UPDATE 3-Rolling Stones turn back clock with hit-filled comeback

* Rolling Stones kick off mini-tour

* Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor join quartet on stage

* Mick Jagger jokes with fans over ticket prices

* Early reviews for show positive

(Writes through with full concert)

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones turned back

the clock in style on Sunday with their first concert in five

years, strutting and swaggering their way through hit after

familiar hit to celebrate 50 years in business.

Before a packed crowd of 20,000 at London's O2 Arena, they

banished doubts that age may have slowed down one of the world's

greatest rock and roll bands, as lead singer Mick Jagger

launched into "I Wanna Be Your Man".

More than two hours of high-octane, blues-infused rock

later, and they were still going strong with an impressive

encore comprising "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and

"Jumpin' Jack Flash".

In between there were guest appearances from American R&B

singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige, who delivered a rousing duet

with Jagger on "Gimme Shelter" and guitarist Jeff Beck who

provided the power chords for "I'm Going Down".

Former Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor were also

back in the fold, performing with the regular quartet of Jagger,

Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards on guitar and Charlie Watts on

drums for the first time in 20 years.

"It took us 50 years to get from Dartford to Greenwich!"

said Jagger, referring to their roots just a few miles from the

venue in southeast London. "But you know, we made it. What's

even more amazing is that you're still coming to see us...we

can't thank you enough."

The Sunday night gig was the first of two at the O2 Arena

before the band crosses the Atlantic to play three dates in the

United States.

The mini-tour is the culmination of a busy few months of

events, rehearsals and recordings to mark 50 years since the

rockers first took to the stage at the Marquee Club on London's

Oxford Street in July, 1962.

There has been a photo album, two new songs, a music video,

a documentary film, a blitz of media appearances and a handful

of warm-up gigs in Paris.

"STYLE AND PANACHE"

The reunion nearly did not happen. One factor behind the

long break since their record-breaking "A Bigger Bang" tour in

2007 has been Wood's struggle with alcohol addiction, while

Jagger and Richards also fell out over comments the guitarist

made about the singer in a 2010 autobiography.

But they eventually buried the hatchet, and Richards joked

in a recent interview: "We can't get divorced - we're doing it

for the kids!"

Critics were fulsome in their praise of the first comeback

gig.

"Keith Richards has said that the beauty of rock and roll is

that every night a different band might be the world's greatest.

Well, last night at the O2 Arena, it was the turn of the Rolling

Stones themselves to lay claim to the title they invented,"

wrote Neil McCormick of the Daily Telegraph.

"And they did it with some style and panache."

The big question on every fan's lips is whether the five

concerts lead to a world tour and even new material. The Stones

sang their two new tracks "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot",

which appeared on their latest greatest hits album "GRRR!".

Richards has hinted that the five concerts ending at the

Newark Prudential Center in the United States on Dec. 15 would

not be the last.

"Once the juggernaut starts rolling, it ain't gonna stop,"

he told Rolling Stone magazine. "So without sort of saying

definitely yes - yeah. We ain't doing all this for four gigs!"

The band has come in for criticism from fans about the high

price of tickets to the shows - they ranged from around 95

pounds ($150) to up to 950 pounds for a VIP seat.

The flamboyant veterans, whose average age is 68, have

defended the costs, saying the shows were expensive to put on,

although specialist music publication Billboard reported the

band would earn $25 million from the four shows initially

announced. A fifth was added later.

"Everybody all right there in the cheap seats," Jagger asked

pointedly as he looked high to his left at the arena. "They're

not really cheap though are they? That's the trouble."

Among the biggest cheers on the night were for classics

including "Wild Horses", "It's Only Rock and Roll" and "Start Me

Up".

There was even time for the odd reference to their advancing

years.

"Good to see you all," said Richards with a mischievous

grin. "Good to see anybody."

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

Most Popular in Business