Fans of all ages fill Mt Smart Stadium for spectacular night to remember.

The Rolling Stones finally broke cover last night to rock New Zealand in spectacular style.

Mick Jagger and the band had laid low at their base at Auckland's Langham Hotel since slipping into the country on their private jet on Thursday.

But they emerged in style last night to lead more than 40,000 fans on a spectacular trip down a musical memory lane.

From Satisfaction to Brown Sugar to Jumpin' Jack Flash, a crowd of all ages lapped it up.

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Frontman Mick Jagger took to Twitter from backstage at Mt Smart yesterday afternoon to thank the band's devotees.

"Looking forward to tonight's show in Auckland, just had sound check."

And from the moment Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie sprang into action at Mt Smart it was clear they were going to make the closing night of their 14 On Fire tour a memorable one.

The Stones took to the stage just after 8.30pm and the crowd erupted when Keith Richards strolled on and launched into the opening riff for Start Me Up. Jagger followed with his trademark swagger and pout. Decked out in a blue silk shirt and sparkly jacket, he showed no signs of voice problems that dogged him recently in Australia.

"How ya doing ... you all right?" he yelled as the band blasted out It's Only Rock and Roll. Next came You Got Me Rockin'.

The music was still as intoxicating as ever, with crowd pleasers Honky Tonk Woman, Miss You, Midnight Rambler and Gimme Shelter.

The Stones initially finished with Brown Sugar, but were soon back for encores that included You Can't Always Get What You Want backed by the NZ Youth Choir and a show stopping version of Satisfaction, followed by the obligatory fireworks display.

Farewell, old friends

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I first saw the Stones as an 18-year-old in Philadelphia on their Some Girls tour in 1978. I was in love with them long before that and have loved them since.

I went on to see them many times in my native Scotland and other places around Europe, including a memorable show at the old Olympic Stadium in Berlin in 1995.

Before the gig I was invited to watch Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood playing snooker backstage, complete with a fulltime referee who had been keeping the score for more than a year.

For many, last night was a lump-in-the-throat final farewell to the greatest band that ever graced and disgraced a stage; but the memories, just like the title of one of Stones' earliest hits, will not fade away.