There’s a moment during the Rolling Stones’ triumphant return to Los Angeles that stays with me long after the show is over. It comes right at the end, after the geriatric band blast through a straight two hours of the finest rock’n’roll songs ever written. They’re midway through a climactic “Satisfaction” and Mick Jagger – who is 78-years-old and by this point has done a marathon’s worth of strutting – is out at the end of his catwalk still giving his all. You can picture it: up on his tippy-toes with his arms flowing from side to side as though he’s performing an incantation. There is a reason people write songs dedicated to his moves.
He turns around to see that Keith Richards, a mere child of 77, has prowled his way down the runway to meet him. The guitarist lets his instrument go slack around his neck and with his pirate’s grin starts to mimic Jagger’s dancing in that matey, half-assed way a non-dancer does when faced with a pro. They’re only about a foot from each other, looking right in each other’s eyes, and they both just start laughing. Looking at the picture of pure joy splashed across their faces, I have to think: seriously, what are the odds?
Jagger and Richards, as any student of rock mythology can tell you, met on a platform at Dartford Station on the morning of 17 October 1961. Their next show at the SoFi Stadium, on Sunday night (17 October) will mark exactly 60 years of the prototypical rock partnership. Their diamond anniversary. Few marriages last this long, and even fewer bands. Throughout their turbulent relationship, Jagger and Richards have fought, feuded, sniped and publicly made fun of each other’s genitalia, but somehow they’ve always come back to each other. What’s even more remarkable is that by tonight’s evidence, impossibly, they’re still at the top of their game.