The Rolling Stones begin the third month of the North American No Filter tour tonight at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Back-up vocalist Bernard Fowler -- now in his 30th year as a touring member of the Stones -- tells us that rehearsals for this tour were no different from those of any other one. They came in every day and by the end had a repertoire of 150 songs they can conceivably play. He says that breaking out a tune that the band hasn't played for years is kind of special, but there's another thing about them he finds just as cool:
“We all get a buzz out of it, and we all get a buzz out of making mistakes, too. I don’t know how we do it, but this band knows how to recover from a left turn really good. It’s magic. That’s part of the beauty of a Rolling Stones show is performing a song and everybody messes up, but somehow we regroup, get it back together and complete the mission. I love when that happens.”
Fowler acknowledges that after Mick Jagger was diagnosed with aortic stenosis earlier this year and needed heart valve replacement surgery, no one really knew if the Stones would ever tour again:
“Anytime somebody’s got something going on in their chest, you never know what’s going to happen. And we were all hopeful, but once I heard what it was, I knew he’d be okay. Medicine has come a long way and he’s in such fine condition the chances of something going wrong after that were slim. He’s in great shape.”
After tonight, there are only two more dates left on the No Filter tour -- Monday in Glendale, Arizona and a week from Saturday in Miami. Bernard Fowler says that when the tour ends, he'll miss traveling in the style he's accustomed to with the Stones:
“It just doesn’t come any better. They’ve been doing it long enough to know how to do it. And it actually really messes you up a little bit because when the tour is over and you have to wheel your own [beep] into that airport, it’s a slap upside the head. Like, ‘Welcome back to the world, my friend.’ And I’m not just speaking for me when I say that, I think all of us.”