Rolling Stones strut back to 1969 woodland for London gigs

Thu Jul 4, 2013 12:27pm EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones will take a step back in time this weekend by replicating a woodland in London's Hyde Park present for a 1969 show there that became a tribute to band founder Brian Jones.

Jones had already left the Stones the last time frontman Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and drummer Charlie Watts played the royal park 44 years ago for a gig meant to introduce his replacement Mick Taylor.

But two days before their appearance the 27-year-old Jones drowned in his swimming pool under the influence of drugs and alcohol, turning the concert into a commemoration.

Now the band with an average age of 69, fresh from a wildly acclaimed Glastonbury festival debut and riding high on celebrations last year marking 50 years in music, have a chance to reinvent the past with sold out concerts on July 6 and 13.

"Hyde Park holds such great memories for us and we can't think of anywhere better to perform to our UK fans this summer," Jagger said in April, announcing the first of the two concerts.

Model oak trees and thousands of branches have been brought in for the set with sources telling Reuters that the Stones wanted an environment that was as natural as possible.

"When Mick and the band looked out from the stage back in the Sixties all they could see was a sea of people and a load of trees, but many of those have been cleared or replanted since," a source told British media. "They want to recreate the woodland."

Philip Norman, who wrote the unauthorized biography "Jagger", said although the modern audience may not remember Jones's adventurous musical brilliance, the band's long-serving fans would be looking for a nod to the man who started it all.   Continued...

Lead singer of the Rolling Stones Mick Jagger performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris