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Rolling Stones pay emotional tribute to Charlie Watts as they return to stage

Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones (Ian West/PA)
Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones (Ian West/PA)

Sir Mick Jagger paid an emotional tribute to late drummer Charlie Watts as the Rolling Stones returned to the stage for the first time since his death.

The musician died on August 24 in a London hospital at the age of 80.

The band said they would continue on with plans for their 13-date No Filter tour in the US, which was due to kick off in St Louis on September 26.

Charlie Watts death
Charlie Watts on the drums (Ian West/PA)

Watts was not set to take part while he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure.

Sir Mick shared a video on Instagram of the band at a warm-up gig – reportedly at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on September 20 – where he was joined by bandmates Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on stage as he told the cheering crowd: “It’s the first show of our 2021 tour, so this is it, this is a try-out.

“I must say though, at this point, it’s a bit of a poignant night for us because it’s our first tour in 59 years that we’ve done without our lovely Charlie Watts. And we all miss Charlie so much.

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

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

He then raised a bottle, shouting: “To Charlie!” before taking a swig.

Wood added:  “Charlie, we’re praying for you, man, and playing for you.”

Pacing up and down the stage, Jagger appeared overcome as he said: “What are we going to do now, now I’m all emotional?”

Session and touring musician Steve Jordan was previously announced as Watts’ temporary replacement on drums.

Alongside frontman Sir Mick and guitarist Richards, Watts was among the longest-standing members of the Stones, which has seen a shifting line-up of musicians including Mick Taylor, Wood and Bill Wyman.

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