In an exclusive interview with the Hindustan Times, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger announced from Singapore that he hadn’t caught a cold “or anything more serious”. The reason for the band’s arrival being delayed yet another day was a plain and simple ‘airplane snag’.
Asked why the Stones have delayed their trip to India so long, Jagger frankly replied: “To tell you the truth, India has never been on the regular tour map. It’s been quite difficult in the past with the bureaucracy being so much worse than now.”
Sir Mick, who was knighted last year for his yeomen services in music and the performance arts, wryly stated that there were portentous signs of the band’s coming to India for some time now.
Jagger has come to India to watch cricket matches — most famously the cricket World Cup in 1996 — while guitarist Keith Richards has donned on several occasions a scarf with the word ‘Ram’ batik-printed on it. “As far as I know, the others haven’t been to India before, so they’re really, really keen.” So what can Stones fans look forward to hearing in the Bangalore and Mumbai concerts on April 4 and April 7?
“Well, I really don’t know yet,” says Jagger with what one thinks is rather deft deception. When asked whether numbers from the ‘swirling years’ — that is, songs from Beggar’s Banquet (1968) to Exile On Main Street (1973) — will be performed during the Indian leg of the ‘40 Licks tour’, one hears a faint smile on the other side. “Now is that a request?”
While the Stones are famed for their huge arena-style shows, it’s their ‘spontaneous’ performances at the club/bar settings that drive home the point that Messrs Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood are legends of rock-and-especially-roll. Any such ‘sudden’ plans in India? “Let’s see. It all depends on how it goes,” says the singer of the world’s only 41-year-old band.