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Inside the Rolling Stones' intimate L.A. club show

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Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The Rolling Stones are gearing up for the Zip Code Tour—their first North American run in two years. But before they hit the road, the legendary rock group kicked off the trek with an intimate gig in Los Angeles on Wednesday, treating some 1,500 fans to a set that included a performance of their 1971 album Sticky Fingers in its entirety.

Just before 9 p.m., Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts strolled out onto the stage at Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre, and ignited the concert with their classic “Start Me Up.” Not surprisingly, the crowd went nuts, with Richards’ opening chords causing fans to erupt into cheers. Right after their opener, they cut into “When the Whip Comes Down” with Jagger, 71, dressed in an almost see-through black shirt and matching tight pants. Later, they busted out “All Down The Line.” Jagger was in a playful mood: he put the mic in the front of his pants to free himself to dance.

After those tunes, the Stones began its performance of their 1971 record Sticky Fingers. (The album will be re-issued next week.) “So tonight we’re doing something we’ve never done before,” Jagger told the crowd, before making a joke about how vinyl used to be the primary medium for consuming music. “We used to make these things that go round and round with cardboard covers!”

A run of slower jams like “Sister Morphine” morphed into the mood-changing “Bitch,” forcing Richards front and center for the first time of the show.

“I should have warned you before,” Jagger coolly said, “but there are a lot of ’60s drug references in these songs.” Cue the electric “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” with its references to “cocaine eyes.” It didn’t stop the balcony’s attendees from leaping to their feet.

The rest of the calmer Sticky Fingers tracklist was followed by the album’s opener, “Brown Sugar.” Jagger looked thrilled to be performing it: he busted out a side shuffle across the stage, with some spins thrown in for good measure.

The band took a brief pause before returning to the stage for an encore. And they closed out the show with a tribute to their hero, the late B.B. King, who died last week. “We really loved him as a musician and as a guy,” Jagger admitted before going into a fiery rendition of “Rock Me Baby.”

The Stones capped off their 16-song, one-and-a-half-hour set, with a raucous rendition of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose.” After the light switch was flipped on, Jagger thanked the fans for coming out and urged the entire live band to “take a bow,” he and Wood blowing kisses to the crowd, before letting folks to slip away in the Los Angeles night.

SET LIST

Start Me Up

When The Whip Comes Down

All Down The Line

Sway

Dead Flowers

Wild Horses

Sister Morphine

You Gotta Move

Bitch

Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

I Got The Blues

Moonlight Mile

Brown Sugar

ENCORE

Rock Me Baby

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Can’t Turn You Loose

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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