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Slow train to Montpellier... (pt. 2)

IORR 25 page 11 brought you the first part of a two weeks train travel that eventually would cover six Stones concerts during the summer of 1995. This is pt. 2...

I’ve finally made it to the Grammont Place, Montpellier, France. It’s Thursday afternoon, July 27, 1995. It’s 32 degrees hot outside, and I am ready for some rock’n’roll! The merchandising sales places all having a section of Bob Dylan T-shirts, posters and souvenirs is my proof of the rumour I first heard in London this summer - Bob Dylan will warm up for the Rolling Stones in Montpellier!

I have made my way to the upper right front of the stage, having a perfect view. It’s still hot, but the late afternoon brings down the temperature a few degrees. The Black Crowes is on at 6:45 pm, and does their usual set until 7:40. The stage is packed with equipment, like there is enough gear for two bands...

Half of the equipment on stage is removed in half an hour, and at 8:10 pm he is on - Bob Dylan! It’s really strange having Dylan as warm-up for the Rolling Stones. Myself I’m not much of a Dylan fan, but still, too great to have this faith... The crowd is enthusiastic, but still waiting for the big event. Friends I meet later on say the Bob Dylan set was one of his best performances during ‘95! Bob Dylan is finished in close to an hour, at 9:05.

The sun is down, and I am more than ready. At 10 pm sharp the cobra is spitting fire, and Charlie jumps his drum kit to crank up Not Fade Away! Then we get Tumbling Dice, You Got Me Rocking, It’s AllOver Now, All Down The Line, Sparks Will Fly, Satisfaction, Let It Bleed, Angie (great versions!), and the big moment is here!

Mick speaks in French about Bob Dylan and his song. Then they start up Like A Rolling Stone, and Bob Dylan is sneaking in on stage, standing far back, next to Ronnie. Mick sings the first verse, while Bob and Ronnie is backing on guitars. For the second verse Mick grabs Bob, and brings him way up to the front, to sing the second verse. Bob is not used to this version of his song at all, and the song is stumbling. Mick comes to his rescue, singing in on "How Does it Feel", and the song is great as usual, and so is Mick, Bob and the rest of the band. A rare and great moment!

Then we get Rock And A Hard Place. The crowd is singing "Happy Birthday" to Mick, as it was his birthday yesterday, June 26. Then they play Gimme Shelter. The rest of the set is pretty standard. Keith does Connection and The Worst. The concert ends 10 minutes past midnight, with great fireworks, and great memories!

After the concert I meet old friend Thomas from Finland, and Christine from France, with friends. Then I’m heading for the bus pick-up spot. I am fighting with tens of thousand French fans in the biggest bus (shuttle) chaos I’ve seen ever. Hundreds of buses, no organization, and one massive, unorganized queue. I need to catch the train from Montpellier in two hours, so I’m doing my best to enter a bus.

On the station I stumble into big Stones fan Peter Zehner from Germany. He tells about the Spain and Portugal concerts, as I missed these due to work. My train arrives on time at 2 o’clock in the morning, and in about 12 hours I will be in Basel for two more Stones concerts!

The rest of the story, from Montpellier to Prague, follows later, in IORR...

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