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Stones rock club with surprise gig

Published 22/05/2015

The Rolling Stones performed a surprise concert at the small Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles (The Rolling Stones/AP)
The Rolling Stones performed a surprise concert at the small Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles (The Rolling Stones/AP)

The Rolling Stones have ripped through Los Angeles' intimate Fonda Theatre with enough energy to fuel their entire 15-city North American tour, in a surprise concert.

The band had announced they would perform a "club show" to kick off their Zip Code tour, which launches on Sunday in San Diego.

The concert at the 1,300-capacity venue instantly sold out, with one fan outside the theatre offering 4,000 dollars (£2,500) for one ticket.

The Stones played for an hour and a half, including the entire Sticky Fingers album, with the same enthusiasm they had when the record was released in 1971. The group is re-releasing the album next week.

"So this is our first show of our tour," an animated Mick Jagger said. "Tonight we're doing something we've never done before ... We're going to do the whole of Sticky Fingers."

They played each of the tracks as promised, with Sir Mick, 71, exhibiting the energy of a high-school cheerleader. He strutted and boogied, puffed out his bird-like chest, punched the air and wiggled his wiry frame, grinning, clapping and urging the audience to join in.

Keith Richards was in fine voice, too, and extra smiley, as was Ronnie Wood, all cheekbones and sinew, and drummer Charlie Watts, who shared a toothy smile with Sir Mick.

At times, there were as many as 11 musicians on stage, with two keyboardists, two backup singers, two saxophone players and a bassist joining the four Stones members.

The crowd was just as starry, with Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Harry Styles, Leonard Cohen and Kesha among those enjoying the show from the private balcony, open strictly to VIPs.

Sir Mick was the master of ceremonies, and in great spirits.

"I should have warned you before, but there may be a lot of 60s drug references on this record that may puzzle some people. It was a great, groovy scene," he said as he introduced Sister Morphine.

"That's seriously a bit of a down song," he said when they finished it. "And there's more to come!"

He strapped on an acoustic guitar to perform Wild Horses and Richards sat down with a 12-string for You've Got To Move. The set also included Start Me Up, When The Whip Comes Down and All Down the Line.

The band used the encore to pay tribute to the late BB King, who died last week.

"He was one of our favourite guitarists," Sir Mick said, "a wonderful guy who played with us on a number of occasions."

The Stones' version of Rock Me Baby featured a harmonica solo by Sir Mick. They also played Jumpin' Jack Flash before finishing with Otis Redding's Can't Turn You Loose, capping the night with an all-band bow.

The secret-show-before-the-tour is becoming tradition for the Rolling Stones, who played at an even tinier Los Angeles club before launching its 50 And Counting tour at Staples Centre in 2013.

"Next year we'll come back and do the whole of Satanic Majesties," Sir Mick quipped.

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