When interviewing Keith Richards in early January 1989 ostensibly about his solo album Talk is Cheap, I was repeatedly reminded by his delightful publicist Jane Rose not to ask about the 900 pound gorilla in the studio: the Rolling Stones, and Richards’ long and very public estrangement from Mick Jagger then which had rendered the band up on blocks, for both recording and touring, for the bulk of the Eighties.
When I prefaced a question for Keith by acknowledging that the Rolling Stones’ future was uncertain, he coyly responded,” Oh really? Is that true?”, followed knowingly by a raspy laugh.
“Well, you should know,” I said, caught quite off guard. “What can you tell me?”
Richards lowered his voice, sober now, and said quite definitively,” I think that 1989 will be a very big year for the Stones.” True to his prediction nine months earlier, Keef & Company released Steel Wheels , the first new Rolling Stones studio album in a half decade, and kicked off their first tour since 1981-82 on August 31, 1989 in Philadelphia.
Paul McCartney had decided the same thing that year, as well, & together they revitalized the whole concert industry with effects remaining to this day ( coincidentally, both McCartney and The Stones are touring now). The importance of this decision to reunite, & thesubsequent “Steel Wheels” album & tour which started 8/31 thirty years ago, cannot be overstated.
Here is “Mixed Emotions” by The Rolling Stones live from the start of that momentous tour. –Redbeard