The Rolling Stones, those grand old men of rock and roll, have announced the dates for their new tour – and it marks their first UK gigs without drummer Charlie Watts

When and where?

The Stones’ European tour kicks off in Madrid on Wednesday June 1. But the dates which will have British fans of the long-serving rockers cooing come a little later in the month. First up is Liverpool, on Thursday June 9. The band last played the city of The Beatles 50 years ago – they rolled into town in March 1971, shortly before the release of Sticky Fingers, for a gig at the city’s Empire Theatre in March 1971. This time the venue is slightly larger: Anfield Stadium, home to the mighty Liverpool FC. That’s followed by two performances a little over a week apart at London’s Hyde Park, on Saturday June 25 and Sunday July 3. A presale for Rolling Stones uber-fans commences at 10am on Wednesday March 16. A general sale begins on Friday March 18, and tickets are priced at £79.95.

And why?

Well, because they’re the Rolling Stones, and playing to sell-out crowds in sports stadiums is what they do, and have done for decades. But this tour has more resonance than others. Firstly, it celebrates the band’s 60th anniversary, which is why the tour is called Sixty. The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 around the core of old school friends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and played their first gig at London’s legendary Marquee Club on July 12 of that year. Second, it will be the first UK dates without Watts, who died last August aged 80. It’s also worth noting that the second Hyde Park date will come 53 years to the day after the death of original Stones guitarist Brian Jones – two days later the Stones played to over a quarter of a million people as headline act at a free festival in (wait for it) Hyde Park. As a tribute to Jones, Jagger read Adonais, a poem by Percy Shelley about the death of his friend John Keats, and hundreds of white butterflies were released.

Who’s standing in for Charlie?

Steve Jordan, at 65 a relative spring chicken compared to the rest of the band, will be the man with the sticks and a bird’s eye view of Mick Jagger’s wiggling bahookie. It isn’t his first time backing the Stones: the New Yorker performed with the band at their US dates last year following Watts’ death, and he has been a fixture of Keith Richards’ side project X-Pensive Winos since the late 1980s.

Anything else?

As well as a new drummer the band have a new logo – or rather an update of their famous tongue image, this one up-dated by award-winning British designer Mark Norton.

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