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Stones hit it out of the park

It's as simple as this -- you will not be able to do in your 60s what you did so effortlessly in your 20s. The Rolling Stones can.

So enough with the jokes about how this worldwide tour should be sponsored by Depends or Viagra, and all those jeers about how the band should change its name to ''The Rolling Bones."

Kicking off their A Bigger Bang Tour last night at Fenway Park, the Stones weren't just impressive for their age which, if you're keeping score, is nearly a combined 250 years for its key four members --singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood, and drummer Charlie Watts.

The opening night of the band's 31st global tour was marked by numerous high points, not the least of which was the guys' indefatigable passion for playing music.

Appropriately, they hit the stage with ''Start Me Up," as plumes of fire shot skyward from the front of the stage. Dressed in blue satin pants and a silver jacket, Jagger jumped about in all his swivel-hipped glory. If his spastic little serpentine dance looks silly performed by a man of 62, well, it looked pretty ridiculous when Jagger was 22, as well.

''People say why start the tour in Boston. Well, Boston is championship city," said Jagger, with a bit of pandering that every performer coming through Boston (or Massachusetts) feels is an obligation.

Richards, looking every bit like Captain Jack Sparrow from ''Pirates of the Caribbean (Johnny Depp based the character on Richards) prowled the stage, both a little oblivious to the audience and also feeding off their energy. The band launched into the feisty ''Shattered," as Jagger tossed aside his jacket to reveal a T-shirt which showed off his eternally taut body. (Has this guy gained a pound in the last 40 years?)

Jagger, who rarely stood still, seemed a little out of breath on the song, and since he blew his nose just off stage a few times, perhaps he was nursing a cold. Whatever the case, it didn't slow him down. The rusty funk of ''Tumbling Dice" was as delectable as ever, especially juiced with three backup singers and a four-piece horn section.

Of course, the Stones performed their biggest hits such as ''Beast of Burden," ''Miss You," and a stinging ''Sympathy for the Devil," ''Brown Sugar," and ''Satisfaction," which remains one of rock's great visceral thrills. That song, and several others, was unleashed near the edge of the infield grass, on a motorized stage which moved from its original position in center field. Still, some of the best moments were the most unexpected, including the swampy Delta blues of ''Back of My Hand," from their upcoming album, ''A Bigger Bang." Jagger played slide guitar, and on certain intonations, such as a repeated ''Whoa, yeah!" one could almost hear the great Muddy Waters singing ''Mannish Boy." Not all of the newer songs were as memorable, but ''Rough Justice" was another winner.

If anything, the Stones seemed to echo the bluesmen they grew up admiring, men who also played well into their 60s, 70s, and even 80s. That was also apparent during a tribute to Ray Charles, when Jagger sang ''(Night Time Is) The Right Time," and seemed to enjoy it as much as any of the Stones classics.

Earlier in the evening, the Black Eyed Peas entertained the early arrivals, and really connected with the crowd when they played their breakthrough hits ''Where Is the Love" and ''Let's Get It Started."

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