To celebrate the music of allegedly the 'world's greatest rock and roll band. 'The Rolling Stones Story,' hits the road in the UK with Manchester being the 1st stop on its newest tour. Promising a journey through all their classic tracks, capturing their unique sound and image it's a must for Stones fans old and new.

On arrival I'm warned that 'it's a really loud performance and would I like some ear plugs?' Taken aback I didn't know what to say, but politely declined the offer.

Set design was impressive; the instruments were on the stage, just as authentic as the real Stones would set up. Backdrops of swinging London and painted 60's flyers adorned the scenery.

A screen plays footage from the sixties and their first gig at the Marquee Club in 1962. The band enters, Mick Jagger is a deadest lookalike played by Paul Ashworth. He's got the gestures, the pouts and swagger down to a tee. He's very likeable almost like Jagger’s more affable brother with less ego. The all over presence of the band is quite refreshing, as if you're seeing the Stones for the first time.

A female singer Lili Austridge joins them on stage, she has we are told in the programme performed with many well known bands; however it doesn't always work that well on stage tonight. Sometimes it sounds like she is shouting and her turn on the recorder for Ruby Tuesday was a little uncomfortable. At other points her vocals add a welcome melody to the guitars (there are a lot of them).

They trip through all the classics, the man behind me sings along loudly and the audience seem to be enjoying the spectacle. It all seems to be a bit lack lustre though. Whether it's nerves or lack of confidence the songs all very well executed musically, seem slightly lukewarm. There's some pizzazz missing and the interaction between the musicians isn't very convincing.

Thankfully they do include Brian Jones, played by Laurence Whiteley, who later becomes Mick Taylor. Lili Aldridge also sings a moving tribute to him voicing 'As Tears Go By,' you could hear a pin drop in the theatre and James Stead's keyboards backing her are beautifully phenomenal. These guys do have potential. It would be great to see them again with some umph added.

All in all it's a comprehensive night of all the Rolling Stones classics. Some in the band looked more like the real deal than others. Ronnie Wood, does indeed look like Ronnie Wood. Jagger's costumes were spot on flouncy and unforgivingly tight. If anything you get to understand what tremendous success they have had, through longevity and their ability to pack stadiums worldwide. Not to mention all the genres they have dipped into. And considering the high price of the Stones concert ticket prices, fans can get a bargain here. I didn't need the earplugs in the end.

Reviewer: Rachel Foster

Reviewed: 16th September 2018

North West End Rating: ★★★