Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels Tour Stutters, Then Rolls

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And according to Richards, the dream year might extend into 1990 — and take the Stones around the world — even though the last date currently announced for the Steel Wheels tour is December 14th in Montreal. "There's this inevitable thing when you wind something like this up — you've got the whole organization ready to go — it's kind of dumb not to take it into next year and see where you can get in around the rest of the world," Richards said. "The whispers are getting audible now. That's really all I can say about it right now, but it looks like the boys are going to continue for a bit."

Even with the prospect of a world tour in the offing, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Stones' early shows is the degree to which — despite the money and the spectacle, the commerciality and the media assault — they are still playing like a band. The core of the group — Richards, Wood, Wyman and Watts — are as gritty and rhythmically raw as ever, and Jagger is the very definition of a frontman. More than a quarter of a century down the line, the Stones are not anachronisms. They are still able, at will, to tap the unruly, anarchic essence of what their music has always been about.

The greatest rock & roll band in the world? Even the Rolling Stones themselves are sheepish about making that claim at this point. But with the power they're displaying this soon on the tour, you won't get me to say they're not.

Additional reporting by Mitch Potter and Karen Morrison, in Toronto, and John Young, in Pittsburgh.

This is a story from the October 19, 1989 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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