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Rolling Stones hit NY for 50th anniversary gig

  • Ronnie Woods, left, and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    Ronnie Woods, left, and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Keith Richards, left, and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    Keith Richards, left, and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Ronnie Woods, from left, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    Ronnie Woods, from left, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Ronnie Woods, left, and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
  • Keith Richards, left, and Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
  • Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
  • Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
  • Ronnie Woods, from left, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
  • Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform in concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

It sure didn’t feel like a farewell.

The Rolling Stones – average age 68, if you’re counting – were in rollicking form as they rocked the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for 2½ hours Saturday night, their first U.S. show on a mini-tour marking a mind-boggling 50 years as a rock band.

And though every time the Stones tour, the inevitable questions arise as to whether it’s “The Last Time,” to quote one of their songs, there was no sign that anything is ending.

“People say, why do you keep doing this?” mused Mick Jagger, the band’s impossibly energetic frontman, before launching into “Brown Sugar.” “Why do you keep touring, coming back? The answer is, you’re the reason we’re doing this. Thank you for buying our records and coming to our shows for the last 50 years.”

Jagger was in top form, with all of his usual swagger — strutting, jogging, skipping and pumping his arms like a man half his age. And though he briefly donned a flamboyant feathered black cape for “Sympathy for the Devil” and later, some red-sequined tails, he was mostly content to prowl the stage in a tight black T-shirt and trousers.

The four grizzled rock icons – Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and of course drummer Charlie Watts, were joined Saturday by singer Mary J. Blige, who sang a searing “Gimme Shelter” with Jagger, and the Texas blues guitarist Gary Parker Jr.

The band played a generous 23 songs, including two new ones, but mostly old favorites. The rousing encore included “Jumping Jack Flash,” of course, but the final song was “Satisfaction.” And though the song speaks of not getting any, the consensus of the packed 18,000-seat arena was that it was a hugely satisfying evening indeed.

“If you like the Stones, this was as good a show as you could have had,” said one fan, Robert Nehring, 58, of Westfield, N.J.

The Brooklyn show followed two rapturously received shows in London late last month. The band also will play two shows in Newark, N.J., on Dec. 13 and 15. Before that, they will join a veritable who’s who of British rock royalty and U.S. superstars at the blockbuster 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden.

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