To the surprise of few, Mick Jagger’s performances with Arcade Fire (featuring the Strokes’ Nikolai Fraiture on bass!) and the Foo Fighters on SNL this past weekend were pretty great – the former was an enthusiastic, raucous take on a seldom-heard Rolling Stones classic, “The Last Time” from Out of Our Heads (at least here in America), while the latter featured Dave Grohl & Co. blazing through a medley of “19th Nervous Breakdown”/”It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It).” Also, the Stones frontman impersonated Steven Tyler in a sketch called “So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival,” which was quite amusing and contained a now-obligatory mention of Burger King’s Crispy Chicken Strips.
What was unexpected, however, was how TERRIBLE Jagger’s collaboration with guitar hero Jeff Beck ended up being. They played “a blues that [he] wrote about the presidential election” called “Tea Party”; it contained such lines as, “If you want to sleep in the West Wing, yeah, you got to strategize a bit/If you want to sleep in the West Wing, you wanna keep that private boat, yeah, you got to strategize a bit/Yeah you’re gonna have to raise about 100 million dollars, or you’re gonna end up so deep down in the shit.” In case you weren’t sure who the song was about, Jagger clarified: “Mr. Romney, he’s a hard-working man and he always says his prayers/Yeah, but there’s one little thing about him/Don’t ever let him cut your hair.”
It was a slog to get through, and Jagger’s lyrical jabs weren’t pointed enough to really mean anything. Much better, however, was the episode’s capper: a tribute to Kristen Wiig who will soon depart the hallowed halls of Studio 8H for a career hopefully more successful than Rachel Dratch’s, set to “She’s a Rainbow,” sung by not only Jagger, Arcade Fire, the Foo Fighters, and the show’s entire cast, but also Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels, Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan, and Rachel Drat…oops. Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg, who are both also likely to leave SNL, bizarrely received less attention, though they do have Olivia Wilde and Joanna Newsom to go home to, so don’t cry any tears for them.