The Curious Case of Charlie Watts’s Missing Drum Kit

The Rolling Stone appeared to be air-drumming during the "Together At Home" concert

The Rolling Stones playing "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
The Rolling Stones during Global Citizen's concert.
Screenshot via Global Citizen on YouTube

If you happened to catch The Rolling Stones performing their classic hit “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on Global Citizen’s “One World: Together At Home” concert on Saturday to raise money for COVID-19 relief, you may have noticed something was missing.

While Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood all appeared with instruments in hand, drummer Charlie Watts showed up sans drum kit. Watts, who was sporting headphones, appeared to be air-drumming, something Twitter quickly jumped all over. “Charlie Watts happily playing air drums for The Rolling Stones is the kind of feel-good content we need,” one person wrote. “You might be cool, but are you Charlie Watts smashing air drums at 78 cool?” wrote another, which was retweeted by the Stones’ account.

But was Watts actually air-drumming, or was he playing some sort of virtual kit like Aerodrums or Freedrum? Forbes contributor Anthony Karcz did a little investigating, and he was able to rule out the latter.

“What’s most likely is that Charlie recorded his drum track weeks in advance, either using a virtual kit or an actual set he has at a studio at home,” Karcz wrote. “Then he sent that along to his bandmates so that they could practice their portions.”

“So my best guess is that Charlie was indeed air drumming, but that he was simply mimicking his own performance. He was doing what every good drummer does, making sure that his mates at the front of the stage had what they needed to shine,” he added.

You can watch the full performance and judge for yourself below.

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