without longtime drummer Charlie Watts on Monday night (Sept. 20), dedicating the private event at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts to their late friend and time-keeper.

"It’s a bit of a poignant night for us,” emotional singer Mick Jagger told the intimate audience of 300 at the show put on by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft as guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood draped their arms around the vocalist. “Because this is our first tour in 59 years that we’ve done without our lovely Charlie Watts. We all miss Charlie so much. We miss him as a band. We miss him as friends, on and off the stage. We’ve got so many memories of Charlie. I’m sure some of you that have seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well. And I hope you’ll remember him like we do. So we’d like to dedicate this show to Charlie.”

After Jagger raised a toast, Wood added, "Charlie, we're praying for you, man. And playing for you!" The 14-song show was the warm-up debut of touring drummer Steve Jordan, who slipped into the seat for the band's first gig without Watts behind the kit since he joined the band in January 1963; Watts, 80, died of unspecified causes in August.

According to Rolling Stone, the set included the live debut of the band's cover of the Chi-Lites' 1971 track "Troubles-a-Comin'," originally recorded for the band during their Tattoo You session; it is slated for inclusion on the 40th anniversary edition of the album due out on Oct. .22. They also offered up the live debut of their pandemic anthem "Living in a Ghost Town," played classic "19th Nervous Breakdown" for the first time since 2005, as well as hits "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Women" and "Let's Spend the Night Together." The hit-packed set also featured runs through "Tumbling Dice," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Midnight Rambler," "Miss You," "Start Me Up," "Gimme Shelter," "Sympathy For the Devil," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and set-closer "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

The group's pandemic-delayed No Filter tour will officially kick off on Sunday (Sept. 26) in St. Louis at the Dome at America's Center.

Watch Jagger's dedication below.