British musician Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs on stage during the band’s ‘Steel … [+] Wheels’ tour, late 1989. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Just when you thought you’d never get to go to a concert again, rock and roll’s longest-running and arguably greatest band, The Rolling Stones, is reaching back into their archival film vault to release a long-awaited documentary presentation of their legendary, 1989 Steel Wheels world tour.
According to Rolling Stone Magazine, fans should mark September 25th on their calendars, to seek out the concert film via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
The Stones’ 1989 Steel Wheels series of dates was viewed by many as a comeback of sorts, as the British rockers hadn’t toured since 1982, allowing other mega-acts like Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Van Halen, The Police and Guns ‘n Roses to dominate pop and rock arenas around the world, while also providing the soundtrack of the 1980’s.
Stones’ classics like ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘Paint It Black’, ‘Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Wild Horses’ had helped brand the rock and blues sound of the 1960’s and 70’s, but the band had largely given the 1980’s up to other acts and other music genres, including the emerging hip-hop and rap scene.
While The Rolling Stones had a major hit with the album ‘Tattoo You’ in 1981, featuring the timeless track, ‘Start Me Up’ – – they sat out touring for the rest of the ‘80s until their release of ‘Steel Wheels’ in 1989.
Those seven years between staged shows represented their longest break in touring since the band was formed in the early 1960’s.
Featuring songs that have now become modern-day classics, like ‘Sad Sad Sad’, ‘Mixed Emotions’ and ‘Rock and a Hard Place’, ‘Steel Wheels’ was an energetic, lively and worthy addition to the canon of Stones’ anthems and ballads, and fans were eager to reward them with handsome album sales and packed concert arenas.
One night in October of 1989, I was one of the lucky 100,000 who attended the Steel Wheels tour in Los Angeles, with Guns ‘n Roses opening for the Stones at the L.A. Coliseum. To be candid, at the time I was more excited about seeing Axl Rose and his band play, than I was for the title act.
But everyone in attendance was rewarded with a fantastic Stones show, sealing in my memory one of my favorite concert experiences of all time.
It will be an exciting and much-needed relief to get to once more experience that thrilling concert (which also features Axl Rose, Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker), especially as all of us are staring down the real possibility of a new national order to shelter-in-place.
As some concerts are already happening elsewhere around the world, the U.S. remains too dangerous a place for audiences to gather or for bands to perform.
Virtual performances, like The Steel Wheels concert film, must suffice as the U.S. waits out the pandemic.
Some may find it bitterly ironic that even though The Stones are offering up this trip down memory lane as a welcome respite, we should note that they taped the concert in Atlantic City – – at The Trump Casino Convention Hall.
Sad, sad, sad.