Rolling Stones Kick Off No Filter Tour In Chicago: Live Review

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones kick off the North American leg of their No Filter tour at Chicago’s Soldier Field on June 21. (Kevin Mazur / Getty Images)

Rolling Stones

Soldier Field, Chicago

Capacity: 61,500

June 21, 2019


The Rolling Stones kicked it up a notch for their 2019 tour opener at Soldier Field in Chicago June 21. For longtime Stones fans, it was a thing of beauty, especially considering Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery in April, forcing the tour to be rescheduled.

The two Chicago dates, June 21 and June 25, were on the back end of the original route and remained unchanged. The result was starting the tour in a city the Stones hold close to their hearts since first hanging with Muddy Waters at the old Chess Studios in 1964.

On the first official day of summer, weather conditions along Chicago’s lakefront were more comparable to San Francisco with cloudy skies and temperatures in the 50s. The cool weather, with rain holding off until after midnight, may have been a blessing in disguise for the Stones’ core four, all of whom are in their 70s. 

Jagger pranced about the expansive stage throughout the two-hour show, showing no signs of his health issues. That being said, the ramp to the secondary stage was noticeably shorter than on past tours, perhaps keeping in mind the need to give Mick a breather the few times he strolled along the pathway into the crowd.

Stones Fireworks
Chip Marshall
– Stones Fireworks
The Rolling Stones close out their first show of their No Filter tour of North America June 22.

For the 55-year-old group, the focus has historically been on Jagger and justifiably so considering his stature in rock. But on this night, the Stones’ ninth all-time show at Soldier Field and 38th overall in Chicago, lead guitarist Ronnie Wood, stole the spotlight, killing it with his underrated fretwork. 

Teaming with Keith Richards, the two have been tied at the hip since Wood joined the band in 1975. For the No Filter tour debut, both were at their creative best, coming up with crisp new hooks to anchor vintage tunes such as “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Tumbling Dice.” 

In one fan’s opinion, the refreshed versions were the best they’ve heard live since the Some Girls tour in 1978.

At 75, Jagger’s voice remains strong, a testament to his overall fitness. He didn’t miss a beat on “Angie,” which showcases his vocal prowess. It was the first of two tunes the Stones played in a mini-acoustic set on the secondary stage, followed by “Dead Flowers.” 

Stones Beer
– Stones Beer
The 24 oz. draft beer will set you back $18 (tip not included) but the collectible cup comes with a bar code that takes you to a Rolling Stones merch store to buy even more stuff.

For those of us sitting in the back row against the wall, Section 321 in the north end, directly facing the stage, the sound was among the best ever for a stadium show. No echoes or acoustical feedback.

By comparison, for the first of three Grateful Dead 50th anniversary shows four years ago at Soldier Field, the sound kept bouncing off the wall of suites along the west side before adjustments were made for the second set.

The video production was another story. 

Over the past five decades, the Stones have developed a sterling reputation for their overall production, including the videoboard displays. For those of us in the back row depending on those screens to provide a stronger connection to the stage, the video production was off compared with past tours. The cameras arbitrarily focused too much on the core four without equal distribution across the stage. 

The supporting players each had their moment to shine on solos, but that was pretty much it in terms of their video exposure. Keyboardist Chuck Leavell (37 years in the band) and bassist Darryl Jones (25 years) have both earned the recognition, but it’s tough when Mick Jagger still calls Ronnie Wood (44 years) the “new guy.”   

The Rolling Stones
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
– The Rolling Stones
Ron Wood, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards June 22 at Chicago

Overall, a minor quibble. The scenic Chicago skyline provided a cool backdrop to the show and the fireworks following the traditional closer “Satisfaction” is always a crowd pleaser.

Apart from the seating bowl, the merchandise stands inside and outside Soldier Field were jammed with crowds well into the set by St. Paul & the Broken Bones, the opening act. The Stones’ iconic tongue logo T-shirts sold for $45 and a jersey co-branded with the tongue and Chicago Bears marks was priced at $125.

Aramark runs the stadium food service and featured a Stones No Filter tour souvenir beer cup. The cost was $18 — make it $20 with tip — for a 24-ounce draft. For veteran concertgoers, it stands as the most expensive stadium beer they’ve purchased to date.

In addition to the tour logo, the plastic beer cups featured a QR code, which when scanned by mobile device takes consumers to the Stones’ website to buy even more tour merchandise. As Keith Richards likes to say: “Cha-ching!”


Street Fighting Man

Let’s Spend the Night Together

Tumbling Dice

Sad Sad Sad

You Got Me Rocking 

You Can’t Always Get What You Want


Dead Flowers

Sympathy for the Devil

Honky Tonk Women

You Got the Silver

Before They Make Me Run

Miss You

Paint It Black

Midnight Rambler

Start Me Up

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Brown Sugar


Gimme Shelter

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction