For one night only, the Rolling Stones were an up-and-coming band again.
The legendary group rocked a small club in Los Angeles on Saturday night for a miniscule crowd compared to the thousands set to see them launch their 50 and Counting anniversary tour on Friday at the Staples Center.
The band kicked off Saturday’s hush-hush 90-minute concert at the Echoplex in the hip Echo Park neighborhood with “You Got Me Rocking” before catapulting into a mix of new and old material, as well as their bluesy covers of classics from Otis Redding (“That’s How Strong My Love Is”), Chuck Berry (“Little Queenie”), and The Temptations (“Just My Imagination”).
“Welcome to Echo Park, a neighborhood that’s always coming up — and I’m glad you’re here to welcome an up-and-coming band,” lead singer Mick Jagger joked after the second song of the evening, “Respectable.”
Despite clocking in several decades as a band, Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood showed no signs of slowing down Saturday.
Jagger worked the crowd into a sing-a-long frenzy with “Miss You,” complete with a harmonica solo from the strutting frontman.
Tickets to the Echoplex concert were sold earlier in the day for $20 each — a fraction of what tickets to the tour cost.
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the El Rey Theatre across town earlier Saturday for a chance to attend the spontaneous show. Buyers were limited to one ticket, and they were required to pay with cash, show a government-issued ID, wear a wristband with their name on it, and be photographed. Their names were verified at the venue, which has a capacity of about 700.
Cameras and smartphones weren’t allowed inside the Echoplex, which usually plays host to hipster bands and mash-up dance parties.
Toward the end of Saturday’s show, the band was joined by former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor for their version of Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain,” as well as “Midnight Rambler.”
Bruce Willis, Gwen Stefani, and Skrillex were among the famous faces in the sold-out crowd.
Rumors of the surprise show spread across social networks last week after the band teased the appearance on their Twitter accounts. The dance-pop band New Build, which was originally scheduled to play the Echoplex on Saturday, was first to leak details about the performance.
The Rolling Stones performed a few dates together in London, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Newark, N.J., last winter, but didn’t announce a tour until earlier this month. They will play 17 dates in the United States but said they may add more down the line.
Jason Aldean has filed for divorce.
The country music star filed the complaint for divorce against his wife Jessica on Friday in Williamson County, Tenn., citing irreconcilable differences. The two met in high school and have been married since August, 2001.
“This is a really tough time for my entire family,” Aldean said in a statement Monday. “Jessica and I have been together since we were teenagers. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs over the years as we grew up together as a couple. She will always be important to me because she is the mother of my children, and I know that we will both always make our daughters our #1 priority.”
‘The Old Guy’
Clint Eastwood may be 82 years old, but he dreams of making films for two more decades.
In a wide-ranging conversation Saturday about the art of film directing, Eastwood expressed admiration for the 104-year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira. “It would be great to be 105 and still making films,” Eastwood said.
Eastwood last directed 2011’s J. Edgar, a biopic of the FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. After acting in last year’s baseball drama Trouble With the Curve, he has several films in development.
The Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven director joined fellow filmmaker Darren Aronofsky for a staged talk at the Tribeca Film Festival following a screening of Richard Schickel’s documentary Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story. Eastwood regaled the Tribeca Performing Arts Center crowd with the accrued, pragmatic wisdom from his late career as an acclaimed filmmaker.
Some of the highlights:
● On preferring to begin a take with “Go when you’re ready,” rather than the traditional “Action!”: “‘Action’ puts a bad connotation out there, like some firecracker that goes off to get everyone going.”
● On his willingness to take suggestions for a scene from anyone: “You have to steal a lot. You have to have a criminal mentality to be a film director.”
● On struggling to get films green-lit: “In the early days it was more of a fight. Now, they go, ‘Oh, well, if he’s the old guy.”
Navajo ‘Star Wars’
In the new translation of Star Wars, Darth Vader is Luke’s bizhe’e.
The classic 1977 film that launched a science fiction empire and revealed the force within a farm boy who battles evil has been dubbed in Japanese, French, Spanish, and about a dozen other languages. Add Navajo to the list.
A team of five Navajo speakers spent 36 hours translating the script for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and now they’re looking for fluent Navajo speakers to fill some two dozen roles. Casting calls are scheduled this week.