Keith Richards’ marked and noticeable decline on this European tour is not due to old age or even arthritis.
Pete Townshend still plays magnificently, and he’s only a year and a half older.
Keith Richards has had those knobby hands for many years, at the very least since the early 2000s, when many agree he was still playing great.
Remember, he had a head injury (and/or) stroke in 2006. Since then, he has had to take the anti-seizure drug Dilantin — for life.
Traumatic brain injury (if that’s what it was, falling out of the “tree” or “shrub” whatever) can lead to dementia.
Also, long-term use of Dilantin can lead to what is known as “cerebral atrophy”.
For instance, you want to do something, but the brain doesn’t register the command — like play a guitar solo properly, the way Keith signaled to fans in the opening number Sympathy For The Devil in Hamburg, where he placed the fingers of his left hand on the wrong place on the fretboard, and he held his hand up shaking it as if to say I’m not quite warmed up yet HA!HA!. And then there’s that highly visible but just as highly censored instance of his apparent urinary incontinence onstage — incontinence is another symptom of dementia.
Every guitar solo I’ve heard him play on this tour — mind you, I haven’t been there — has been… disturbingly different from previous tours. Take Satisfaction. It’s just… stilted, aimless. Certainly not what he would do, in terms of the language of music, in previous tours. It’s now as if he can’t take three notes (i.e., words) and make them coherent in a sentence (i.e., the language of music).
This sudden and apparent lack of faculty is alarming when you contrast it with the clip below, from 2013 where he plays, quite well and quite focused throughout, the middle solo of It’s All Over Now (starts at 1:23), which they dusted off for the guest appearance of John Fogerty:
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Keith may be suffering from the beginning stages of dementia (the urinary incontinence is surely a sign, as is his many forgetful mistakes now in concert) — after all, Terry Jones (from Monty Python) now can barely put two words together anymore from reports, and he is in his seventies, and there is the recent case of David Cassidy who had to stop performing recently, and he is in his sixties. And, of course, there is Keith with his traumatic brain injury (and/or stroke) and his noticeable and sudden decline in faculties.
Drake, whatever you decide to do — it is your site, your endeavor, so ultimately you must decide whether you still find it worthwhile for your time and expense.
But, just to put my two cents worth in…
It seems odd to want to close down a site dedicated to a band just because they seem to be winding down to the end of their career.
Rolling Stones fandom does indeed seem unique, in that unlike other bands from the era in which they began, Rolling Stones fans have never as yet had to deal with the reality of their retirement or demise. They only disbanded once, between 1986 and 1988 with no future plans or expectations to continue on, but that was kept from the public, so that when they regrouped in 1989 then to the general public it just felt like a usual brake between new albums.
Rolling Stones fans have always seemed unusually spoiled — always rightly looking ahead, taking for granted that next recording project, that next set of concert dates.
So, why not these enduring online sites where fans can interact and celebrate what they know and love?
Maybe in a year or two there will be no more Rolling Stones. But even so, a hugely successful 55-year-plus career in show business is not about to be forgotten anytime soon, certainly not in our lifetime, and the more outlets there are for fans to connect and celebrate that, even if mainly for times past, then the better.
Oh, and in keeping with the original spirit of this forum, regarding “What Are You Drinking Tonight?”, well tonight I had 8 of these…
I used to drink 10 a night, but now I’ve but back to 8. Health consciousness and all that.
As for “What Are You Eating Tonight?”, I like a box of bacon. It helps me sleep after a drinking night.
Actually, I’ve had 1 box plus two thirds of a second box. I’ll keep what’s left and the third box for tomorrow night’s beer quota.
Hope you will all be well, even in a world with no more active Rolling Stones.
But there will still be beer, bacon, and record collections.