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It's Only Rock'n Roll

Park Stadion
Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Monday July 27, 1998

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Review by Johannes Delmere

OK, you all will say it's because it is my home town, but you can believe me: That show really rocked. It picked up fast with Satisfaction, slowed down a bit afterwards, but from "Bitch" onwards they got it going. Guitars all over the place, Ron very loud in the mix, "weaving" again on "Wanna Hold You", a great solo on "Out of Control", lots of improvisation on "Miss You". What more can you ask for?

We made it to the front again, Ronnie's side, nearly pool position to the catwalk. Getting in there was easy, the show was not sold out. I believe about 40.000 people where in the Parkstadion tonight. The weather was fine, although it threatened to rain at one stage, but only some drops came down after the show.

The Hothouse Flowers opened again, just on time at 7.30 pm. They did a set of 45-50 minutes, it was alright by me, nothing special and not really my taste. But all these opening acts just cannot win when you wait for the Stones!

The Stones were on at 9.20 pm, Satisfaction hit it big time. right after Satisfaction the crowd started chanting Happy Birthday, which Mick heard. he struck out his tongue and smiled. The first songs were standard, a bit above average I would say. I was a bit disappointed about hearing ASMB again, would have love something else but then the first change came: Bitch. That song really rocked! Loud guitars, playing really good, loud horns. Saint of me was good as well, after the song finished the Keith side and the Ronnie side did a canon for the oh yeahs, Mick directiing the sing a long, before he shouted out loud "Out Of Control". That one was brilliant, everything up the the second, every move, every hit of the drum and the guitars, loud solos, a harmonica solo like I never seen one before etc.

Paint it Black was web choice again. I did have a look at midday, when it had 32%, on the night it had got 26%, SFM was second place. Mick told us he is thinking about putting that one in the setlist. PIB is much better than in 1990, not that much keyboards, but loads of guitars again, nicely playing with each other.

Miss you was very long tonight for my taste, improvising went on and on. Mick even put his guitar down and danced with Lisa a bit more. He tried to do some naughty things as well (I only mention hip movements here :-)), which she wouldn't let him. Lots of smiling around the stage.

Keith told us it was Reggae night, if god permitted, so he did "You don't have to Mean it". More guitars on "Wanna Hold You". From Bitch on Ronnie was loud and I mean LOUD and clear in the mix. And he played a lot and everyone seemed to like it.

The B-Stage set was above average as well. the guitars never sounded that loud and clear on "Little Queenie" on the german shows before. YGMR was nicely done as well, slide solo very loud. LARS was a bit of a let down, just average.

The rest was very good, Keith hitting chords, Ronnie hitting more chords, guitars everywhere. Ronnie's solos sometime seemed to drown other bits in the mix.

Odd bits: when Ronnie came back from b-stage, he signed an autograph for some guy on the ladder to the main stage and made sure, security gave it to the right guy. He even gave some drinks away to that japanese couple on his side. Charlie picked that up. when he came to the front for the end bows, he went to that bit of the stage with Ronnie and had a look there as well.

Lots of chatting by Mick, lot's of "Hey's and "Hi's", lots of singing in Miss You. Mick told us we were "Super!" They seemed to like it, we loved it! Mick came down on the catwalk for Brown Sugar again. With 55 Mick is even better than he was with 54. :-)

Start time: 21:20
End time  : 23:40

The set list:

  1. Satisfaction
  2. Let's Spend The Night Together
  3. Flip The Switch
  4. Gimme Shelter
  5. Anybody Seen My Baby
  6. Bitch
  7. Saint Of Me
  8. Out Of Control
  9. Paint It Black (web choice)
  10. Miss You
    -- Introductions --
  11. You Don't Have To Mean It (Keith)
  12. Wanna Hold You (Keith)
  13. Little Queenie (center stage)
  14. You Got Me Rocking (center stage)
  15. Like A Rolling Stone (center stage)
  16. Sympathy For The Devil
  17. Tumbling Dice
  18. Honky Tonk Women
  19. Start Me Up
  20. Jumping Jack Flash
  21. Brown Sugar (encore)

Review by Peter J�tten, Essen, Germany

Again a nice sunny day here in Gelsenkirchen (near Essen - only 10 km from the Parkstadion Gelsenkirchen (15�min. with the train), a great event, better than the concert D�sseldorf.

Review by Alfred Tolkmitt, Hamm, Germany

Wow! What a day for a Rolling Stone to the bone like me. It all began about two hours before the gates were opened. A local TV-team (WDR) was somehow attracked by my Stones outfit and asked me for some statements about the greatest rock 'n roll band in this univers. So I did - no question. This interview was broadcasted the same evening. If Mick and the guys were watching TV before the show they could have seen me.

The show started at 9:20pm with Satisfaction as usual and that also was the moment when all hell broke loose. The whole stadium was running wild when Mick appeared in a long blue jacket with a red scarf. They were so perfect tonight and that applies to all members of the band. Keith and Ron were brilliant. Every song was a masterpiece. For me the most outstanding songs of this unforgettable night were the versions of Anybody seen my baby, Bitch, Saint of me, Out of control, Paint it black and You got me rocking.

Just one word about Charlie, my darling. He once again got his standing ovations during the band introduction. Germany loves him! When the show ended at 11:45pm I was dripping with sweat, my voice was gone, completely exhausted but absolutely satisfied like everyone. What a great night with the greatest band ever. Thank you so much Rolling Stones!

Review by Ingo F�ting, M�nster, Germany

This was my 7th show of BTB-Tour after Miami, Orlando, N�rnberg, D�sseldorf, Hannover and Paris and it was the first one where Ronnie Woods Guitar was very good. He plays very loud and clear!!! Fantastic on " You got me rocking", a fine solo on "Miss you". The Crowd was good, but not so wild like in Paris. After "Satisfacton" we want sing "Happy Birthday" to Mick again, but he don�t hear it or he don�t want it to hear.

They played "Bitch" in a very strong version. Fast and very good. "Saint of me" and "Out of control" make the crowd wild again. These are very good songs for a Stones Show. I hope they will play these songs also nest year in UK. The web choice was again " Paint it black". A good song, but I wanna hear "Star Star" or "Memory Motel". But no chance. I hope it will be the web song in Hamburg or Mannheim.

On the B-stage they played "Little Queenie" (good version), "You got me rocking" (the best version I ever heard) and "Like a Rolling Stone" (In my opinion they could cancel this song - I heard it in 1995)

The rest was pure magic!!!!! A short story now, I was with a girlfriend of me at the concert, she don�t liked The Stones so much, after the show on the way back home, she sleep in the car. As she waked up, she told she has dreamed about Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!!

Review by Janssen Harm, Holland

My 12th show of BTB-tour.....and the worst. Not the Stones, but the rest... Ugly, dirty stadium, lousy seats (160 DM) and the crowd didn't get it. What did the Stones think? Paris was the best I ever saw ( and I'm even not French ).

Hope Berlin will be better, Germany!!!!!!!!

Review by Wilco Schepen, Holland

After a 3 hour drive (I didn't speed) I arrived at 12.30 at the Parkstadion in Gelsenkirchen. This stadium is conveniently located near the A2 highway and thanks to the very informative IORR webpages I even knew where the parking lots were.

Originally scheduled for May 26 this show was now set for July 27, a very sunny day, a good day for a Stones show! Much to my surprise there weren't too many people, some 50 or so were waiting in the hot sun, some 30 others were in the shadow, I decided to wait in the shadow as well, stayed there untill 15.15 when there were some 200 people in line before 3 entrance gates.

A bit later than expected they opened the gates at 16.40, bags were checked and then I made the run to the field. When arriving at the stairs that went down to the field I noticed with pleasure that there was a special front section (not in Paris on July 25!). I crossed the field to Ronnie's side and then it took about an hour before the section was closed! People didn't go in the section but lined up against the fence of the section, maybe thinking that this was a VIP section or so. People who did walk in, walked out to get drinks and food and came back 15 minutes later .... they did this WITHOUT a wristband!! Doing this at any other show would have meant no return in the section. After I got a wristband I went to the bar where they had very nice Stones cups, especially made for this show, good move! Although I payed 7DM (about $4) for a drink I thought the same cup would have been at least $10 when sold at the official merchandising ;-)

At 19.30 Hothouse Flowers started and they delivered a fine set. Expecting the Stones at about 21.00 they came out 20 minutes later. Much to my surprise the stadium was about filled with 50.000 people then, it didn't look like that at 19.30 when it was probably half filled. The south side of the stadium was not filled at all and 3 sections were covered with plastic.

The Stones played a good show although the setlist had no surprises. Paint It Black was again (5th time in a row) the webchoice but I really wonder if that's correct. Please put it in the basic setlist and play other songs for the webchoice. Sound was incredible, like in Paris or Belgium, only wish it was half as good as this in Amsterdam! Much has been said about the bad sound in Amsterdam but the Stones equipment is not to blame, it's the shitty acoustics in the Amsterdam ArenA.

At about 23.45 the show was closed and I left the stadium quite happy! My 8th Bridges show and although a standard show, it was a high standard!! Within 15 minutes I was on the Autobahn again and the trip back was 30 minutes shorter (yep speeding! ;-) ).

Comments by Axel Schumacher

The Ruhrgebiet is an area in Germany with a lot of small and bigger villages connected very tight together and all together there live approx. 11 Million people. Gelsenkirchen with it's famous football stadium was choosed again (after 1990) as place for a Stones concert in this region.

Now the cancelled concert from May was played under misfortune circumstances: holidays there and because on a Monday not so attractive for people from Holland and other places more far away. Only 45 000 people came to join this concert, many of them with cheap tickets given away by a furniture house. All of them were rewarded with a very good show.

Mick was greeted with a lot of signs wishing him a good birthday and also after -Satisfaction- a little chorus wishing Happy Birthday started from the audience. And he's still the same with 55, this day supported by very good mixed and played guitars. Different to Paris -Saint Of Me- was restarted by the crowd again and also Charlie got his usual extra shoutings. -Bitch- was back in the set and -Paint It Black- made it again as web choice.

-Wanna Hold You- brought back the wonderful guitarwork of Keith and Ronnie like in Munich. All the other songs were the usual numbers, but mainly played above average. There must have been a special feeling this night, maybe a leftover from the birthday party in Paris, but luckily contrary to a hangover. Standing second row in the middle I got an extra bonus at the end of the show, not musically, but getting so much glitter from above was a great feeling fitting perfectly in this great show for me.

Review by Atsuko Furukawa, Tokyo, Japan

It was hot and sunny, good "BEER" day in Gelsenkirchen. At noon the gate of the stadium wasn't so crowded as Ams. It was a calm atmosphere around the stadium. Maybe the German people were working busy at day time. But at the gate open time 4:40PM many people were there and waited. There were nothing but forest around the stadium. It seemed like the illustration "Babylon in a desert" in the tour pamphlet.

This time arena was divided into 3 sections like Ams. We could sit down and eat ice cream,drink beer,have bread...,etc. They were sold IN the arena! It was like a picnic! I took a midday nap there,too. So I could listen and watch everything really CLEARLY and WELL!! Each sound was sooooo great!! Not only the guitar battle of RONNIE and KEITH,but tambourine of BLONDIE,bass of DARRYL,sax of BOBBY, horn sounds of THE NEW WEST HORNS...,"EVERYTHING"!! All are making THAT groove!! The space was changed to complete STONES WORLD as usual!!

   MICK appeared in Orange shirts with scarf,beautiful! 
2.Let's Spend The Night Together!! 
   Someone were about beginning a fight beside me!! in such a     
   happy space! but disappeared soon...the show went on... 
3.Flip The Switch 
4.Gimme Shelter 
5.Anybody Seen My Baby
   I love this! 
   Yeah,when you appear I dance like Jumping Jack Flash!  
7.Saint Of Me! 
8.Out Of Control!
9.Paint It Black (web choice) 
   It began normally this time and I noticed the guitar of Keith           
   was not acoustic.His sound was so human and soft that it      
   seemed like acoustic for me at Paris...anyway GREAT!
   This could be added to the set list like "Gimme Shelter"!!
10.Miss You 
    BOBBY and THE HORNS!! and RONNIE!! Hmmmmm.....
   -- Introductions --MICK spoke German,too!!
    So I couldn't understand it...
11.You Don't Have To Mean It (Keith) 
    It was fitting to the calm atmosphere...?
12.Wanna Hold You (Keith) 
13.Little Queenie (center stage) 
14.You Got Me Rocking (center stage) 
15.Like A Rolling Stone (center stage) 
16.Sympathy For The Devil! 
17.Tumbling Dice! 
18.Honky Tonk Women! 
19.Start Me Up!!!
     Mean mean machines cannot stop dancing!!
20.Jumping Jack Flash!!
     MICK was wearing sunglasses with white rim.Sooo cool.
     But I love the black one better! 
21.Brown Sugar (encore) 
     For the wind? The confetti were thrown to all over the arena!
     Just like heaven! MICK was coming to the center passageway  
     and dance with us!! HAPPY!!
     For it was open air, the fireworks were bigger 
     and so pleasant! 

MICK throw a big KISS to the audiense and gone for good. I MISS THEM.....

Comments by Anna, Carsten and Friederike, Bochum, Germany

After reading all those comments we decided that it is absolutly necessary to add more details: it was our 4th best- band-ever concert and the second in Gelsenkirchen. We must agree that the stadium was terribly dirty and unfortunately we had to meet an old friend of us, wearing a backstage pass and a wristband with D.R. on it (means all entry inclusive the dressing rooms!!!) and of course he did not give them away... it is a question of honnor he said... So we got only our dead zone wristbands but the show was incredible as usual. Ronnie really played wonderful and it seemed he was having fun...der verr�ckte Maler...we had a crazy Lisa-fan in front of us dancing until she was smiling at him.

We were standing on the left side of the stage and always followed Mick when he was coming to that side. The sound was great there (not too loud...just right) and we danced with Mick (all alone except for 3 security members) in one meter distance!! Greatest show we`ve ever seen...hope to see them in the UK next summer!!

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