Rolling Stones pay poignant tribute to drummer Charlie Watts at first show since his death

Watch: Mick Jagger pays tribute to late drummer Charlie Watts in first show before No Filter tour in US

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.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 05: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform at MetLife Stadium on August 05, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones paid tribute to Charlie Watts on stage at their first live show since his death. (Getty Images) (Taylor Hill via Getty Images)

“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."

NANTERRE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 27: Mick Jagger, Keith Richarda, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts of Rolling Stones on Stage during the concert at U Stadium on October 25, 2017 in Nanterre, France. (Photo by Franck Castel ATPImages/Getty Images)
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts performing together in 2017. (Getty Images) (ATPImages via Getty Images)

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.

HANNOVERSCH MUNDEN, GERMANY - JUNE 06: Die Rock Band Mit Saenger Mick Jagger, Guitar Keith Richarda and Ron Wood, Drums Charlie Watts during the Rolling Stones Concert - European Tour 1982 on June 06, 1982 in Hannover, Germany.  (Photo by ATPImages/Getty Images)
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood missed their bandmate Charlie Watts. (Getty Images) (ATPImages via Getty Images)

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