Charlie Watts should have charged admission.
His Audience of One, otherwise known as Mr. Keith Richards, surely could have afforded it.
The sight of Richards digging Watts and his pre-concert, dancing-in-place warmup routine from many years gone by is now playing on YouTube accounts across the universe. It’s made all the more poignant, of course, by the sad news this week of Watts’ passing from this temporal sphere at the age of 80.
How Richards will go on without his Partner in Crime and Riddums will be on display for all the world to see in a matter of months, when what’s left of the Oldest Show on Earth, otherwise known as the Rollin’ Stones, goes on tour yet again, but this time without Watts and his lovely stick work.
Someone much wiser than me once said that grief is the price we pay for love, and it is a price I am most willing to pay for the decades I have loved Charlie Watts and his drumming. But it hurts, baby!
Much more steep will be Keith Richards’ final bill of sale, Richards having loved and appreciated Watts’ inestimable gift to him, his bandmates and to us for something in the range of 60 years right about now.
To paraphrase Keith’s old running buddy, author Stanley Booth from Waycross, Georgia, there ain’t enough drugs on this planet to cover up the feelings from this deep a loss.
But for Keith, playing with the Stones was always the best medicine, and here’s hoping that seeing them one more time, in this age of Boomer Mortality, will do same for the rest of us.
We will miss you, Charlie, but we have all those drum beats on record to dig, which will surely keep us in good time and spirit till we someday see you again in that rockin’ Stadium in the Sky.
Until then, keeps those hips shakin’, baby!
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.