Rolling Stones Concert Marks 50th Anniversary

The Rolling Stones have staged a concert to celebrate their 50 years in the music business.

Now in their mid-60s to early 70s, lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, and drummer Charlie Watts performed in front of thousands of screaming fans at London's O2 Arena.

They were joined by former band members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor - it was the first time the two ex-Stones had appeared with the group in more than 20 years.

A swaggering Jagger opened the show with 1960s hit I Wanna Be Your Man after stepping out onto a stage shaped like the band's red lips logo.

Joking about their age, he said: "It's taken us 50 years to get from Dartford to Greenwich."

Wyman played guitar for It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, while Taylor guested on Midnight Rambler, accompanied by Jagger on harmonica.

Jagger donned a black feathered cape to sing Sympathy For The Devil while bathed in a demonic red light and the band closed the evening with Jumpin' Jack Flash to thunderous applause.

The show came ahead of a gig at the same venue on Thursday, before three more in the US next month.

It attracted a sell-out crowd of some 20,000 people - in spite of widespread complaints from fans at ticket prices that ranged from £95 up to £950 for a VIP seat.

"Everybody all right there in the cheap seats?" Jagger asked the crowd as the concert got under way. "They're not really cheap though are they? That's the trouble."

Costs were even higher on secondary ticketing websites, although by Friday eBay was offering several seats to Sunday's show at below face value and there were places still officially available at around £400 apiece.

Stones fan Ben Cragg paid £700 for his ticket.

He said: "There's no more important band than The Rolling Stones and there's no other band that I would pay this amount of money to see ever, but I've seen them 17 times before, this could be the last time.

"I've not been happy that I've had to spend that amount of money, but needs must."

The band defended the official ticket prices, saying that the shows are expensive to put on, although Billboard, a specialist music publication, reported that the quartet would be paid £15.6m (\$25m) for the four shows first announced. A fifth date was added later.

Music critics have praised the band's recent single Doom And Gloom from the GRRR! greatest hits album just released.

And there have been hints from the band that the five gigs, which wind up at the Newark Prudential Centre in New Jersey on December 15, may not be the end of their reunion.

"Once the juggernaut starts rolling, it ain't gonna stop," Richards told Rolling Stone magazine.

"So without sort of saying definitely yes - yeah. We ain't doing all this for four gigs!"