71,000 fans gathered at Burl’s Creek in Oro-Medonte, about 90 minutes outside of Toronto, to celebrate Canada’s 152nd birthday with The Rolling Stones, along with Canadian bands The Glorious Sons, The Beaches, Sloan, One Bad Son and Dwayne Gretzky.
The Stones performance for Canada Rocks was their first in the area in six years, and the band showed no signs of age or, in the case of Mick Jagger’s recent surgery, slowing down. The Stones played the familiar favourites, like a show-starting ‘Street Fighting Man,’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ ‘Miss You,’ and many more. They also trotted out some relative rarities, like 1989’s ‘Sad Sad Sad’ from the Steel Wheels album, and the psychedelic ‘She’s A Rainbow,’ which was the winner of the online fan vote. For this fan, the highlight was a jammed-out ‘Midnight Rambler,’ featuring Jagger’s impeccable harmonica playing that kept the huge crowd riveted.
The Rolling Stones ended their set with a run of songs that are some of the greatest pieces of rock n roll ever created — ‘Start Me Up,’ ‘Brown Sugar,’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ closed the main portion, with encores of ‘Gimme Shelter’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ ending the show on an incredible high. With talk of a new studio album in the works, it’s doubtful this will be the last night Canada sees The Rolling Stones, but if it is, the band certainly went out with all the requisite fireworks.
The main stage featured sets from current Canadian favourites The Glorious Sons and The Beaches, the former of which had their own boisterous fans in the crowd, while the latter proved why they’re one of the country’s best up and coming bands. Though all of them are just into their 20s, The Beaches owned the massive stage like pros. If you haven’t listened to The Beaches yet, check out their debut album Late Show to hear just how good they are.
The SiriusXM Kick-Off stage features a day-opening set from One Bad Son, who delivered a surprise cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ to a good response. Sloan followed them and delivered an absolutely crowd-pleasing set of Canadian classics to the thousands gathered to watch them. Highlights included ‘Money City Maniacs,’ ‘Losing California,’ and ‘The Rest of My Life.’ The band played right to the very end of their allotted hour set time, closing with the alternative music classic, ‘Underwhelmed.’