By Anita Stewart, Managing Editor and Photos by Chyrisse Tabone, Editor
Live Review: Ghost Hounds and The Rolling Stones at Raymond James Stadium on October 29, 2021
On this Halloween weekend with intermittent rain, the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour with special guest Ghost Hounds rolled into Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, a venue rich with sports and rock and roll history.
Security was super tight, and a quick scan of the crowd revealed most concert goers were Gen Xers and older. The Pittsburgh-based Ghost Hounds have been opening for the Stones this fall as they did in 2019. That same year, the band also toured with ZZ Top and Bob Seger. Rock at Night has been covering the band since 2019. You can find our review of their latest LP release A Little Calamity HERE. And we did an interview with lead guitarist, Johnny Baab in August–you can check that out HERE. The songwriters for the band are Thomas Tull, the guitarist and founding member and Kevin Bowe.
The band opened with “Fire Under Water” and continued with “Roses are Black” and “Til’ It’s Gone,” a country-rock number that showcased lead singer Tré Nation’s incredible vocals.”Someone Just for Me“and “Sleight of Hand“ from A Little Calamity were next. One number we heard “We’re Through” was unfamiliar to us. (Possibly a new song?) “Devil Woman” by Cliff Richard was the only cover in the set. “Between Me and the Devil,” an homage to Robert Johnson, was definitely my favorite song from the whole set–classic rock and roll with some blues thrown in. If you haven’t seen the accompanying video for this song, be sure to check it out! Rounding out the amazing set were “Half My Fault,” “Good Old Days,” and “A Little Calamity,” the title track of the latest album.
The guitarists, Thomas Tull and Johnny Baab, rocked the house, with Tré Nation being the perfect front man with smooth lyrics and always in constant motion. The other band members consisted of Bennett Miller on bass, Blaise Lanzetta on drums and Joe Munroe on the keys–all remarkable musicians. Totally in sync with the spooky vibes of the weekend, Rock at Night’s editor/photographer Chyrisse Tabone noticed mysterious orbs in a few photos during post-production–most appropriate for Halloween weekend!
The Stones punctually took the stage and lavished the audience with a remarkable set of iconic standards, including “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Start Me Up,” “Paint it Black,” and “Honky Tonk Woman,” with “Gimme Shelter” and “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” as the encore. Before each performance on this tour, fans had a chance to vote for one out of four songs to be played live for that next upcoming performance. I voted for the old country song “Far Away Eyes,” and the band played it! It was a stellar performance, bolstered by a familiar constellation of stellar sidemen, including Tim Ries on sax and keys, Karl Denson on sax, Steve Jordan on drums, Chuck Leavell and Matt Clifford on keys, the backing vocalist Sasha Allen, Darryl Jones on bass, percussion and French horn and Bernard Fowler on vocals and percussion.
The sky opened up a few short times during both bands’ performances and a few people moved into the overhang areas to stay dry–but the slight misty rain did not last long. I knew Keith Richards was probably backstage before the band’s set using his famous magical-hoodoo rain stick featured in the Stones’ tour film Ole, Ole, Ole. UK tabloid The Mirror has documented that he uses this rain stick regularly before shows to keep bad weather at bay. It must have worked this night!
Reminiscing about their first time in the Bay area decades earlier, Jagger mused, “We played four songs and then got kicked off the stage.” In that episode, the band decamped back to the Jack Tar Hotel in nearby Clearwater and promptly wrote the iconic “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” a song whose lyrics were deemed too sexually suggestive at that time. “Now the hotel belongs to the Church of Scientology,” Jagger said. “We heard they had to ritually cleanse the site of our pernicious influence.”