If there was a list of people who’ve cried at the Saatchi Gallery’s Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism, I’d be on it. The reason it moved me to tears is because, I think, it’s literally impossible to tell the story of The Rolling Stones without a massive injection of poignancy. The exhibition ends by bundling you into a dark room for a 3D airing of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, taken from the Stones’ 2013 Hyde Park gig. For me, the euphoria of this footage can’t help but go hand-in-hand with a sad, sad sense of time passed and passing.
My favourite part of the exhibition (pictured below) was the quaint revelation that Ronnie Wood artistically records rehearsal song-lists – so we can remember what we’ve played – and in what key! Chronological histories of the band’s tours and albums were displayed in impressive digital loops; homage was paid to the reverent Billy Preston and the many, many other collaborators to have worked with the band; there were guitars, costumes, photographs, never-before-seen footage, intricate tales of stage/logo design, album artwork and documentary-making, plus a replica recording studio and even the chance to mix your own Stones tracks. There was no ‘stone’ left unturned, if you will. We visited on the exhibition’s second day, so it has to be said there were some teething (read: crowd control) problems, but I can only assume these will have been smoothed out.
If you love the Stones, there’s only one thing for it: you’ve gotta go. Just make sure you set aside a couple of hours and, if you’re anything like me, take a tissue.