Rolling Stones begins US tour with Charlie Watts tribute

Mick jagger, Keith richards and Ronnie Wood honored their bandmate of nearly six decades when they finally kicked off their pandemic-delayed “No Filter” tour at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday night.

The show opened to an empty stage with just a drum beat, while images and videos of Watts were projected on four giant screens.

When the group emerged, Jagger shared with a packed stadium that: “It was really very emotional to see those pictures of Charlie on the big screen.”

A spokesman for the musician told CNN at the time that Watts had passed away peacefully in a London hospital, surrounded by his family, adding that he was “one of the best drummers of his generation.”

It was previously announced that Watts would not be participating in the tour while recovering from an unspecified medical procedure.

Jagger made it clear before Sunday’s concert that Watts’ absence from the stage would be felt.

“However, I have to say, at this point, it’s a bit of a moving night for us because it’s our first tour in 59 years without our lovely Charlie Watts. And we all miss Charlie so much,” he said in a video shared on instagram.

“We miss him as a band, we miss him as a friend on and off stage and we have so many memories of Charlie, and I’m sure some of you who have seen us before have memories of Charlie as well.

Mick Jagger leads Rolling Stones' tribute to drummer Charlie Watts

“I hope you remember him as we do, so we’d like to dedicate this show to Charlie.”

The legendary British rock band’s 13-date tour had been scheduled for May 2020 before coronavirus restrictions caused it to be postponed.

The band is scheduled to make pit stops in, among others, Florida, Atlanta and Los Angeles before wrapping up in Austin, Texas on November 20.

Touring musician and longtime Stones associate Steve Jordan will replace Watts on drums during the tour.

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