26 Nov 2012

Rolling Stones launch anniversary tour

10:21 pm on 26 November 2012

The Rolling Stones returned to the London stage on Sunday night in the first of five concerts to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were joined by their original bass player Bill Wyman at the 02 arena.

Richards joked with the audience: "We made it. I'm happy to see you. I'm happy to see anybody," the BBC reports.

Guest stars included Mick Taylor who played lead guitar on Midnight Rambler. Taylor was in the Stones from 1969 to 1974.

Mary J Blige duetted with Jagger on Give Me Shelter.

"It's amazing that we're still doing this, and it's amazing that you're still buying our records and coming to our shows," Jagger said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The BBC says the show began with a brief video tribute from the likes of Elton John, Iggy Pop and Johnny Depp.

The band played 23 songs including some of their rarely-played early numbers such as It's All Over Now and their cover version of the Beatles' I Wanna Be Your Man. They also played classics such as Paint It Black and Jumping Jack Flash.

The Stones showed a montage video of their big influences such as Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.

The series of gigs marks 50 years since the band first appeared in a small London club determined to pay homage to the masters of American blues.

There will be one more concert in London, followed by three in the greater New York area.