The Rolling Stones kicked off their 50th anniversary concerts last night (25.11.12) with a stunning show at London's The O2.

The veteran rockers - made up of Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts - played the first of their five '50 and Counting' shows at the iconic venue and the night started with video messages from stars and fans describing the first time they heard the band.

Punk icon Iggy Pop said: ''The sound of Keith's guitar was like being hit with a dead mackerel.''

Hollywood actor Johnny Depp added: ''They write great songs to do bad things to.''

After a gang of 200 drummers entered the arena wearing gorilla masks, mixing with the crowd, the group took to the stage and sang 'Wannabe Your Man', before renditions of 'It's All Over Now', 'Get Off My Cloud' and 'Paint It Black'.

Lead singer Mick spoke to the crowd and said how thrilled they were to be performing in Britain in such an memorable year for the country.

He said: ''Olympics? We didn't do that. Jubilee? Didn't do that. James Bond 50th anniversary celebrations? We missed that. We just got in under the wire. So glad you are here, and so glad we are here.''

In the middle of the show, bassist Bill Wyman joined his former bandmates for 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll', his first appearance with them in the UK for 20 years.

Other hits that sent the crowd wild included 'Start Me Up', 'Brown Sugar' and 'Honky Tonk Woman'.

The group will play at The O2 again on Thursday (29.11.12), before heading to the US, playing at the Barclay Center, New York City, on Saturday December 8 and the Prudential Center, New Jersey on December 13 and 15.