The Rolling Stones have pulled out surprises nearly every night on their summer tour, but none were quite as unexpected as “Mercy, Mercy” from their show at Landover, Maryland’s FedExField on Wednesday night.
The band last played the Don Covay & The Goodtimers cover 50 years ago almost to the day – July 5th, 1969 – during their famous show in London’s Hyde Park right after the death of founding guitarist Brian Jones; it was previously a regular part of their set in the mid-Sixties. “It’s a long time ago,” Jagger told the crowd before singing it, “so we’re going to try to remember it.”
The Stones were supposed to begin their tour of North American stadiums earlier this summer, but they had to push back the start date so Jagger could recover from heart surgery. It began at Chicago’s Soldier Field on June 21st, where Jagger put on a truly remarkable performance considering the circumstances. “Mick was extra Mick tonight, as if maybe somewhere deep in that surgically reconstructed heart of stone, he felt he had something to prove,” Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield wrote in his review of the show. “If so, he proved it. The show was a triumph for the World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band, with Mick prancing all over the stadium in prime hip-shaking, troubadour-trapping fight mode.
As always, the show is heavy on well-worn hits like “Gimme Shelter,” “Start Me Up” and “Brown Sugar,” but they’ve also played rarities like “Sad Sad Sad,” “Monkey Man,” “Rocks Off,” “Play With Fire” and “She’s a Rainbow.” The tour wraps up August 31st at Hard Rock Stadiums in Miami Gardens, Florida.