Keith Richards reunited with the X-Pensive Winos at New York’s Beacon Theater on Thursday night for the Love Rocks benefit, marking one of their only performances since the conclusion of their 1993 American tour. The event raised money for God’s Love We Deliver and also featured appearances from Mavis Staples, Hozier, Warren Haynes, Melisas Etheridge, and Jackson Browne.
Richards and the Winos were introduced by Laurence Fishburne. He spoke about his love of the blues and how the Rolling Stones introduced him to Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Walter, and John Lee Hooker. “It just really kind of connected me to something,” he said. “This blues music, it really is everybody’s music. Everybody gets the blues, man. Everybody. There are a lot of people in the world out there suffering. We’re going to kick it off.”
They began set with “999” from the group’s 1992 LP Main Offender, which is being re-released later this month as a deluxe package. They followed it with “You Got the Silver” from the 1969 Stones LP Let It Bleed and closed out with “Before They Make Me Run” off Some Girls. Check out pro-shot footage of there set right here.
The band featured guitarist Waddy Wachtell, drummer Steve Jordan, and keyboardist Ivan Neville. Winos bassist Charley Drayton is currently Bob Dylan’s drummer and they had a gig in Irving, Texas, so Will Lee handled his bass parts. Richards dubbed him an “honorary Wino” for the evening.
The Winos came together in 1987 to back Richards on his solo debut Talk Is Cheap. They toured in 1988 and again 1992 following the release of Main Offender. Their shows focused on Winos originals and Stones songs that Richards originally sang, though they did play a rendition of “Gimme Shelter.”
Richards set the Winos aside once the Stones ramped up for Voodoo Lounge in 1994. He remained very close with the members, and Jordan was brought into the Rolling Stones last year to replace the late Charlie Watts.
Love Rocks was billed as their first performance in 30 years, although they did play “Happy” and “Gimme Shelter” at the Apollo Theater’s Great Night in Harlem Benefit in 2015. This was, however, their first time playing an original Winos song since 1993.
The Stones have yet to officially announce plans for their 60th anniversary this year, but there are strong indications that the band is planning a European tour.