The Rolling Stones tour took the time to make a Sunday excursion to Detroit.
Guitarist Ronnie Wood and bassist Darryl Jones were part of a group of around 30 who visited in the afternoon at the Motown Museum not far from Ford Field, where the Stones are playing tonight. The entourage also included keyboardist and music director Chuck Leavell, drummer Steve Jordan and backing vocalists Bernard Fowler and Sasha Allen, in addition to management and team members.
Museum development director Paul Barker, who led the visit, told UCR arrangements had been made the day before, with the two sides contacting each other jointly. “They said they had been planning the date for a while. They really wanted to see the museum,” Barker said.
The museum is closed at the moment due to the construction of a multi-million dollar extension, so the Stones group entered through a backdoor. “They told us that this leg of the tour had been a bit … difficult [due to COVID-19 protocols] and they couldn’t go out and do anything social, “Barker says.” It’s the only thing they hoped to do and really had to do. We were happy to welcome them. They were a joy. “
Some fans have gathered outside, suspecting the Rolling Stones of wanting to visit the iconic site. The tour group arrived around 3 p.m., preceded by security, and stayed for over an hour. A highlight came with a stop at Studio A, where several of Motown’s biggest hits were recorded. Leavell performed “My Girl” from the Temptations on the old Steinway grand piano, with Fowler and Allen on vocals and others joining the chorus, dancing around the studio.
Barker says Wood and the others were full of questions during the visit. “They wanted to know, ‘Has this session been cut here? Or if it was true that Martha [Reeves] started working at Motown [as a secretary] then became a singer. This is the room that I love. It doesn’t matter if you are a Rolling Stone or a Utah Joe, people love this moment of discovery. They want to learn something new that they haven’t seen in books or movies or whatever. “
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have visited the museum before, so they did not attend, but their respective personal directors did. Jagger took to the streets of Detroit instead, visiting a Stevie Wonder mural painted on the side of a local theater a few blocks from where the Stones will be performing. He posted a photo on his social media accounts.
Tonight’s show, meanwhile, could give Jagger an opportunity to respond to derogatory comments from Who’s Roger Daltrey, who recently named Jagger as “the # 1 rock and roll artist” but described the Rolling Stones as “a mediocre pub band.” Daltrey added that he meant “no disrespect”, acknowledging that “the Stones wrote great songs.… I love them. I just think they’re great entertainment.”
Jagger memorably retaliated several weeks ago after Paul McCartney called the Stones a “blues cover band”, urging the former Beatles star to “join us for a later blues cover” at a subsequent performance in Los Angeles.
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