Rolling Stones pay poignant tribute to drummer Charlie Watts at first show since his death
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The Rolling Stones have dedicated the first live show of their tour to late drummer Charlie Watts.
Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood performed at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts in the US, playing together for the first time since founder member Watts died aged 80.
Jagger, 78, told the audience at the intimate gig for billionaire businessman Robert Kraft: “It’s the first show of our 2021 tour, this is it, this is a try out.
“I must say though at this point, it’s a bit of a poignant night for us and it’s our first tour we’ve done in 59 years that we’ve done without our lovely Charlie Watts, and we all miss Charlie so much.
Read more: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood pay tribute to Rolling Stone Charlie Watts
“We miss him as a band, we miss him as friends on and off the stage and we’ve got so many memories of Charlie and I’m sure some of you that have have seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well and I hope you will remember him as we do.”
“We’d like to dedicate this show to Charlie. Let’s have a drink to Charlie."
As Jagger raised a bottle of beer guitarist Wood, 74, added: “Charlie we’re praying for you man, and playing for you.”
Jagger went on: “What are we going to do now... I’m all emotional,” before kicking off the show.
Touring drummer Steve Jordan joined the band for their first ever performance without Watts, who was a founder member of the band in 1963.
Along with guitarist Richards, 77, they played a 14-song setlist at the warm-up show, featuring hits including Start Me Up, Sympathy for the Devil and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.
They also played new track Living In A Ghost Town, which was released during lockdown last year, live for the first time, as well as Chi-Lites song Troubles a-Comin', due to be released next month to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tattoo You sessions.
Shortly before his death in August it was announced that Watts, who turned 80 in June, would not be joining the Rolling Stones on their forthcoming US tour due to an undisclosed illness.
Read more: Ronnie Wood reveals all-clear after second cancer diagnosis in lockdown
He is said to have "passed away peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family".
The other members of the band were unable to attend Watts' funeral due to COVID restrictions.
Watch: Charlie Watts was laid to rest in Devon