‘We all miss Charlie so much’: Rolling Stones’ emotional tribute at first gig since death of drummer Charlie Watts

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The Rolling Stones during a press conference for their World Tour 2002/2003 (PA) (PA Wire)
The Rolling Stones during a press conference for their World Tour 2002/2003 (PA) (PA Wire)

The Rolling Stones made an emotional tribute to their legendary drummer Charlie Watts at their first show since his death.

Singer Sir Mick Jagger was held up by lead guitarist Keith Richards as he dedicated an exclusive show to Watts, who died of an unspecified illness at the age of 80.

“It’s a bit of a poignant night for us because its the first tour in 59 years that we’ve done without our lovely Charlie Watts,” he told a 300 strong crowd at a warm-up gig at Massachusetts Gillette Stadium.

“We all miss Charlie so much. We miss him as a band, we miss him as friends - on and off the stage.

“We’ve got so many memories of Charlie, and I’m sure some of you that have seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well. And I hope you remember him like we do. We would like to dedicate this show to Charlie.”

The Rolling Stones pose for a portrait in 1964. (L-R) Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts. (Getty)
The Rolling Stones pose for a portrait in 1964. (L-R) Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts. (Getty)

Guitarist Ronnie Wood then took the microphone and declared: “Charlie, we’re praying for you and playing for you.”

The exclusive 15 song set had the band open with Let’s Spend the Night Together before rolling through early hits like Tumbling Dice, 19th Nervous Breakdown and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

The Stones were joined on drums by Charlie’s stand-in Steve Jordan, who had been roped in to play their upcoming tour as Charlie recovered from a medical procedure.

Watts joined the band in its early years circa 1963. He, along with Jagger and Richards, played on every Rolling Stones studio album to date – the most recent of which was 2016’s ‘Blue and Lonesome’.

Watts was also an accomplished jazz drummer, releasing four albums as bandleader of the Charlie Watts Quintet in the ’90s.

The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr paid tribute to Charlie Watts following his death in August, along with a photo of the two together.

He wrote: “God bless Charlie Watts, we’re going to miss you man, peace and love to the family, Ringo.”

Watts leaves behind his wife Shirley, daughter Seraphina and granddaughter Charlotte, born in 1996.

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