The Rolling Stones kicked off their 2024 Hackney Diamonds tour at Houston’s NRG Stadium on Sunday with such age-defying splendor that one shudders to consider the details of their Faustian bargain.

Led by octogenarians Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the Stones delivered an 18-song, two-hour set full of stadium-sized singalongs, along with a sprinkling of relative deep cuts and new tracks off last year’s Hackney Diamonds.

You can see the set list below.

The band wasted no time whipping the 72,000-capacity stadium into a frenzy with set opener “Start Me Up.” Jagger leapt, spun and sauntered across the stage with a ballerina’s grace as he barked with barrel-chested virility, and Ron Wood‘s searing guitar solo slashed through Richards’ sturdy riffs. The frontman summoned the righteous indignation of yesteryear on “Get Off of My Cloud,” while “Rocks Off” bristled with pompous, sleazy decadence.

Although they could have easily filled a two-hour set with roof-raising hits, the Stones opted for a slow burn, giving the Aftermath gem “Out of Time” (first played live in 2022) its Houston debut and winning a spirited singalong by Jagger’s sheer force of will. “I don’t think you really knew it, but you get to know it,” the frontman snarked afterward.

Another Houston debut — Hackney Diamonds lead single “Angry” — followed, one of only three new songs performed, along with “Sweet Sounds of Heaven” and the live debut of “Mess It Up.” Each received a hit-worthy reception, proof that the Stones’ latest LP achieves a hip modernity without straying too far from their bawdy blues-rock roots.

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Glueing the operation together was the Stones’ ace touring band, particularly drummer Steve Jordan and bassist Darryl Jones, who maintained a precise, urgent thrust on each song. The duo made room for Jagger to vamp continuously and allowed Wood and Richards to keep their playing loose. The latter, a picture of a rock ‘n’ roll Dorian Gray, varied in lucidity from song to song, but held it together for his lead vocal turn during a raucous rendition of Tattoo You‘s “Little T&A,” unveiled for the first time since 2016.

By the time the Stones reached the sinister boogie of “Sympathy for the Devil” (whose Roman temple stage design was the most dazzling of the evening), they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. A marathon of hits in the second half — “Gimme Shelter,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Miss You,” “Paint It Black,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” kept them at a fever pitch until the house lights went up.

There will come a day when the Stones can no longer deliver their one-of-a-kind stadium spectacle, but the end appeared nowhere in sight at the ’24 Hackney Diamonds tour kickoff. No use trying to put an expiration date on them; they’ve long since shattered every notion of what a rock ‘n’ roll band can achieve, and at this point, they’re competing only with themselves.

The Rolling Stones Setlist — April 28, 2024

1. “Start Me Up”
2. “Get Off of My Cloud”
3. “Rocks Off”
4. “Out of Time”
5. “Angry”
6. “Beast of Burden”
7. “Mess It Up” (live debut)
8. “Tumbling Dice”
9. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
10. “Little T&A”
11. “Sympathy for the Devil”
12. “Gimme Shelter”
13. “Honky Tonk Women”
14. “Miss You”
15. “Paint It Black”
16. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
17. “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”
18. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

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Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll