After being forced to postpone their ‘No Filter’ North American tour due to Mick Jagger's heart surgery, the Rolling Stones kicked off their 2019 summer trek last night (June 21) with a performance at Soldier Field in Chicago.

They had to shake off some understandable early-show rust and sound issues. Jagger even admitted that first nights are always "a little wobbly," then proved it by forgetting to introduce longtime keyboardist Chuck Leavell, but he otherwise showed no signs that he was about to turn 75 in a month and had heart surgery two months ago. He was his usual energetic self, strutting across the stage, including the long walkway down the center and two shorter ones on the sides, throughout the entire show. The closest he came to acknowledging his health issues was saying that they loved Chicago so much that they decided to open here instead of Miami.

But the band found their groove after a stripped down mid-show set at the end of the center walkway, similar to the mini-stage on the Bridges to Babylon tour, and they finished with strong takes on "Midnight Rambler," "Start Me Up," and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." You can see the full set list and fan-shot video from the show below.

The set design was surprisingly stripped back. The elaborate concepts of the past (see the Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle and Voodoo Lounge sets) were replaced by four tall, rectangular video screens, with the outer ones angled to give those on the sides a better view. The only other adornment was a clear canopy over the stage, presumably in case of the rain that was expected, but never got beyond a drizzle before they took the stage. It was almost, to use a word rarely applied to the Stones, elegant.

 Watch the Rolling Stones Perform "Street Fighting Man"

St. Paul & the Broken Bones, a retro-soul band from Birmingham, Ala., that’s gotten a strong reputation in the past five years due to their energetic live show, kicked off the night with a strong 40-minute set. Frontman Paul Janeway wore a black, sequined cape and pulled out all the classic soul-man moves as his powerful voice, complete with a remarkable falsetto, led his band through songs reminiscent of Al Green fronting Earth, Wind & Fire. They closed with a cover of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” that concluded with Janeway writhing on the ground and earned an ovation from the crowd. They have three albums, with the most recent being 2018’s Young Sick Camellia.

The Stones had originally scheduled touring around the April release of their Honk compilation album. The band was forced to postpone the previously announced dates while Jagger dealt with health issues. The frontman required “minimally invasive” heart surgery, with tour plans left on hold while he recovered. At the time, Jagger expressed frustration that his medical matters had interfered with touring, saying he was "so sorry to all our fans in America & Canada with tickets. I really hate letting you down like this. I’m devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working very hard to be back on the road as soon as I can.”

In May, Jagger posted a video of himself dancing in front of a studio mirror, building fan excitement that the frontman was once again performance-ready. Indeed, just a day later the band announced their rescheduled ‘No Filter’ dates. The trek will keep the band busy through the end of August.

Watch the Rolling Stones Perform "Gimme Shelter"

Then, of course, there’s the discussion of new music. The Stones have not released an album of new material since 2005 (2016’s Blue & Lonesome was a covers album). Jagger previously said he had “lots of stuff” for a new release, with Keith Richards even suggesting that a new Stones LP could come out in 2019. What affect Jagger’s medical issues have had on the creative process is anyone’s guess, but fans remain hopeful that a new album will see the light of day soon.

While the Stones may not be thinking about retiring, their sponsor believes fans should be. The Alliance for Lifetime Income, a non-profit aimed at helping people financially plan for their retirement, is the sole sponsor of the ‘No Filter’ North American tour.

Watch the Rolling Stones Perform "Paint It Black"

Rolling Stones Set List, Solider Field, Chicago: June 21, 2019
1. "Street Fighting Man"
2. "Let's Spend the Night Together"
3. "Tumbling Dice"
4. "Sad Sad Sad"
5. "You Got Me Rocking"
6. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
7. "Angie"
8. "Dead Flowers"
9. "Sympathy for the Devil"
10. "Honky Tonk Women"
11. "You Got the Silver"
12. "Before They Make Me Run"
13. "Miss You"
14. "Paint It, Black"
15. "Midnight Rambler"
16. "Start Me Up"
17. "Jumpin' Jack Flash"
18. "Brown Sugar"

Encore
19. "Gimme Shelter"
20. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

 

The Best Song From Every Rolling Stones Album