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Rolling Stones European tour leg

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Milan (Reuters): Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said he could not wait to get back on stage after recovering from a head injury that had forced the band to delay the European leg of their world tour. ''Everything's cool'' the 62-year-old told a news conference yesterday on the eve of the first concert of the European leg. The ageing rock band, revered for such classics as ''Start Me Up'' and ''Jumpin' Jack Flash'', were supposed to begin the European leg with a show in Barcelona in May. But they pushed back the date to let Richards recover from surgery after suffering concussion when he fell out of a tree while on holiday in Fiji in April. They also changed the country, choosing Italy for their opening gig.

''I've recovered ... I can't wait to get back on the stage,'' said Richards. Fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood was just as keen, saying he was ready to play after checking out of a London rehabilitation centre for alcohol abuse. ''I feel great,'' said Wood. The four-member band will perform at the San Siro soccer stadium in the northern Italian city of Milan today before embarking on a 20-show tour of Europe that will end at Horsens, Denmark on September 3.

Wearing a silver suit and violet shirt, the band's singer Mick Jagger said the set list would be different from the one they had peformed in Asia and the Americas. ''We keep moving it along all the time,'' he said. Since the 2005 release of their latest album ''A Bigger Bang'', the Rolling Stones have performed on three continents before a combined total of 4.5 million fans, according to their tour director.

Their biggest show was at Copacabana Beach, where they played before one and a half million people. They also performed in Beijing for the first time. Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of Richards' accident and he remained vague about it at the news conference, saying only that he fell from a small tree and not a coconut tree as had been reported. ''If you saw the tree you would understand the joke,'' he said. ''It was a very little tree.'' Richards confirmed he would make a cameo appearance in the third instalment of the popular ''Pirates of the Caribbean'' movie series saying he would spend a week on the set in September. He is to act as the father of Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp. The movie is due to be released in 2007. Jagger left open the possibilty of the Rolling Stones recording another album and doing another tour. ''We look forward to doing more,'' he said.

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