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Europe `98 - From Nürnberg to Hannover

The European Tour 1998 opened up at the Zeppelinerfield, Nuremberg, Germany on June 13. Then Mick got laryngitis, and the Milan and Bilbao shows got postponed, before they did two shows at Werchter, Belgium. Then the tour went back to Germany for two more shows in Düsseldorf and Hannover. At time of writing, they are about to do their five shows in a row in Amsterdam, Holland.

Nuremberg June 13
by Philip Bajo, Austria

Rain and cold weather had forced the band to cancel their rehearsal at the venue on Friday evening. Shortly before the gates opened, the Stones arrived at the Nuremberg venue, the so-called "Zeppelin Field", via helicopter from Munich. This field is still framed by Nazi architecture, a more than obvious reminder of its purpose during the Hitler regime, i.e. mass gatherings and military parades. Today it is part of a major sports complex, the field being its biggest wide open area.

With clear skies all over the region, it wasn't dark yet when the lion sounds started to roar at 9:30pm, announcing the imminent beginning of the 68th Bridges-To-Babylon Show. So we could all see Keith, understandably impatient, walk out on stage long before the fireworks that cue him to kick off with Satisfaction. Here he was at last, in great shape, happy to be among his beloved fans again.

Let's Spend The Night Together was next, followed by Mick's usual greeting words, some of which in German. Everything was going very well. Saint Of Me was in the number 7 spot tonight (see full track list on page 15), with Mick on acoustic guitar. During the last verses of this song, Mick's voice began to break, some notes didn't make it just the way they were meant to sound. Out Of Control wasn't exactly an easy song to continue this stretch with, but professional as he is, Mick went on.

Unfortunately Mick's voice didn't manage to recover, I'd guess his throat was very sensitive to the sudden heavy temperature drop in the preceding days. Under My Thumb was the Web-Choice, which must have beaten "Waiting On A Friend" some time Friday night.

After Miss You, Keith opened his solo section with the words "Sorry I'm late... Everyone fucks up some time", hinting at his living room accident which had delayed the European Tour by almost three weeks. What followed was probably the best performed song of the European Opening Concert, Thief In The Night: Blondie Chaplin played acoustic guitar, Pierre De Beauport helped out Chuck at the second organ, and no one less than Ronnie's very daughter Leah joined Lisa and Bernard singing background vocals. And Keith, well he had it all perfectly under control.

The first change from the official track list happened on the B-Stage: The second song there was The Last Time, instead of "You Got Me Rocking", for me a very welcome switch indeed. Another such change was the omission of "You Can't Always Get What You Want", which was supposed to be the first of two encores.

A better venue, with Mick in full vocal shape and giving us a couple of extra songs beyond the 21-song minimum... that all would have made the Nuremberg concert truly one worthy of a European Tour Opener.

Werchter June 20-21
by Dirk Snapper, Holland

What a weekend! I saw the Stones at the Werchter Festival site in Belgium. Two shows at a row for the first time in Europe this summer. After the shows in Milan and Bilbao being cancelled, it was really exiting to hear that these shows were on! It was extremely hot in Holland and Belgium this weekend.

The Stones played very good. They were better than in Nuremberg last week. They really rocked! Mick tried to speak some Dutch, but he gave up quickly. Surprises were: Dead Flowers (what a magnificent song), Love In Vain (alright, Woody, you really know how to play your guitar!) and an extremely nice You Don't Have To Mean It. There was nothing that reminded me of Mick having a sore throat. Everything worked out well. Just before Out Of Control I heard Mick say "Lord Have Mercy" - just a coincidence, or maybe a prayer...

Sunday June 21: Again very nice! The Stones began at 21.30 again and I must say that it didn't sound as good as the Saturday show did (IMHO). Woody seemed a bit tense the first part of the show. During the Web Choice he started to play better. Actually the band sounded much better from that point on. The surprises: Sister Morphine (a beautiful song, but not tonight; Mick couldn't get it right). Web Choice was Under My Thumb (just like in Nuremberg) and that sounded alright. Keith did Thief In The Night (I really love that song) and Leah Wood did the backing vocals again with Lisa. We can look upon two great shows and they tasted for more...

Dusseldorf June 24
by Peter Joetten, Germany

Great!!! What a marvellous summer day. 70.000 (or more) party people, nice weather and a complete regenerated Mick. Also Keith, smoking as usual (at least from time to time). However, Charlie with the greatest applause from the audience. Absolute great the small center stage in the middle of the field. My first live experience with Little Red Rooster since the 60s - My first concert was in Sep. `65 in Essen, Germany. The songs at the small stage remembered me to this concert. Next time we´ll see the guys at the Gelsenkirchen-gig, and also in Berlin.

Hannover, Germany, June 26
by Marc Oliver Rohloff, Germany

All I can say: It was so great! We saw an amazing concert yesterday, which topped everything! Together with so many friends we had a big party and we all had so much fun in our hometown! - it was the first Stones-show for a few of them and definitely not the last one after this great show! It was really incredible - 2nd row in the middle of the stage again (left pit) and the band was great, playing very powerful and with a lot of enthusiasm.

"Es ist schön wieder in Hannover zu sein" (it´s nice to be back in Hannover) said Mick after "Let´s Spend The Night Together". The crowd (90000 - sold out!) was great and Mick appreciated that taking all the opportunities to tell us, i.e. "Ihr seid super" (You are so great) after Miss You etc.. "Saint Of Me" was the longest and best version I ever heard with us singing it to the max, though the song was finished already and Mick sang with us again directing the crowd. We got all the songs we wanted in this set with "Anybody Seen My Baby", "It´s Only Rock´n Roll", "Love Is Strong" (web choice) and "You Got Me Rocking" on the center stage - simply everything was perfect this night!

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