Following the Las Vegas show on Feb. 15, the Rolling Stones had three weeks of rest. Then they flew into Japan for six shows there during March 12-21, four at the Tokyo Dome and two at the Osaka Dome. Mick and Charlie flew into Tokyo on March 7. The backing band arrived the day after, while Keith and Ronnie arrived on March 9. Japan was ready for the Stones!
They did a separate press conference for Japan, and Ronnie did some promotion work on his new book and his art exhibition. The acoustics are not the best in the Tokyo Dome, but the Stones did their best in their four shows - see complete setlists separately in this issue. Songs they did in Tokyo includes Memory Motel, Crazy Mama, Shine A Light and Let It Bleed. The Osaka Dome was all sold out long time ago, and it also seemed to have better acoustics. In Osaka they did Time Is On My Side for the first time during this tour.
Then they moved on to Argentina, and arrived in Buenos Aires on March 23. The ticket sales in Argentina had seemed to be slow, just like in 1995, but as show time was getting closer, the chain reaction was there, again like in 1995. As the Rolling Stones arrived one week before their first show, there were still only two shows announced. Then they announced show number three, and just few days before the actual shows, they sold out two more, making a total of five shows in Buenos Aires, like in 1995.
The paparazzi photographers were all over. Mick did some days at a luxury beach in Uruguay, and as he was jogging on the beach, he made it on the front page on one of the magazines. Their arrival at the airport made more front pages, and they kept the front pages and 20-30 pages inside the glossy gossip press of CARAS, GENTE etc. for three - 3 - week in a row!
On Saturday 28th they did a press conference for about 150 press people from Argentina and Brazil. Outside the Stones hotel they had hundreds of ecstatic fans climbing the fences to get a sneak view. The hotel was actually barricaded totally by fences. For security reasons, they had replaced all private cars including Mick's black Mercedes by large coaches (buses). Surely Argentina was ready for the Stones, again!
The first show on the 29th was as ecstatic as expected. The fans went bananas. With an average age of less than 25 years, the fans are surely as crazy as they were in the 60's in England. With a great and warm temperature, everybody was waving their T-shirts, making a great scene. The next show on the 30th was broadcasted on TV direct, and as they had panning cameras in the crowd, they managed to pick up a great deal of the energy and the excitement for the TV screen.
Then three more shows on April 2,4,5, and 270,000 Argentina fans had got their satisfaction. On the last two nights, Bob Dylan was the opening act, like in Montpellier 1995, and he joined in on Like A Rolling Stone. Perfect!
The only sad story to tell from Argentina was about Meredith Brooks. She was supposed to be 2nd of two opening act for all five shows. On the first show she was booed at for 45 minutes. On the 2nd show people threw all kinds of garbage at her. She left after two songs, and she never showed up again. No excuse, simply bad behaviour by some macho fans...
After the five Argentina shows the Stones flew on to Brazil. They stayed there for a week, resting at some remote locations outside Rio de Janeiro. During the stay Ronnie went on a boat trip with his family and friends, and the boat engine stroke fire. Ronnie was rescued by one of the boats from the paparazzi press photographers (!), and within minutes, the boat was history. The boat crew had to jump into the water as the boat was on complete fire.
The 1995 tour was great for Brazil, with many shows. This time they complained about ticket prices, as they did only one show in Rio de Janeiro, and one show in Sao Paulo. But those who went say those two shows were among the best ones they did ever! The Rio show was broadcasted on TV as well, and video copies are in circulation.
As the seven shows in South America was done, it was time to make up for all the winter trouble. Mick's laryngitis in January had forced them to cancel the Syracuse and Toronto shows, and the bad weather took away the Montreal show. Now they had added an indoor arena show at the United Center in Chicago, so this was to be a set of five shows extra.
The Syracuse show was in a university city, and turned out to be like the Brazil shows, just great, among the best. A small crowd of "only" 26,000 people in a stadium, but it really rocked! Then they did two shows at the Molson Centre in Montreal. The original show at the Olympic Stadium had changed into two indoor arena shows of 16,000 people each night. The venue was perfect, and the Stones again delivered two great shows.
The show at the United Center, Chicago suffered from really bad acoustics. Too bad for an arena show with tops $300 ticket prices! But the finishing Toronto show satisfied all of the 55,000 fans!
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 33 - June 1998 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe