13 things we think we know about the Rolling Stones’ Austin setlist
Here comes your 13th setlist breakdown.
Saturday’s Rolling Stones concert at Circuit of the Americas will be the 13th show of this fall’s "No Filter" tour. Previous stops were in St. Louis, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Los Angeles (two shows), Minneapolis, Tampa, Dallas, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Detroit.
We analyzed the setlists from those concerts and made 13 educated guesses about what’s in store for Austin.
MORE ROLLING STONES:What you need to know if you're going to the show
1. They’ll play 19 songs total. That’s been the case on every stop except the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which got 18 songs.
2. The Stones almost certainly will open with “Street Fighting Man,” which has been the first song for all but one of the tour’s shows. (The lone exception: One of the two Los Angeles dates began with “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”)
3. The encore will feature two songs: “Gimme Shelter” followed by “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” This appears ironclad, as it’s been the case for all the other shows.
MORE ROLLING STONES:Interview with the tour's production director
4. The last five songs before the encore seem similarly set in stone. All previous main sets have closed with “Miss You,” “Midnight Rambler,” “Paint It Black,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” (The lone variant: In “Midnight Rambler,” they’ve mostly woven the blues staple “Come On In My Kitchen” into the song, but they used “Hellhound On My Trail” a couple of times and also slipped a little of Prince’s “Purple Rain” into the Minneapolis show.)
5. Just before that home-stretch run, Keith Richards will take the lead vocal on two songs. Most nights it’s been “Connection” and “Slipping Away,” but he’s chosen “Happy” and “Before They Make Me Run” in a few cities. It's a near-guarantee that his two turns at the mic will come from those four selections.
6. They’ll play “Living in a Ghost Town,” the one new song in the set. Released in April 2020, its lyrics echo the early days of the pandemic (“Life was so beautiful/ Then we all got locked down”), though most of the tune was written in 2019, before COVID-19 was a concern. (Less likely is a cover of the Chi-Lites’ “Troubles a’ Comin’,” which the band played at the tour’s first three shows as well as a private Boston pre-tour warm-up gig but haven’t included since then. Probably, it was chosen early on to promote a recent reissue of the Stones’ 1981 album “Tattoo You”; the expanded set features the Chi-Lites cover.)
MORE ROLLING STONES:Where might Mick Jagger pop up around Austin?
7. Fans can help decide one of the songs in the set. All previous shows have offered a chance to choose one of several songs, multiple-choice style, at vote.rollingstones.com a couple of days before the concert. The options change for each city. This is where we’re seeing some interesting wild cards: “Wild Horses” (played three times) and “Ruby Tuesday” (played twice), plus “Angie,” “Dead Flowers,” “Monkey Man,” “Let it Bleed,” “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” “She’s a Rainbow” and “Far Away Eyes.”
Update: The four choices for Austin just went up this week, and are: "Dead Flowers," "Let It Bleed," "Sweet Virginia" and "Far Away Eyes." Of those, "Sweet Virginia" is the only song the band has not yet played on tour this fall.
8. Band member introductions will come about halfway through the show. They’ve generally been happening after “Honky Tonk Women,” 10 songs in.
9. You can bank on these dozen songs, which have been played at every show: “Satisfaction,” “Start Me Up,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Tumbling Dice,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Paint It Black, “Miss You,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Midnight Rambler” and “Living in a Ghost Town.”
10. Beyond the fan-vote selections, the Stones have sprinkled in a few more surprises along the way. They’ve played “Beast of Burden,” “Get Off of My Cloud,” “It’s Only Rock & Roll” and “Rocks Off” twice; appearing just once have been “All Down the Line,” “Fool to Cry,” “Sad Sad Sad,” “Shattered,” “Under My Thumb” and “You Got Me Rocking” — the last of which also opened the Stones’ 2006 Austin show in Zilker Park. In Detroit earlier this week, they tossed in a cover of the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," likely as a nod to Motown.
11. Speaking of that Zilker show: If current trends hold, Austinites will get a concert that’s more than 50% different from the band’s last appearance in town. Likely repeats are “Satisfaction,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Tumbling Dice” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” The rest may well consist of material that didn’t make the 18-song Zilker setlist.
MORE ROLLING STONES:A look back at the band's 2006 Zilker Park show
12. Inevitably, there will be personal favorites that won’t get played. Some Stones classics yet to appear on the tour: “Time Is on My Side,” “As Tears Go By,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Emotional Rescue,” “Waiting on a Friend” and “Sway.” (The exclusion of the 1971 hit “Brown Sugar” has caused a stir in recent weeks; conflicts over controversial lyrics that depict slavery have been cited in some reports.)
13. That said, any of those tunes, or others, might slip into the Austin set, either via fan-voting or just on a whim. This is the next-to-last show of the tour, and it's the last one at a huge venue. (A final, high-dollar show was added last month at a 7,000-capacity casino in Hollywood, Fla.) If the band rides into Austin with a hankering to play some songs they haven’t done yet, they just might shuffle the deck a bit here.