It's Only Rock'n Roll
Again we made it into the front section of Ronnie's side, although the Berlin audience was not my kind of audience. 5 hours of pushing and trying to stay alive before the show. When in other cities it always as quite relaxed and easy in the front section, in Berlin you couldn't move at all.
The rain was awful and spoilt a lot of the feeling for me. It was starting to rain as soon as we got into the Olympiastadium and never really stopped. Rain shows can be good, but this one wasn't as good as it could have been.
Big Country opened. I had seen them a couple of times opening in 1995, but now they were not as good as they were then. I have a feeling they buy their guitars by colours. Lots of posing, lots of bullshits (in my eyes).
The Stones were very late, starting at around 9.50pm. Maybe they wanted to wait for the rain to stop. maybe they didn't like to go out in the bad weather. They finished just a bit after midnight, they had to finish, because there is a curfew there as well. Some songs seemed to be longer than usual (OOC, Miss You), so HTW had to be dropped.
Ronnie was somewhere else it seemed, he wasn't really into playing, he was showing his coats and hats around to everybody else on stage but barely really concentrated on the riffs. He had his magic moments though, playing wah wah in OOC and playing some harmoic melodies with Bobby Keys in Miss You. But all in all it wasn't his night. Keith was really magnificent. He wore some strange hat during the second half of the show, but he wore it with taste and dignity. Thief in the Night was abolutely great, everything just right, every hit just with the right timing. Out of Control was another really great tune that night, building up more and moe tension in the second half of the song, Mick and Keith just in front of us during the guitar/harmonica solo.
The B-stage sound was great, but the songs were a bit disappointing, YGMR as the 2nd tune again. I would like to see some more choice for that slot.
Web choice was Street Fighting Men, played with a vengeance, Keith hitting the riffs really hard. It was good to see that tune played again. Paint it black was also played. I like the version they play this tour, but have seen a stronger rendition in Gelsenkirchen.
Mick took Lisa's shoe off during Miss You and sucked her toe, asking her "Is it ALL wet" a couple of times. When he put her toe in his mouth, you could really hear her shriek and squeak, seems like she never expected him to do that. He threw the shoe away, so she had to get up and look for it, after Mick was gone.
What else: Charlie got his "Charlie, Charlie" shoutings for a couple of times, Saint of me went on for some time so the Stones had to join the crowd again, which went on for about 1 or 2 minutes. Somebody carried a sing saying "Keith sings better than Pavarotti" which made it not only onto the Jumbotron but also into todays papers.
I still like the way Keith puts his guitar pick in his mouth for the first few bars of Flip the Switch and then takes it out to play the chords. I still like to be in front of them, even if the show is not really running smoothly and the feeling is not really right. Can't wait til tomorrow (Leipzig).
Biggest news: The Stones play Berlin again in two weeks. The Waldbuehne Concert is confirmed for Sep. 10th, tickets being sold from Friday morning for DM 78,-- and more. 2 tickets per person. Shame is, I most possibly might not be able to be there. :-((
Start time: 21:45 End time : 24:05
The set list:
PS. Honky Tonk Women was not played, because they were running out of time, and there was a curfew (time limit of the stadium) of 12pm (midnight). The show finished 3 minutes past twelve exactly...
Already at the tube stations Zoo and Alexanderplatz the first black marketeers tried to sell tickets at excessive prices Unlike to Düsseldorf we had preferred to book seats this time. Although the audience (more than 7o.ooo) put in a lot of effort, spirits were not as high in this part of the stadium as e.g. at the concert in Gelsenkirchen (only 4o.ooo) Perhaps it was the last big tour on which they brought along such gigantic superstructures on the stage. Apart from that we (Peter, Hotte, and Franz) are looking forward to an indoor concert.
The Stones started it up at 21.45 and they played until midnight. It was a very good show and specially the sound was very good, also on the center stage. I never heard it sound so well. It started raining again during Miss You and during the center stage set it rained harder. As we all know the Stones play better when it rains, so that explains the quality of tonight's show ;-) There were mainly two surprises tonight: the first one was Street Fighting Man as the websong. This one was really awesome. Great version. The second surprise: they skipped Honky Tonk Women! So they only did 20 songs (tired or just a mistake?)
We arrived the day before and hoped to catch some stoney atmosphere. What better place could there be than the Stones pub "Voodoo Lounge" which was announced in May? So we made our difficult way to the far eastern part of Berlin. It took us 2 hours to get there only to find out that the "Voodoo Lounge" is just like Berlin: A big construction zone! Well, no Stones feeling for today, tomorrow things could only get better.
Wednesday: the usual. We arrived at 11.30, waited at the gates, met nice people and had lots of fun. The gates opened at 5 pm and it was the most dangerous entrance I have ever experienced. After starting our run we were stopped by a big fence only after a few meters. A big mess of pushing people developped immediately. Fortunately they opened that fence after a few minutes, but then the crowd had to make its way over a small bridge, everybody was pushing again. I was afraid my ribs or something else would break... Finally we got through those dangerous moments, thank God all healthy, and reached our front row-place on Ronnie's side!!
We sat down comfortably only until a very rude man with a Voodoo hat had to squeeze himself next to me. He had actually arrived quite a while later even after the second row was already filled up. But it turned out that he had to stand at front row in order to catch Lisa's attention greadily. Oh well, if that's what he needs...We accepted it and waited for the Stones in the rain.
The supporting act "Big Country" did a good job.
The Stones came on stage at 9.45 pm when the rain had already stopped. The show was good but not outrageous. We only got 2 new songs: "Paint It Black" (great!!) and "Street Fighting Man" (not as powerfull as in 95!). During "Miss You" it started to rain again. We had the feeling that the Stones and the crowd were a little "frozen" because of the rain and the cold. Nevertheless it was great - in comparison to other shows it seemed a little "slow", though. The Stones made a professional impression despite the rain. It was great to see Ronnie reacting to our gestures. To put it all in a nutshell I liked it, because it was a STONES SHOW, but it wasn't exceptional.
5 p.m. I went into the OLYMPIASTADIUM without any pushing and squeezing. The inner circle was empty, also the security area in front of the stage. I got a very good place on the right side near the center stage. Forget about Big Country, but its hard for every band playing in front of STONES.
The best moment was, when my favourite Keith came after the lions scream and play the first riff of SATISFACTION. Ooohh God!
All songs are great, big long version of Out Of Control, Keith played hard on Street Fighting Man. When the bridge came, I went to center stage and stood in the 2. line straight in front of Keith and Mick (but Mick jumps round the stage like a dervish). And I saw Charly drumming. See him beating and you know why he is Charly 1000 Watts. He beats for two drummers. Sometimes he smiles to me (or maybe not ?). Great. Never can get any closer to the STONES. Thanks for the good tip, Klaus.
Then I went back to the big stage and saw the rest of the show and get a warm touch of the burning flashes from above (JJF). After concert it was easy to get out and I drove home. Well, Berlin was great, forget about the little rain.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1998 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe