NEW YORK (AP) -- It sure didn't feel like a farewell.
The Rolling Stones -- average age 68, if you're counting -- were in rollicking form as they rocked the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for 2½ hours, their first U.S. show on a mini-tour marking a mind-boggling 50 years as a rock band.
And though every time the Stones tour, the inevitable questions arise as to whether it's "The Last Time," to quote one of their songs, there was no sign that anything is ending.
"People ask us why we've been doing this for so long," said Mick Jagger, the band's impossibly energetic frontman, thanking the crowd for its loyalty. "The answer is we do it for you."
Jagger was in his usual swaggering form -- strutting, jogging, skipping and pumping his arms like a man half his age. And though he briefly donned a flamboyant feathered black cape for "Sympathy for the Devil" and later, some red-sequined tails, he was mostly content to prowl the stage in a tight black T-shirt and trousers.
Jagger was joined by his brilliant guitarists, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, and of course drummer Charlie Watts, and Mary J. Blige, who sang a searing "Gimme Shelter" with Jagger.
The band played a generous 23 songs, including two new ones, but mostly favorites like "Brown Sugar," ''Honky Tonk Woman" and "Midnight Rambler." The rousing encore included "Jumping Jack Flash," of course, but the final song was "Satisfaction." And though the song speaks of not getting any, the consensus of the packed 18,000-seat arena was that it was a hugely satisfying evening indeed.
"If you like the Stones, this was as good a show as you could have had," said one fan, Robert Nehring, 58, of Westfield, N.J.
The Stones also will play two shows in Newark, New Jersey, on Dec. 13 and 15. Then next week they join a veritable who's who of British rock royalty and U.S. superstars at the blockbuster 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden. Also scheduled to perform: Paul McCartney, the Who, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder, Billy Joel, Roger Waters and Chris Martin.
In a flurry of anniversary activity, the band also released a hits compilation last month with two new songs, "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot," and HBO premiered a new documentary on their formative years, "Crossfire Hurricane."
The Stones formed in London in 1962 to play Chicago blues, led at the time by the late Brian Jones and pianist Ian Stewart, along with Jagger and Richards, who'd met on a train platform a year earlier. Bassist Bill Wyman and Watts were quick additions.
Wyman, who left the band in 1992, was a guest at the London shows last month, as was Mick Taylor, the celebrated former Stones guitarist who left in 1974 -- to be replaced by Wood, the newest Stone and the youngster at 65.
The inevitable questions have been swirling about the next step for the Stones: another huge global tour, on the scale of their last one, "A Bigger Bang," which earned more than $550 million between 2005 and 2007? Something a bit smaller? Or is this mini-tour, in the words of their new song, really "One Last Shot"?
The Stones won't say. But in an interview last month, they made clear they felt the 50th anniversary was something to be marked.
"I thought it would be kind of churlish not to do something," Jagger told The Associated Press. "Otherwise, the BBC would have done a rather dull film about the Rolling Stones."
Associated Press writer David Bauder contributed to this report.