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Stones roll back the years

The Rolling Stones have returned to London's Hyde Park - after a gap of 44 years and one day.

Last time, Mick Jagger wore a white dress and began by quoting from a poem by Shelley.

This time, Jagger - now Sir Mick and celebrating his 70th birthday in three weeks - was wearing a leopard print jacket and he launched straight into Start Me Up, the band's last top 10 hit. "How're you doing?" he asked the crowd before their second song, it's Only Rock And Roll.

It was the Stones' first gig in Hyde Park since that historic free concert on July 5 1969 - just two days after the death of founder member Brian Jones, who was found dead in the swimming pool at his Sussex home shortly after leaving the band. That show marked the live debut of his replacement guitarist, Mick Taylor, who was later replaced by Ronnie Wood.

Sir Mick hinted this week that the concert would feature many of the songs from the band's 1969 set list. In an interview with Absolute Radio's Pete Mitchell, he joked: "Obviously, the same set list is going to be used, it saves me having to think." But the set opened with a series of songs that had not even been written in 1969.

Tens of thousands of people were in the crowd today, including stars such as David Walliams and wife Lara Stone, Gemma Arterton, Ben Wishaw, Chris O'Dowd, Noel Fielding, Simon Fullerand Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, who were all in the Barclaycard Unwind VIP area..

Many in the crowd were too young even to have seen original bass player Billl Wyman play with the band. He left in 1993.

The Stones were topping the bill on the second day of a new festival, Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time, which also features Elton John and JLS. They play two shows at Hyde Park, the second next Saturday, and both will be filmed and recorded. It is thought the sound recordings will go on to be sold through the iTunes store, while footage is expected to form a future DVD release.

The Stones' performance at Hyde Park comes just days after their much-anticipated show as headliners at Glastonbury last weekend, which saw them run through many of their best known hits.

The Stones' set finished, as it began, with fireworks. The veteran band had played for two hours, closing their initial set with Brown Sugar, then encoring with You Can't Always Get What You Want and a crowd-pleasing Satisfaction.

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