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Will The Rolling Stones Expand Their Tour? A Point-By-Point Examination

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(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones recently announced that they’ll take their 50th anniversary tour to Brooklyn on December 8th, bringing the grand total to a measly five shows in three cities. That leaves many fans around the world screaming, “I can’t get no satisfaction!”

But there is a question burning inside all Stones fans waiting to be answered: Will the band continue their 50th anniversary tour past those select dates? A compelling case can be made that it will.

Unfortunately, it can also be argued that Mick, Keith and the boys will call it quits after five shows. Point by point, we break down the chances of a continuation of The Rolling Stones’ “50 And Counting…” tour.

They Have A History

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The Rolling Stones are known for their extensive touring. Their first: The Rolling Stones British Tour 1963, lasted one leg from September 29, 1963 to November 3rd of that year and included 60 shows. The most most recent: A Bigger Bang lasted for two years, from August of ’05 to August of ’07, included eight legs and a total of 147 shows. They aren’t exactly slowly down in their old age.

BUT…

Things Have Changed

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The Rolling Stones typically have a huge staff accompanying them on tour, including a backing band and an elaborate stage with pyrotechnics. In order for them to turn a profit, they are required to stay on the road for a lengthy amount of time.

The Stones are scaling it back this time around. The band will include the four of them – Jagger, Richards, Wood and Watts – plus bass (Darryl Jones), keyboards (Chuck Leavell), sax (Bobby Keys), as well as appearances from Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman. They’ve also noted their stage setup won’t be as elaborate as it has in the past. Less of a production, the more money that can be made in a shorter amount of time.

Keith Richards Said So (Sort of)

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Would Keith Richards lie? He certainly didn’t hold back in his best-selling memoir, Life, inciting a feud between himself and Jagger, who admitted if Richards didn’t come forward and apologize that the 50th anniversary tour would have never happened.

Richards was recently quoted saying, “Without saying yes or nay, once this starts rolling, I can’t see it stopping. The band feels good about themselves, they still feel they’ve got something to offer. Obviously there are a lot of people out there who agree. We’ll go along with it.”

BUT…

They Have Commitment Issues

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Getting the band to confirm any plans is like getting Jagger to commit to one woman all those years ago. The first portion of Richards’ quote – “without saying yes or nay” – leaves room for the band to back out. It’s like saying “yes” with your fingers crossed behind your back.

Classic move. Remember when they said earlier this year that they *may not* play any shows in 2012?

Three Cities? For Your 50th? Come On!

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What kind of party is that? 50 years is the golden anniversary and you don’t give the wife (the fans) a wimpy “thank you” card for such a monumental occasion. The Stones can print as many photo books and green-light as many documentaries as they like, but fans won’t be happy unless they get what the Stones have been delivering for the past 50 years: a hard-rocking show that gets delivered to a town near you.

Besides, the band said earlier this year that they considered 2013 a more accurate mark of 50 years. So are they saving the big blowout for next year? Possibly, hopefully…

BUT…

They’re Really Old

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No matter how brash and bold these gentleman act, they aren’t the young thoroughbreds we grew up with. The baby of the bunch is Ronnie Wood, who is 65 years old (just months away from being able to receive full social security benefits here in America). Richards and Jagger are 68 and 69, respectively, and Watts is the elder statesman at 71.

Watts’ back doesn’t hold up like it used to. To tour at any length would require on site massage therapy and chiropractic care. Additionally, Rolling Stone suggested earlier this year that Richards’ health is a concern.

Essentially, the Rolling Stones are no spring chickens.

So will The Rolling Stones continue their tour past their planned five scheduled shows? Evidence for each side is pretty strong, so only time will tell.

- E.J. Judge, WCBS-FM; photos by Getty Images

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