Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Mick Jagger

“Little Richard: I Am Everything” Rocks the House At SXSW

“Little Richard: I Am Everything,” a documentary from Lisa Cortes, premiered at SXSW on March 13th.

I’ve saved the best for last, because this was genuinely one of the best documentaries—if not THE best documentary—-that I saw this year (and I saw a lot of them).

There are extensive clips of Little Richard, the flamboyant showman from Macon, Georgia, one of  twelve children of Leva Mae and  Richard Penniman, a minister who ran bootleg on the side.

Richard was born somewhat crippled (one arm was longer than the other) and queer and his father kicked him out of the house because of his sexual orientation. He found a place to stay at Ann’s Tic Toc speakeasy, where he sang blues and gospel and listened to Sister Rosetta, the Mother of Black soul.

Director of “Little Richard: I Am Everything” Lisa Cortes.

We learn that Billy Wright helped Richard get a record deal and that Esquerita, a musician, taught him to play piano. The technique  was boogie woogie on the left and Ike Turner with the right hand. However, the music that Richard was making was considered “race music” and was only allowed on Black stations. The documentary is right when it says, “It says something profound when Black music is the wellspring” for rock and roll. Of course, record producers tried to steal the sound and put white singers like Pat Boone on vinyl.

Little Richard  was not much of a businessman and was paid only half a cent a record, which was a very low return. He played to segregated audiences, but he was so popular and so electric that white teenagers broke the color barrier to get into his shows in Black clubs. As Richard said, “My music broke down the walls of segregation.” He mentions Fats Domino and Blueberry Hill, as well as Bo Diddly and B.B. King and others who followed.

Little Richard used make-up and said “I don’t give a damn what they think.” But, ultimately, he lived in a constant state of contradiction because of his religious upbringing and would try to go ‘straight’ multiple times. These were the days of Emmet Till (Sept. 2, 1955) and Richard wanted “the capacity to own the right to be in the world.”

As Bo and Richard said, “We built a hell of a highway and people are still driving on it. And they ain’t paying for it!”

Various singers like Tom Jones, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards pay tribute to Little Richard, who also helped the Beatles out when they were just starting out.

Then, Richard withdrew from rock and roll and enrolled at Oakwood College, a Black conservatory. He thought his music was the devil’s music, and a comet or Sputnik going overhead made him think the world might be coming to an end. He even married Ernestine Harvin, a fellow student, in Los Angeles. She described him as “positive, loving and caring” as a husband.

Richard toured in 1962 on a bill in London with Jet Harris and Sam Cooke. It was in Liverpool that he would meet the Beatles and Billy Preston in Hamburg at the Star Club. English bands, at that time, were very static, but Mick and the boys learned from Little Richard.

In 1964 Little Richard was on “American Bandstand” and, in fact, Dick Clark would organize the only testimonial awards tribute to Little Richard very late in his career, after he returned to music from spreading the word of God. Richard was described as “generous” and “so real” and he spoke up and told the world, at the 1989 induction of Otis Reddng into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, “He’s the root of all this.” Richard would also say, “I feel so real. I feel so unnecessary.”

It can truthfully be said that Little Richard paved the way for everything that followed.

The documentary director previously worked on “All in the Fight for Democracy,” a documentary about Stacey Abrams. She said she wants to “Explore figures and people who move things forward and are a continuation of how change is possible.” She gave credit to  Gus Wynner (“Rolling Stone”) for their partnership and said that the documentary took 18 months to make.

For instance, Ernestine Penniman, Richard’s one-time love, was said to be dead, but came forward when the film was in post production.  The family, when they finally saw the finished product, said, “You did Richard right.”

She sure did. It’s a terrific documentary and one of the best things at SXSW this year.

Rolling Stones Rock Soldier Field on Friday, June 21st, 2019

The Rolling Stones on June 21st, 2019 at Soldier Field.


The Rolling Stones played for the 8th time at Soldier Field on Friday night, June 21st, beginning at 7:30 p.m. with the lead-in act, St. Paul and the Broken Bones from Alabama.

Before arriving at the venue, we were told not to bring large purses. Specific dimensions were sent and a suggestion was made that we use quart-sized plastic bags. All metal objects had to be placed in trays as we went through metal detectors up front. I was able to get my plastic bag contents down to cash, one credit card, my cell phone, my small camera,

We were waaay up in the stadium and these were taken with a Canon PowerShot with a 40 zoom.

and opera glasses (that turned out to be useless). Tickets in the nosebleed section were $69.50 and we climbed a long time. (I told my husband, “I’ll just keep climbing until I pass out.”)

The booths selling shirts and the like ($45 for a regular tee shirt; $85 for a hooded sweatshirt) were set up in a particularly problematic way. You  could barely walk through to get to your section because of the presence of several tables selling merchandise.

Mick Jagger.

Finally, we climbed to the 18th row in the highest section. The night was cool and rain threatened, but the four things that amazed me most about the concert this night were as follows: (1) Mick Jagger definitely is in amazing shape for someone his age (75, born July 26, 1943) (2) Jagger is back from the heart surgery that had originally postponed this concert date, but was re-programmed for the original date shortly after he had stents placed in his heart (3) my new small camera (Canon Powershot) with a 40 zoom did a pretty fair job of getting pictures from this far away and (4) how far other concert-

Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.

goers had come to hear the Rolling Stones. We heard Germany, England, New York, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis and everyone around us was from out-of-town. In fact, following the concert, we had to provide directions to a gentleman who was to meet his friends at Scout bar on Wabash and Michigan and had little idea how to get back there.

Mick shared that the Stones had played Soldier Field 8 times and Chicago 38 times over the years since 1964. Only 2 of the songs were from later than 1981. Which, as the Chicago Tribune noted, is exactly what the vast majority of fans paid to see.

Other musicians assisting the band included keyboardist Charlie Leavell and Chicago born bassist Darryl Jones ably backing the Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood).

The Rolling Stones, June 21, 2019.

Since 1998, the stones have produced only 2 studio albums, yet they play their hits differently each night. I can vouch for this, having seen them for the first time in 1982 in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at Northern Iowa University and, after that, during the Steel Wheels tour, the Bridges to Babylon tour (2x), the VooDoo Lounge tour, the Tattoo You tour, twice inside the United Center (one of them the No Security tour) and at the Indianapolis Speedway in 2015, as well as tonight’s No Filter tour. Mick had never danced more and I had never seen Charlie Watts AND Keith Richards smile more onstage.

Mick Jagger.

To me, tracking the band in person for 37 years, Keith Richards looked the most changed. Something about the expanse of forehead looked very different. The joke about Keith is that he has looked like he is at death’s door for at least 40 years. He really did look different to me, tonight, and his comment when he spoke was, “I’m happy to be anywhere.”

Keith (Richards) and Mick Jagger onstage.

The Stones have weathered sixties drug busts, seventies heroin addictions, the Jagger/Richards split during the eighties, Keith’s brain surgery after he fell out of a tree in 2006 and, now, Mick’s heart surgery (stents) in March. They sound as good as ever, and Mick danced more, if possible, than I’ve ever seen him, in a “Look! I’m still standing!” move. It was a great show! Even the weather cooperated. The downside was that it took us a full hour to walk across the street from the stadium.

Their play list this night was as follows:

1) Street Fighting Man

2) Let’s Spend the Night Together

3)  Tumbling Dice

4)  Sad Sad Sad

“Brown Sugar,” Mick Jagger.

5)  You Got Me Rocking

6)  You Can’t Always Get What You Want

7)  Angie

8)  Dead Flowers

9)  Sympathy for the Devil

Charlie Watts.

10)  Honky Tonk Woman

11)  You Got the Silver

12)  Before They Make Me Run

13)  Miss You

14)  Paint it Black

15)  Midnight Rambler

Mick Jagger.

16)  Start Me Up

17)  Jumpin’ Jack Flash

18)  Brown Sugar


19)  Gimme Shelter

Ronnie Wood.

20)  I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Mick, center stage.

Keith Richards

Mick, far left.


The Rolling Stones Rock the United Center in Chicago on May 28, 2013

The Rolling Stones backdrop for “Honky Tonk Woman” in Chicago.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form] Chicago, ILThe Rolling Stones played the first of 3 shows in Chicago’s United Center on Tuesday May 28th, 2013. Despite the power outage to 21,000 Chicago residents caused by severe weather in the Chicago area, the Stones had plenty of power: power riffs from guitar greats Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and frontman power from perennial hipster Mick Jagger.

Mick Jagger, dancing non-stop, onstage at the United Center in Chicago on May 28, 2013.

Jagger gave a senior class in aerobics for the almost-70 (in July) set that went on, uninterruptedly, for 2 and ½ hours, despite starting nearly 45 minutes late. He defied both age and the tornado-like weather that dumped at least 2 inches of rain on the area just before 8 p.m. showtime. Flash flood warnings were issued for the area and a small tornado touched down in the western suburbs.

Mick Jagger on the lip-shaped stage he prowled during the Tuesday night (May 31) show.

Opening with “Hey, You, Get Off Of My Cloud,” a song popular in 1963), Mick Jagger appeared onstage wearing a black sparkly jacket (with tails) and continued to give a senior seminar in “How to Continue Rocking for 50 Years” by never slowing down during the entire show.

Film of the very young Jagger and Richards was projected on the large screen behind the stage, along with clips of other music greats.

The second song on the band’s play list was “It’s Only Rock & Roll” followed by “Paint It Black,” which led to a brief break where Mick Jagger referred to the United Center as “The house that M.J. built,” meaning Michael Jackson.

Opening of the concert: “Hey, You, Get Of Of My Cloud.” May 28, 2013. Tuesday. Chicago’s United Center.

Nearly every major hit the band has recorded (minus,for me, “Time Is On Our Side”) was performed in this first of 3 shows with ticket prices of $150 to $600 a ticket. One of the best sequences featured the band playing “Wild Horses.” It featured filmed tributes to many greats projected on the screen behind the band, including Leadbelly, B.B.King, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Elvis Presley, the Staple Singers, Howlin’ Wolf, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Charles “Bird” Parker, Merle Haggard, Miles Davis, Little Walter, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Sonny Rollins, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Little Richard and Tina Turner.

The show continued for an entertaining 150 minutes with hits like “Honky Tonk Woman, “Brown Sugar,” “Midnight Rambler,” “Miss You,” “Paint it Black,” “Sympathy for the Devil” (with Mick wearing a boa feather decorated cape), “Start Me Up,” and “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

I’ve seen the Rolling Stones at least 13 times; the lack of camaraderie between Mick and Keith was never more apparent than at this show. Still, name another band still going this strong after 50 years.
See them while you can, because nobody lives forever.

“Shine A Light” Shines A Light on the Rolling Stones

Shine A Light One of my favorite parts of Martin Scorsese’s documentary film focusing on the Rolling Stones occurs before the music even starts. Mick Jagger calls up Scorsese to express his concern over the large tracking cameras that will be used (nearly 24 cameras were employed in the filming) and whether they will intrude on the audience’s appreciation of their benefit concert for Bill Clinton’s foundation at the Beacon Theater in New York.

Filmed in 2006, the small ornate venue offered a great deal more intimacy than the Stones’ stadium shows, which generally seat thousands. (The only small show I attended, the “No Security” tour, took place at the United Center in Chicago; my friend was hit in the head by a drumstick that Charlie Watts pitched into the crowd and still managed not to catch it! Charlie’s drumsticks, I can report, have his name burned into the side, so they would have made a great souvenir, but it was not to be, despite my friend’s goose-egg on her forehead. I remember saying, “Didn’t you ever play softball?”)

As a long-time Stones fan, I have seen them “live” on every tour since 1982. “Steel Wheels” was the best, when I saw them in Ames, Iowa. An absolutely awesome experience. That tour was followed by the “Voodoo Lounge” tour (Chicago), the “Bridges to Babylon” tour (2x, Ames and Minneapolis), a smaller more intimate show in Chicago at the United Center dubbed the “No Security” tour, and their most recent outing two times in Chicago, “A Bigger Bang.” [I will say that I have never been colder in my life than at the fall Soldier Field concert this last time. Elvis Costello opened for the Stones this last time ( opening acts I have seen include Lenny Kravitz, Blues Traveler, and the Goo Goo Dolls, among others.]

Scorsese is noticeably frazzled on film by the Stones’ failure to know exactly what the order of their set is going to be until the last minute. We see shots of Mick on an airplane, going over the set list and then shots of Scorsese being given a “late-breaking” bulletin of the order of the songs. He wants to know so he can have the right camera in the right place at the right time, but, like the rest of us, he is clueless until the concert actually begins.

Scorsese really gets in close on the band, wrinkles and all, with Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (“The Aviator,” “J.F.K.”) overseeing a nineteen-person team boasting three multiple Oscar winners in addition to Albert Maysles. Albert Maysles and his brother, David, made the Stones’ tour documentary “Gimme Shelter” in 1969, which became famous for the Hell’s Angels incident (the Hell’s Angels were hired to provide “security”) that caused the death of an audience member.

The Stones perform 19 songs, delivering some seldom-performed gems like “She Was Hot,” “All Down the Line,” and a country-flavored “Loving Cup,” which was a duet with Jack White of the White Stripes. Jagger also brought out Christina Aguilera to duet with him on “Live With Me,” which involved a bumping and grinding dance, with Christina clad in what appeared to be black tights and a man’s shirt, wearing a black formal tux tie loosely draped around her neck, untied. Another guest performing onstage was Buddy Guy, blues icon from Chicago, who sang “Champagne & Reefer” with Mick.

My favorite parts of the IMAX film involved the old archival footage of the Stones being interviewed as young men just starting out in the business. Charlie Watts, now the white-haired grizzled drummer, talks in his salad days about how he would have liked to have been a painter, but didn’t have the vision, so he could only aspire to be a “designer” (if he hadn’t become a member of the band). I would have enjoyed three times the quantity of “clips” of the early Stones that Scorsese included, but he’s the Oscar-winning director, and I’m just an audience member who is fascinated by strolling down memory lane.( I couldn’t help but compare the scarcity of clips with a brilliant documentary on Freddie Mercury I saw at the Chicago Film Festival this past fall that had ten times the amount of personal clips.) I also enjoyed the classics included like “Brown Sugar,” “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” (the Stones’ first Number One hit in this country back in 1965) and “Start Me Up.”

Also interesting was the appearance of the Clintons (yes, those Clintons), Bill, Hillary and Hillary’s mother, who came onstage before the show to introduce the Stones. Bill announced that, for his sixtieth birthday, he wanted to “open for the Stones” and, by introducing them, he got his wish. The Clintons had at least 30 family members and friends present in the lower balcony of the small theater. Since the “f” bomb was unleashed at least three or four times during the concert, and Mick’s dancing has always been suggestive, I couldn’t help but think that, —if the tables were turned, and Obama played as dirty as Hillary in her campaigning—-Obama would be mentioning the Clintons participation in the concert with a holier-than-thou attitude, tsk-tsking all the way to the polls. (It’s certainly what Hillary has done with the Reverend Wright and his Wrong-headed ranting.)

A friend of mine, with whom I play Trivia in Pub Quiz (a British chat room online) told a story of meeting Charlie Watts and his Mrs., along with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood (and families) at a posh restaurant in London one night. He described Charlie Watts as being as nice as could be, and described Ronnie and Keith as “borrowing” the waiters’ jackets and passing a cheese tray, to the amusement of their party.

I still remember walking through what was then the Union’s “River Room” at the University of Iowa in 1963 and hearing “Hey, You! Get Offa’ My Cloud” blasting from an old style juke box with colored lights. The Stones signed with Decca Records that year, later touring the United Kingdom with the Everly Brothers and Bo Diddley. In 1964, the Stones released their first album, “England’s Newest Hit Makers.” They also toured the United States for the first time that year and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In 1971, Rolling Stones Records released the “Sticky Fingers” LP, with a cover design by Andy Warhol that is now iconic. The Stones received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. The “Bigger Bang” tour of 2005 grossed half a billion dollars, with paid attendance of 4.68 billion, according to George Varga’s “Mature Focus'” May issue (p.56), and I attended two of those “live” concerts.

During their long career, the Stones have undertaken some fantastic tours and released notable albums. In the sixties it was:” The Rolling Stones, Now!” followed by “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” Beggars Banquet,” “Let It Bleed.” In the seventies, with “Sticky Fingers” “Exile on Main Street” and “It’s Only Rock & Roll”, the Stones were still hot. The eighties brought us “Some Girls” (the Stones sang at least 3 of the songs from the album during the IMAX event), “Emotional Rescue,” “Tattoo You,” and “Still Life.”

The latest release from the Kings of Rock & Roll and the greatest arena band ever is the soundtrack to the film “Shine A Light,” (now showing at an IMAX Theater near you.) I admire the fact that Keith, Mick, Charlie and Ronnie ( assisted by the nine members in their touring ensemble group, such as Lisa Fisher of Brooklyn) have let it all hang out in the aging department. After seeing the horror-show that now is Kenny Rogers’ face, I appreciate the fact that the Stones still enjoy what they are doing, do it well, don’t seem to have lost a step, and are letting themselves mature naturally. When you see Mick Jagger doing his chicken-on-acid dancing, non-stop, while wearing a long blue-black coat that seems to have been made of ostrich feathers, never stopping to rest, it is difficult to believe that the man was 62 when this was filmed.

As for Martin Scorsese’s filming them onstage at the Beacon Theatre in 2006, who better than the man who was assistant director of the Oscar-winning documentary “Woodstock” forty years ago, and also directed “The Last Waltz,” the story of The Band’s 1976 all-star farewell performance?

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