Mick Jagger, center, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, left, and Charlie Watts,… (Joel Ryan / Associated Press )
In the better-late-than-never department, the Rolling Stones on Wednesday announced a 2013 tour, as close to a full-fledged 50th anniversary "50 and Counting" tour as "the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band” could muster, opening in May in Los Angeles.
Singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards, Ron Wood and former Stones member Mick Taylor, drummer Charlie Watts and their band mates will play a run of shows in North America and England in May and June, including a second Southland date May 15 at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Other cities on the itinerary include Oakland, San Jose, Las Vegas, Toronto, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.
The first show on the tour, at Staples Center, is in flux pending the dates of NBA and NHL playoff games involving L.A. teams. The group also has two performances on tap back home in England, announcing a July 6 date in London's Hyde Park in addition to their previously announced headlining slot June 29 at the Glastonbury Festival.
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“ '50 and Counting’ has been pretty amazing so far,” Jagger said in a statement. “We did a few shows in London and New York last year … and had such a good time that we thought … let’s do some more. It’s a good show. Lots of the classic stuff everyone wants to hear … with a few little gems tucked in here and there. The stage is shaped like lips and goes off into the venue so I get to run around in the crowd. It’s great fun to be able to get that close to the audience.”
Richards, in the same statement, added, "From day one at rehearsals it sounded so fresh. You could tell that everybody was dying to get their teeth into it. It was like … open the gates … let us out! 'Cause man, it is the life and blood of us to play in front of people.”
Tickets for Oakland, San Jose, Toronto and Chicago go on sale beginning Monday at 10 a.m. local time and will be available at www.rollingstones.com. Citi card members will have access to presale tickets beginning Friday at 10 a.m. local time through Citi’s Private Pass Program. For details, visit www.citiprivatepass.com.
There's no word yet about any additional shows, but a Stones spokeswoman indicated that more may be added if there's enough buzz around the performances announced Wednesday.
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The tour is promoted by AEG Live's Concerts West, the first time the Stones have used Concerts West as their tour promoter.
The Stones squeezed in a handful of performances at the end of 2012, the actual half century mark for the group that came together in 1962 in London. Those appearances were at London’s O2 Arena, the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. and Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, N.Y.
And in the midst of the East Coast run, the Stones added in an appearance at the “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief” benefit at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The large-scale shows came on the heels of a couple of teaser concerts at small venues in France in October.
It’s been nearly eight years since the group last undertook a major tour with its "A Bigger Bang" show that ran from August 2005 through August 2007. During the heaviest concentration of dates, the Stones logged the highest-grossing tour of North America, pulling in $138.5 million, according to Pollstar, the concert industry-tracking publication.
With a total take of $558.3 million, it ranks as the second highest-grossing tour of all-time, behind U2’s "360 Tour" that ran from 2009 to 2011 and took in $736.4 million, according to Billboard.
Jagger and Richards will turn 70 this year, Watts is 71 and Wood is 65, prompting speculation that this could be the band’s final tour — a question raised numerous times before.
Meanwhile, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently announced it will mount the first major Rolling Stones museum exhibit, a 50th anniversary look at the band's legacy that's slated to open May 24 at the Cleveland facility and run for at least 10 months.