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At first glance, the three-page set list that Mario Escovedo and friends followed during their annual “Exile on Kettner” show looked like little more than an intimidating list of randomly assorted Rolling Stones songs. But there was a method to their madness: Escovedo told the packed house at the Casbah that some of the songs — including back-to-back performances of “The Last Time” and “It’s All Over Now” — were chosen as part of a theme for the evening.

That theme, of course, was the teased notion that this Christmas Eve tradition — now in its 20th year — will not return next December. If true, it would be a shame, as it has always proven to be a highlight on the Casbah’s annual calendar.

The 2013 Escovedo, still every bit as vital and committed as the mid-’90s man, played nearly three hours of Stones classics with a rotating cast of supporting musicians and guest singers. Whether trading verses on “Beast of Burden” with Sara Petite or handing the mic off to a crowd-surfing Steve Poltz during “Wild Horses,” Escovedo made sure that, for the 20th straight year, fans at the Casbah continued to get what they want.

  • Concert: Exile on Kettner
  • Date: December 24, 2013
  • Venue: Casbah
  • Seats: Stage front
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