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Rolling Stones pay tribute to Charlie Watts as they finally kick off US tour
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Rolling Stones pay tribute to Charlie Watts as they finally kick off US tour

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Rolling Stones pay tribute to Charlie Watts as they finally kick off US tour

The Rolling Stones perform the first concert of their "No Filter" tour at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, September 26.

The Rolling Stones have marked their first concert without late drummer Charlie Watts with an emotional onstage tribute.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood honored their bandmate of nearly six decades as they finally kicked off their pandemic-delayed "No Filter" tour at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday night.

Keep scrolling for a gallery of photos from the concert, plus a look back at the life of Charlie Watts

The show opened to an empty stage with just a drum beat, as pictures and videos of Watts were projected on four huge screens.

Rolling Stones pay tribute to Charlie Watts as they finally kick off US tour

A video tribute to Charlie Watts plays before the Rolling Stones perform in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday.

When the group emerged, Jagger shared with a packed stadium that: "It was really quite emotional, seeing those pictures of Charlie up on the big screen."

Watts, who performed alongside Jagger, Richards and Wood for more than 50 years, died last month at the age of 80.

A spokesperson for the musician told CNN at the time that Watts had passed away peacefully in a London hospital, surrounded by his family, adding that he was "one of the greatest drummers of his generation."

It was previously announced that Watts wouldn't take part in the tour while he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure.

Jagger made it clear ahead of Sunday's concert that Watts' absence on stage would be felt.

The legendary rock band sat down for an interview with Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke to discuss their upcoming tour and the passing of their longtime drummer, Charlie Watts.

"I must say though, at this point, it's a bit of a poignant night for us because it's our first tour in 59 years that we've done without our lovely Charlie Watts. And we all miss Charlie so much," he said in a video shared on Instagram.

"We miss him as a band, we miss him as a friend on and off the stage and we've got so many memories of Charlie -- and I'm sure some of you that have seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well.

"I hope you will remember him like we do, so we'd like to dedicate this show to Charlie."

The legendary British rock band's 13-date tour had been scheduled for May 2020 before the coronavirus restrictions caused it to be postponed.

The band are scheduled to make pit stops in, among others, Florida, Atlanta and Los Angeles before wrapping in Austin, Texas on November 20.

Touring musician and longtime Stones associate Steve Jordan will replace Watts on drums for the duration of the tour.

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