On Sunday, February 23rd, The Rolling Stones gathered at London’s 100 Club to memorialize their late road manager, occasional keyboardist and full-time friend, Ian Stewart, in the way he would have liked best: hammering out the blues in a sweaty club. Playing in front of several hundred invited guests, including Stewart’s family, friends and neighbors, the Stones returned to their roots and ripped through more than an hour’s worth of gritty R&B classics, including “Route 66,” “Little Queenie,” “Little Red Rooster,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Down the Road Apiece,” “I’m a Man” and the band’s new single, “Harlem Shuffle,” Drummer Simon Kirke, formerly of Free and Bad Company, sat in for Charlie Watts for the first half of the concert, when Watts’ arrival was delayed due to a snowstorm.
Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend also joined the boogie onslaught; each of the guitarists played with the Stones at various times in the set, and during “Harlem Shuffle,” all three climbed onstage for a monster jam with Keith Richards and Ron Wood. Rocket 88 and the Scottish outfit Blues ‘n’ Trouble — two bands Stewart often performed with — also played. Dave Gilmour, Kenny Jones, Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears, former Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty and concert promoter Bill Graham caught the action from the audience.
Arranged by producer Glyn Johns in accordance with the wishes of Stewart’s family, the show was not intended to raise money but was simply meant to honor Stewart and the music he loved. An original member of the Stones, who remained a part of their organization for more than two decades, Stewart died in London of a heart attack last December 12th at the age of forty-seven. The new Stones album, Dirty Work, is dedicated to him.
This is a story from the April 10, 1986 issue of Rolling Stone.