Stones will roll into Arizona on Tuesday night

In what may have been a moment of irrational exuberance (possibly influenced by some post-surgery painkillers) a few months back, I used my AARP presale coupon to pick up tickets to tomorrow’s Rolling Stones concert in Glendale, Ariz.

I’d never seen the Stones and figured I wouldn’t have many more opportunities, so it was now or never.

But then a funny thing happened: My brother Doug got handed three tickets to the opening of the band’s “Hackney Diamonds” tour in Houston and asked if I’d like to go along with my brother Bill.

Given how many times I’d pulled the zipper up and down on their copies of “Sticky Fingers” and all the scratches I’d left on their copies of “Some Girls” and “Let It Bleed,” I couldn’t see a reason to say no. The Stones got together before I arrived on the planet and their music is in my bones. Is there any band so synonymous with rock ’n’ roll?

And if it turned out they were over the hill, I could always sell my tickets to the Phoenix performance.

I needn’t have worried. I’ll be at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Stones are inviting different artists to join them as opening acts on this tour. In Houston, it was Austin-based guitar master Gary Clark Jr., whose blazing blues rock performance was the perfect appetizer for the show ahead. (The opener for the Arizona show is rising Latino star Carin León.)

Then came the announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones!”

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood—all three still the personification of rock ’n’ roll—strutted onto the stage to the opening chords of “Start Me Up.”

The set list for the two-hour show spanned my entire lifespan, from “Get Off Of My Cloud” (released a month before I was born) to a handful of tracks from the new “Hackney Diamonds” album, including “Mess It Up” and “Angry.” While I can’t say I knew the words to those tunes, they fit right into the set.

Jagger’s voice remains remarkably powerful and Richards and Wood showed their absolute guitar mastery of classics such as “Rocks Off,” “Beast of Burden,” “Tumbling Dice,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Honk Tonk Women” (a given for Houston, right?), “Miss You” (featuring Jagger on harmonica), “Paint It Black,” and “Jumping Jack Flash.” They dug deep into their catalog for “Out Of Time,” with Jagger revealing it was the first time they’d played the song at a U.S. concert. Richards took over the stage to deliver the vocals on “Little T & A.”

The highlight of the show came with a performance of “Gimme Shelter,” where Jagger was joined onstage by backup singer Chanel Haynes, whose gospel roots were evident as her extraordinary vocals shook the audience. Haynes, who first joined the Stones for a 2022 show, brought a confidence to her performance that rivaled Jagger’s well-earned swagger.

Haynes returned to the front of the stage to sing Lady Gaga’s lines in “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” the third track from the new album, during the encore and nearly stole the show a second time.

The band wrapped up with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” with Richards showing he can still lay down that signature riff—and he still looks like he’s having the time of his life doing it.

Let’s hear it for the Rolling Stones. Let’s hear it for rock ’n’ roll! And let’s hear it for the impulsive decisions that our AARP membership allows us to make.