Mick Jagger has stagecraft aplenty. He owns the stage from the opening numbers (Get Off of My Cloud and It’s Only Rock and Roll) and never lets up, save a couple of numbers where he sits down to rest and lets Keith Richards sing and play. The Stones, the background singers, the choir, the other guitarists adding their bit, the horn players — all of them are there to support Mick.
What can we learn from this indefatigable performer?
Jagger knows exactly where he is at every moment. There is not a wasted gesture, move, or step. He knows where the other Stones are, where the spotlight is, and most of all what the audience is doing. He’s probably the most self-aware performer we”ve ever witnessed. He’s a complete pro. So many speakers resist rehearsal because they don’t want to get stale. Jagger shows how counter-productive that attitude is.
It’s all in service to the audience. Every gesture reaches out to the audience. Every step is toward the audience, when he’s singing. And when he’s not singing, instead of stepping back, he’s working the thrust stage, interacting with the audience. His focus is unrelenting. It may only be rock and roll, but for Mick Jagger, it’s business, and he takes it seriously. He rarely smiled during the performance, and the between-song chat is minimal. He’s self-aware, but he’s always focused on the audience.
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