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Counterfeit Stones/Swan Theatre, Worcester
ONE moment these geezers came across as barely coherent yobs with attitude, the next they adopted the persona of poverty-stricken black sharecroppers in America’s Deep South.
You’ve got to hand it to the original bad boys of rock. We gladly agreed to be fooled and never regretted a single moment… Fifty years after Mick and Keith met on a train and decided to pool their mutual musical interests, Steve Elson’s rocking and rolling clones are back on the road with their 19th Bogus Breakdown tour.
The Counterfeits chart the Rolling Stones’ progress from pub top room to stadium, from blues combo to becoming the greatest rock band in the world.
And they do it brilliantly – all the intros, lead guitar breaks and every single nuance is spot on. Keith’s love affair with open ‘G’ tuning is faithfully reproduced and, like Tumbling Dice, the songs pour forth… Honky Tonk Women, Start Me Up, Happy.
It’s strange how we once regarded Jagger’s inarticulate mumblings as personifying great insight into the human condition, Keith’s drug-addled ramblings as being akin to sermons from the mount and – going even further back – Brian’s schoolgirl drag act as representing the ultimate in male haute couture.
Predictably, Elson’s Jagger doesn’t take prisoners. He piles the whole story into one great glittering heap and slowly dismantles it, the shiny Italian suits of early days meeting the same fate as late 60s kaftans, beads and bells.
Yet it’s all done with the greatest respect and affection. For although this show may be outrageously tongue-in-cheek, these impostors quite obviously revere the originals.
Only rock ‘n’ roll? Not really… for the Counterfeits are many things besides and are probably even better than the real thing.