It’s a question buzzing around every fan’s head before heading to a gig – what songs are they going to play? Will they play my favourite song?
That question becomes even more of a conundrum for a band with a history the size of The Rolling Stones. While you’re guaranteed to legions of hits at any given stadium-pleasing Stones gig, Mick and Keith have penned so many classics, you’re never going to hear them all in a single night.
To alleviate some of our own pre-gig anxiety, we thumbed up and knuckled down to some homework, analysing recent setlists and career trends, ahead of the band’s Middle Eastern debut on Yas Island on Friday February 21.
On the basis of the 29 dates on the 2012-13 50 & Counting Tour, there’s no way we’ll go home without hearing likely set-starter ‘Start Me Up’ orencore classics ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.
Based on the stats, we’ve also got a 100 percent chance of hearing ‘Miss You’, which acts as the band’s introduction, and ‘Midnight Rambler’, which acts as Mick Taylor’s guest slot – and with the ex-guitarist coming to Dhabi there’s little chance we won’t hear it wheeled out again.
It’s also highly probably we’ll hear crowd pleaser ‘It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)’ and live favourite ‘Tumbling Dice’, which both missed just one of the 29 gigs, while new song ‘Doom and Gloom’ and their last number one ‘Honky Tonky Women’ are nearly as likely, missing just two shows on the last tour.
One notable absence from every setlist is ‘(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction’, which was dropped four times so carries an 86 percent chance of being played in UAE. Meanwhile without the guest choir which added so much to the band’s historic Hyde Park and Glastonbury dates last July, the chances of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ getting the axe are higher.
*Based on analysis of the 29 setlists from the 50 & Counting tour, we’ve worked out the probabilities of hearing all The Stones’ best known songs below.
Songs The Rolling Stones WILL play in Abu Dhabi
Start Me Up
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Midnight Rambler (all 100 percent*)
Songs you will almost certainly hear in Abu Dhabi
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
Tumbling Dice (both 97%*)
Doom and Gloom
Honky Tonk Women
You Can't Always Get What You Want (all 93%*)
Songs you’re likely to hear in Abu Dhabi
Sympathy for the Devil
Paint It Black (all 90%*)
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (86%*)
Get Off of My Cloud
One More Shot (both 79%*)
Emotional Rescue (58%*)
Songs Keith Richards might sing in Abu Dhabi
Before They Make Me Run (both 62%*)
You Got the Silver (55%*)
Songs you can hope to hear in Abu Dhabi
Wild Horses (34%*)
All Down the Line (31%*)
The Last Time (21%*)
Can't You Hear Me Knocking
You Got Me Rocking (both 17%*)
And if we’re really lucky, we just might hear...
Live with Me
Street Fighting Man (all 14%*)
Beast of Burden
Respectable (all 10%*)
It's All Over Now
Shattered (all 7%*)
And here’s some one-off covers from the last tour we’re really, really unlikely to hear in Abu Dhabi
Who Do You Love? (Bo Diddley)
Little Red Rooster (Howlin’ Wolf)
Little Queenie (Chuck Berry)
Around and Around (Chuck Berry)
Under the Boardwalk (The Drifters)