After playing a surprise warm-up show at Los Angeles' Echoplex club last Saturday, The Rolling Stones officially kick off the 2013 edition of their 50 & Counting Tour this evening at L.A.'s Staples Center. The North American leg of the band's trek features a total of 17 confirmed concerts, and is scheduled to wind down June 21 in Philadelphia. The British rock legends then will head back to the U.K. for a trio of performances -- a June 29 appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and July 6 and 13 shows in London's Hyde Park.
Stones frontman Mick Jagger , who turns 70 on July 26, spoke in a recent interview about the effort it now takes for him to get ready for a big tour.
"I don't know how other people are, but I start about two months before the tour starts," reveals the singer. "You have to get mentally prepared and think, 'OK, I'm gonna be doing this for this amount of weeks,' [and] then physically prepared. So I have to up my fitness level and have to start singing every day, doing practices and a bit of dancing."
Guitarist Keith Richards , meanwhile, says he's happy that The Stones continue to draw plenty of fans -- of all ages -- to their shows.
"They keep cropping up," declares Keith. "I don't know where they come from, bless their hearts."
He also notes that, in the early days of the Stones, he never expected that he'd "be playing the rocking grandfather." He adds, jokingly, "In actual fact it's quite easy and, if you hang around long enough, you can be one too."
As for The Stones' other guitar player, Ronnie Wood , he says he loves the energy that the band and its fans exchange during their concerts.
"It's magic," he says. "And sometimes that magic just surpasses belief, and you think, 'Wow, I'm so honored and so grateful to be up here to swap and change feelings with the audience.'"
The Rolling Stones are giving select fans the chance to purchase $85 tickets to each concert on the North American tour. Those interested must register at the band's official Facebook page , and will be notified on the day of the show they chose if they'll have the opportunity to buy the specially priced tickets.
Visit RollingStones.com/Tickets to check out the group's full tour schedule.
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