Sir Mick Jagger, that culture vulture, went to a museum and a rare books store on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Stones drummer Charlie Watts, the jazz lover, went to the Dakota Jazz Club — even though it was his birthday. And he sat in on one song.
Of course, it was no ordinary band on the bill at the Dakota. It was the playfully dubbed Band 2 featuring three Stones sidemen — saxophonist/leader Tim Ries, keyboardist Chuck Leavell and singer Bernard Fowler — and several Twin Cities musicians.
Watts watched the hourlong first set from the balcony (at the table where Prince sometimes sits because it has a curtain to keep the curious away). He stood and leaned over the railing, watching intently as his pal, jazz-fusion drummer Steve Smith (whose band Vital Information is at the Dakota Wednesday), sat in on one of the few non-Stones numbers, "Take the Coltrane."
Watts reappeared at the start of the second set on the drum kit. Ries led the group in a quick "Happy Birthday" to recognize Watts' 74th. And then it was as close to Rolling Stones time as you'll get in a 275-seat club in Minneapolis on a Tuesday night — "Ruby Tuesday" with one of the world's great rock drummers. The silver-haired time keeper was understated and steady before ending the song with a little flourish.
That gave the fans, many of whom were decked out in Stones gear, the kind of satisfaction they had been seeking when taking a chance on Band 2. This was a bit more exciting than when Stones guitarist Keith Richards showed up at the Cabooze bar in 1978 to see reggae star Peter Tosh, the Stones' opening act for a St. Paul arena date, perform.
On Tuesday, Fowler reworked such Stones tunes as "Wild Horses," "Lady Jane" and "Satisfaction" in a jazzy way. Leavell took Southern-fried trips to "Georgia on My Mind" and "Statesboro Blues."
Ries took plenty of solos and gave opportunities to Minnesota sax man Pete Whitman, drummer Kevin Washington, bassist Gary Raynor and especially guitarist Cory Wong.
At age 29, Wong was the new kid onstage, playing with three Stones sidemen who, combined, have 72 years experience with the world's greatest band. But Wong's contorted solo on "Paint It Black" was the musical highlight of the night, Watts' appearance notwithstanding. Wong received a standing ovation.
Afterward, he said he didn't even know he was going to be given a solo so he just seized the moment. He was more excited about the special guests. "Steve Smith and Charlie Watts sitting in on the same night, that's amazing," he said.
Then he was headed back to the dressing room to see if he'd earned a free ticket to see, as Ries called it, Band 1 on Wednesday at TCF Bank Stadium.