The Rolling Stones play first ever public gig without Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones paid tribute to Charlie Watts at the start of their first No Filter US Tour date
(Image credit: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones have played their first public gig since the passing of Charlie Watts, kicking-off the postponed US leg of the No Filter tour in St Louis with much-loved session drummer Steve Jordan behind the kit.

The band took to the stage at The Dome, St Louis last night, following an opening scene where a drum beat (played by Steve Jordan) filled the arena, and photos of Charlie Watts were displayed on the stage screens before the band launched into Street Fighting Man.

“I just want to say that it made me quite emotional seeing those pictures of Charlie up on the screen” Jagger, flanked by Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards told the audience after second song, It’s Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I like it).

“This is our first tour we’ve ever done without him, so I think the reaction from you guys and all the things you’ve said and we’ve heard from you has been very touching. I want to thank you very much for all your wishes

“We all miss Charlie so much, both on stage and off the stage. We’d like to dedicate this tour to Charlie.”

Playing a black Gretsch roundbadge kit (it’s unclear as to whether the kit was Charlie Watts’) with his rack tom mounted on a snare stand, along with his trademark oversized hi-hats, Steve Jordan propelled the Rolling Stones through a hit-packed, 19-song set that also included You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Start Me Up, Honkey Tonk Women, Midnight Rambler and more, closing with Satisfaction. 

The first official date of the tour follows a private warm-up gig last week, which was held to an invited audience of just 300 people at the Gillette Stadium on Foxboro, Massachusetts. 

The event was organised by the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, marking Steve Jordan’s first outing with the band.

“It’s a bit of a poignant night for us. This is our first tour in 59 years that we’ve done without our lovely Charlie Watts. We all miss Charlie so much. We miss him as a band. We miss him as friends, on and off the stage.

We’ve got so many memories of Charlie. I’m sure some of you that have seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well. I hope you’ll remember him like we do. We’d like to dedicate this show to Charlie.”

Charlie Watts passed away in August following complications from unspecified surgery. Steve Jordan had already been announced as his replacement for the then-upcoming tour before Watts' death on the 24 August.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.