PHOTOS, VIDEO: Rolling Stones rock the Echoplex ahead of tour for hundreds of lucky fans

Stones play Echoplex

Molly Peterson/ KPCC

The marquee at the relatively small Echoplex announces Saturday's surprise Rolling Stones concert.

For one night only, the Rolling Stones were an up-and-coming band again.

The legendary group rocked a small club in Los Angeles on Saturday night for a minuscule crowd compared to the thousands set to see them launch their “50 and Counting” anniversary tour a week later on May 3 at the Staples Center.

Scroll down for photos from Saturday night’s show

The band kicked off Saturday’s hush-hush 90-minute concert at the Echoplex in the hip Echo Park neighborhood with “You Got Me Rocking” before catapulting into a mix of new and old material, as well as their bluesy covers of classics from Otis Redding (“That’s How Strong My Love Is”), Chuck Berry (“Little Queenie”) and The Temptations (“Just My Imagination”).

“Welcome to Echo Park, a neighborhood that’s always coming up — and I’m glad you’re here to welcome an up-and-coming band,” lead singer Mick Jagger joked after the second song of the evening, “Respectable.”

Despite clocking in several decades as a band, Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood showed no signs of slowing down Saturday.

Jagger, who ditched a black-and-white track jacket emblazoned with the band’s logo after the first few songs, worked the crowd into a singalong frenzy with “Miss You,” complete with a harmonica solo from the strutting frontman.

Tickets to the Echoplex concert were sold earlier in the day for $20 each — a fraction of what tickets to the tour cost.

Hundreds of fans lined up outside the El Rey Theatre across town for a chance to attend the spontaneous show. Buyers were limited to one ticket, and they were required to pay with cash, show a government-issued ID, wear a wristband with their name on it and be photographed. Their names were verified at the venue, which has a capacity of about 700.

Cameras and smartphones weren’t allowed inside the Echoplex, which usually plays host to hipster bands and mash-up dance parties. The lack of personal recording devices made the Stones’ performance feel even more exclusive and old school, freeing concertgoers’ hands of the gizmos that have become commonplace at concerts nowadays and further bonding the crowd, many of whom built up camaraderie during the confusing ticket lottery earlier in the day.

Toward the end of the show, the band was joined by former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor for their version of Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain,” as well as “Midnight Rambler.”

The band, which was backed by Darryll Jones on bass, Chuck Leavell on keys, Bobby Keys on sax and Bernard Fowler and Lisa Fischer as backup singers, encored with the hits “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

“(This is) the first show of the tour, probably the best one,” Jagger said at the end of the set.

Bruce Willis, Gwen Stefani and Skrillex were among the famous faces in the sold-out crowd.

Rumors of the surprise show spread across social networks last week after the band teased the appearance on their Twitter accounts. The dance-pop band New Build, which was originally scheduled to play the Echoplex on Saturday, was first to leak details about the performance.

“Our gig got shifted b/c the Rolling Stones are playing Echoplex,” the band tweeted Friday. They joked that they were looking forward to “having it out” with the Stones.

The Rolling Stones performed a few dates together in London, New York City and Newark, N.J., last winter but didn’t announce a tour until this month. They will play 17 dates in the United States but may add more down the line. The lowest price for tickets to the show at the Staples Center, which has a capacity of about 20,000, is $250.

The Rolling Stones rock the Echoplex

The Rolling Stones rocked the Echoplex on Saturday night. Check out photos from the event.

Storified by 89.3 KPCC· Sun, Apr 28 2013 10:54:39

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Rolling Stones concert last night <3 #wow instagram.com/p/Yp4yQeR5uu/Maggie Mae
rolling stones :-) pic.twitter.com/IyXyxSECs5Caroline soto
Nice. bit.ly/14AF07G yfrog.com/oeueucgpJim Roberts
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen attend the Rolling Stones performance at Echoplex pic.twitter.com/TFad41HN8TStrike2Poses
Rolling Stones’s set list from last night/ liste des chansons concert surprise des Rolling Stones hier soir#Stones50 pic.twitter.com/NGVbScRGoCMarieFranceRemillard
THE ROLLING STONES AT ECHOPLEX!! #cyp2 instagram.com/p/YosLFnkPB2/frankichan
Sydney at the Rolling Stones concert instagram.com/p/YoiznZCz3J/ maybe RK are there maybe RK are with CamstewG?lendam
Rolling Stones at the echoplex!!! @ The Echoplex instagram.com/p/YpD5y9Of4u/Amour le cinema
The Rolling Stones Bring Out the Hits – and the Stars – at Surprise Club Show - goo.gl/D68pp pic.twitter.com/rXSyIqzC3W15 Min News Updates
Rolling Stones leaving @ Echoplex instagram.com/p/Yo6ERwy7XP/Bonnie Sayers
Amazing Rolling Stones tonight!!! Best night in a long time @lwrenscott xo pic.twitter.com/gtyXsFMYilLily Semel
Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones #RollingStones #Echoplex #LosAngeles #NinjaSkills @ Echoplex instagram.com/p/Yo3zjEv9nw/cisco rocks
The most amazing concert I’ve ever seen! Rolling Stones I love you!! #secretshow @ Echoplex instagram.com/p/YozqbziSfw/Jen Humphrey
Rolling Stones are killing it jennamoshell #echoplex #rollingstones #secretshow #paintitblack #la… instagram.com/p/YovRA6SRVK/evan rosenfeld
We got the Rolling Stones playing in the hood tonight … My dad saw them in 66 in Melbourne … Crazy! instagram.com/p/YofOLzAWjB/Tyler Gibney
Lottery numbers being handed out for The Rolling Stones show tonight. #rollingstones #grrr #echoplex… instagram.com/p/YntP4CskqI/suprefan
Onsale @elreytheatre for the Rolling Stones show tonight @ Echoplex almost wrapped and then back to… instagram.com/p/YoD8UpHxMt/Chad Peterson

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