It's Only Rock'n Roll
In Chicago You Got Me Rocking used to come as song number 20, i.e. following Honky Tonk Women, but from Ohio, it has been played before HTW, as song no. 19...
The set list:
I have to say that the opening band for every Stones concert I'íve heard sounded awful, and Blues Traveler was no exception. After too many beers I'veí said knowingly "They do that on purpose to make the Stones sound better" Yeah right. From the 2nd row, they sure looked hot, but just didn'ít sound right. The bass was too much, the harp was muddied up with the guitar. Only a few in the crowd seemed to be into the band. Maybe we were too close, but even the first few Stones songs sounded wrong (not bad, just that the mix was somehow not right) Satisfaction was fine but IORR had some weird sound times (the Stones were rocking, the sound mix just wasnít right). Then there were the couple of times when Keith or Ron would go to do some front stage stuff and their lead was washed out by the rest of the band. Don'ít get me wrong, the $3 million sound system is awesome! And the huge video screen is incredible. Just some times, maybe just from where I was sitting, it didn'ít sound right. And I could never figure out why the folk in front of us were wearing earplugs. It was never that overwhelming.
But for most of the night, we saw THE WORLDíS GREATEST ROCK'íN ROLL BAND work hard and have fun. Most of you have seen the first two songs from the first Chicago show. If you haven'ít, the house goes dark, deep blue lights and video screen comes on, then the screen shows an outerspacelike view, and a comet appears on the screen and looks to fly out of the screen in a flash of fire. While all of this was going I noticed Keith walking from the back of the stage to the front and when the fire shoots out of the screen in an explosion, Keith hammers out the first notes to Satisfaction. The stage lights click up, the Mick and the rest of the band run out and we were off! Unbelievable. Do those guys have fun or what!
To describe every song could not do any of what we saw any justice. They cruised through IORR, Bitch, Let's Spend Some Time Together (no they did'nít have to change the words in Columbus) and Rock and a Hard Place. Sister Morphine, lost some people. The 20 something cell phone brats in the front row thought this must be something new. (Sorry, I know some of you have had secret thoughts about me being pretty bratlike (not the sausage), but dammit I'ím twice their age)
Then they did ASMB. ASMB and Out of Control (that came 2 songs later) were the best performances of the show. The sound was perfect, I don'ít remember any clinkers, and it all was produced to perfection. Between the new songs they hooked us with 19th Nervous Breakdown. Then they did the Internet Vote site winner (Waiting for a Friend had been running in my brain since my wait in the airport for Ann) But it turned out to be Gimme Shelter, which was great since I do like to hear backup singer Lisa wail.
By the time Mick tried to get us to do the oohhoowoowhowho sing along to Miss You I was worrying, god am I going to make it (Iím just out here shuffling, and clapping and I'ím exhausted and theyíre 10 years older than me) Then Mick gave us break and did the introductions, someone new (or I didn'ít know) Blonde Chapin did backup vocals and some hand percussion. And Keith nearly forgot to introduce Mick. Then they did two Keith songs, All About You and I Wanna Hold You, again confusing many in the crowd.
Then suddenly my seats weren'ít so good. The band went about 50 yards out into the crown to a small stage and played, Little Queenie, Let it Bleed and The Last Time out on that little stage. It was hard for me because everyone got up on their chairs to see (until the ushers came around and shined flashlights in their faces) and they didn'ít show any of this on the video screen. I also didn'ít like it because The Last Time has been haunting me ever since. But I could see that the people around the little stage were just rocked by having the Stoneís that close and waving and high fiveing them as they walked to and from the little stage. Mick was the last one back and as he approaches the stage they start the chords to Sympathy For the Devil and go into (no it wasn'ít like playing Hot Rocks) Tumbling Dice and Honky Tonk Woman. I knew I was in trouble when Mick came over in front of us and looked us right in the eyes, I felt Annís knees buckle in front of me and I pulled her back up. No problem, she was back at it without missing a beat.
They accelerated into You Got me Rocking but I have to say, the tempo of all of the songs was not the pace of other shows I'íve seen. I do have to say about this tempo issue that back on Out of Control, Mick worked as hard as I'íve ever seen anyone, selling that song. It was fabulous. And what would you pick for the end? They picked Start Me Up, Jumping Jack Flash and You Can'ít Always Get What you Want. OK one more, they played Brown Sugar with glitter confetti and fireworks. Absolutely incredible. I'ím still picking confetti out of my clothes.
I decided at the concert that I would quit my job if I could get work with the Stones using a mouse to mark the winning Internet Vote Site winner and running the Delorme Street Atlas USA program, page downing into the map until you can mark the stadium with the big lips on the big stadium video screen. I know I could do better than the guy at this show. You'íre right, I'd better not give up my day job. As we shuffled out of the stadium, I noticed there was very little conversation. Everyone was exhausted, most pretty awestruck, I felt like I had been in a marathon. Nobody seemed tense, or in a hurry.
When we got outside we found the aftermath of everyone who came to sit on the hillside of the open end of the OSU Stadium horseshoe layout and hear the show for free. It reminded me of the days that I was in college with not even enough money for the $40 tickets that were sold by the scalpers who screwed up and bought high and sold low outside the show for $10, and thought that it looked like they had a great time here. They were with their friends, drinking beer (that those of us inside the stadium couldnít get) and were hearing the WORLD'S GREATEST ROCK'íN ROLL BAND for free. Then I thought, get real! No way would I have ever given up that 2nd row ticket!!!
The excitement just continued to build from there. I was having a fantastic time and taking some awesome photos, when in the middle of Bitch, an overzealous security guard decended upon me and proceeded to rip my camera from my hands! I fought with him for a few minutes, pleading with him that it was only a personal use camera, but it was to no avail. He threatened to call his supervisor and have me thrown out! So I watched in horror as he ripped the film from my camera and told me not to pull it out again.
I was determined not to let this ruin the show for me, so I went to plan B. No more photos, but I had brought my skull scarf with me, which my friend and I waved in the air all through Keith's set, and I decided to give it to Keith when he came down the catwalk. I told the security guy next to me, who was sympathetic since my film incident and he allowed me to stand pressed against the catwalk. As the boys started down the catwalk toward me, I felt as if I was in a dream-this was the closest I had been to any of the Stones (except Charlie who I'd seen in Toronto last summer), and Keith was on his way to me!
First I shook hands with Chuck Leavell, then Darryl Jones, I missed Ron, Charlie & Mick on the way down, but when Keith was in front of me I had my arm outstretched, scarf in hand & simultaneoulsy my friends and I all yelled "KEITH!". I was utterly amazed when Keith bent down, took the scarf from my hand, touching my knuckles to his, then stood up, turned and looked me in the eyes and touched his fist to his head and heart in gratitude. I melted on the spot. My friends and I all began to jump around and scream and hug. I was afraid someone would pinch me and I would wake up. For me, this was the moment I had been dreaming of since 1981. It was surreal. I was in such a trance that I missed almost all of Little Queenie! On the way back down the catwalk I got to shake Charlie's hand, and touch Ron's leather coat and Mick's coat tails as he strutted by at the beginning of Sympathy For The Devil.
The rest of the show was bliss! I thought that this show blew away both of the VL shows I saw in 94 (Philly & Pittsburgh), and the guys were in spectacular shape-physically, vocally, musically. They were having as much fun as the crowd. Don't let those reviewers sway you when they say the crowd is lame-they must write their reviews from inside the press box. If they were on the floor with me there would be no question that the crowd was into it! Thanks to the Rolling Stones for rocking Columbus! Now I can't wait for Philly, DC, Vegas & MSG!
Cheers, Tamara Guo (aka Blue Lena)
The air is warm, smoky, still, yet full of anticipation. Suddenly, a loud WHOOSH is heard, followed by a fiery explosion viewed on the large video screen. A spotlight engulfs the stage, encompassing Keith Richards, donning a long leopard print coat, black wrap-around sunglasses, and the famous smile, as he strikes the opening notes to Satisfaction. An immediate roar emerges from the crowd and the female Keith fanatics let out a collective sigh; we have now entered "Babylon."
Anyone who questioned the Stones' ability to pull off yet another extravagant performance was forced into submission the moment the group appeared on stage. It is often difficult to describe the feeling one gets when the Stones play live, but imagine an adrenalin rush pulsing through your body, followed by an absolute sense of joy, each moment building on the other, reaching an almost orgasmic climax until another song takes you through the process yet again. Melodramatic? Perhaps. Realistic? Definitely! Having seen the Stones perform live on both the Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge tours, it is apparent that with age, the Stones only continue to improve. If the OSU concert was any indication of things to come, Stones fans at future shows will not be disappointed.
The obvious "hits" were performed, including Miss You, IORR, and Start Me Up, but with renewed enthusiasm. Jumping Jack Flash and Gimme Shelter (the Internet choice of the evening and one of my favorites) were particularly rocking. A new song, Out of Control, came off quite well and helped prove that the Stones are still a relevant group in the 90's. The Stones also catered to those hoping for more obscure songs, playing Sister Morphine and during Keith's set, All About You and Wanna Hold You. The latter was arguably one of the highlights of the show. In fact, it was a particularly strange, yet exciting moment for my friends and myself (the self-proclaimed "Keith Richards Mafia"), for when Keith began to sing, at least fifteen rows in front of us sat down! Therefore, instead of having a somewhat obstructed view twenty rows from the stage, we could see Keith perfectly and sang along with him while others looked at us with odd expressions.
However, the best part of the evening occurred when the Stones prepared to play on the second smaller stage located in the middle of the floor. Thanks to a friend and by luck of stage design, our seats were directly next to the walkway to the second stage. As the Stones proceeded across the ramp, we screamed their names and reached toward them. My moment of pure ecstasy then took place. As my idol Keith strolled before me, I screamed his name and lunged forward, grabbing his outstretched hand. He probably expected a brief handshake or slap, but I had such a firm grip on his hand that he reciprocated the squeeze, stopped briefly (until I had to release my grip!), looked at me and smiled. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and stood in awe as Keith then greeted my friends. I was able to touch and/or slap the hands of all of the Stones, but shaking Keith's hand was the most exhilarating. Nothing I have ever experienced can compare to this moment and I will cherish it for ages.
As a whole, the show was truly spectacular. Of course, no concert runs perfectly, and there were some problems, such as Mick singing a verse ahead in Brown Sugar or Ron accidentally unplugging himself mid-song, but the Stones (as well as the crowd) took it all in stride. Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie looked happy, healthy, and in touch with their audience. It is fair to suggest that they performed with a passion equaling any tour from their lengthy past, taking us all into THEIR world. And for nearly 2 1/2 hours, it felt like nothing else mattered.
Read all about the 1997 tour in the It's Only Rock'n Roll magazine issue IORR 30 out Oct. 15, 1997.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1997 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe