There was much anticipation surrounding this concert, given it was originally supposed to be presented in Adelaide during last year’s Guitar Festival and had to be postponed twice due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. And the audience was not left disappointed.

Singers Tex Perkins (The Cruel Sea, Beasts of Bourbon), Tim Rogers (You Am I), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon) and Adalita (Magic Dirt) took every song from the album by its throat, so to speak, and the backing musicians were exemplary.

Familiarity with that first bold riff of “Brown Sugar” couldn’t take the excitement off its delivery live. Showman Rogers was the vocalist: in purple jacket and shoes plus glittering green pants, maracas at the ready, he danced to shame Jagger. His voice was strained but there was a big reception for this first offering.

“Sway” was completely Perkins’ territory. Without peacock finery, he still possessed the stage; it was all about expert phrasing and that commanding voice. Jak Housden’s lead guitar was a stand-out. Adalita joined Perkins for a hand-in-hand rendition of the country-styled “Wild Horses”, embellished with the band’s backing vocals and excellent drumming from Hamish Stuart.

 A highlight was “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. The first isolated riff is a question, with that intriguing pause afterwards. Jamieson affected a cockerel swagger, pitching the persona and vocals just right. The Latin feel of the middle break came, and a spare passage that elevated the saxophone beautifully, before an infectious shuffle in which Housden’s lead guitar hinted at Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.

The Sticky Fingers’ musicians on stage in the Festival Theatre. Photo: Supplied

The four singers combined for the slow and bluesy “You Gotta Move”, a song the Stones rendered with moaning road-gang wearies; in your face and mournful. “Bitch”, with a tight and pummelling rhythm section, gave Rogers the stage alone for a briefly bare-chested performance, before Jamieson emerged with some lovely phrasing on “I Got the Blues”.

Perkins made “Sister Morphine” his own, filling it with angst expressed not just through his voice but also body language, including dragging himself and the mike stand (James Brown style) into the wings at the end. The mainly red lighting was well-judged.

 Adalita’s “Dead Flowers” was almost music hall by comparison, underlined by her encouraging an audience sing-along. Quite chirpy, it winked at the wry original. Perkins joined her for a heartfelt “Moonlight Mile”, in which they swapped verses. And that was the album done – but not the show.

There was more Rolling Stones to come, beginning with the dynamic opening of “Start Me Up”. “Paint It Black” was all Perkins, framed by excellent lighting and perfect drumming. Rogers took on “Let’s Spend the Night Together” – to be done in a COVID-guidelines-approved way, according to his ad lib.

The “Ruby Tuesday” piano intro had the audience on side instantly, waving their arms with Adalita. Perkins was next with “Angie”, that plaint to impossible love… and so it went. A prowling Rogers was all over “Midnight Rambler”, his shirt swirling above his head and then his belt also. Jamieson’s popular “Miss You” was delivered with plenty of punch.

The audience latched onto “Sympathy for the Devil”, clapping to the beat as Perkins sang excellent lead and the others took background vocals and percussion. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” featured Adalita and Rogers in a fine pairing, and Rogers took “Jumping Jack Flash” in exuberant style.

Was that it? Lots of whistling, cheering and foot stamping said not. Everyone returned for “Gimme Shelter” and “Satisfaction”, winding up a high-spirited night to end their tour. It was a gathering of very talented musicians showing their chops with evident enjoyment at the Festival Theatre.

The Stones’ Sticky Fingers was presented at the Festival Theatre for one night only on February 13.


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