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The Rolling Stones Fan Club of Europe
It's Only Rock'n Roll

Trabrennbahn Bahrenfeld
Hamburg, Germany
Sunday August 30, 1998

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Review by Marc Oliver Rohloff, Hannover, Germany

The Rolling Stones finally back in Hamburg - 25 years after their last gig at the Ernst-Merck-Halle in 1973. Hamburgs citizens had to wait long, but now they came in masses - 90000 people found their way to the venue (Trabrennbahn Bahrenfeld), a famous race course for horse-races near the Volkspark-Stadium. This was the biggest concert for Hamburg ever so far and it was sold out!

We (Sebi, Jan and I) came from Hannover by car and reached the venue shortly before 13.00. It was not allowed to park near the venue, but we found a parking lot in the park surrounding the venue and left our car there and so we did not have to use the shuttle busses from other parking spaces.

I don�t remember the exact time they opened the gates, but I think it was around 14.00. That was quite early! It was a long way to the stage and that was good! You can win a lot of places by overtaking slower people on the way and so we made it to second row and third row from the catwalk and the stage on Ronnie�s side again. Not bad for being there only one hour before the gates opened. What followed was the most relaxing period of waiting we ever had before a concert with a lot of space and we sat down on our mat we brought with us.

There was a Zeppelin flying over the venue for some time (also during the show later). Big Country, the opening act for this show, was there then and the singer came down to us and talked to the audience and gave some autographs. Later they did their soundcheck and people were standing up and giving them applause, when they stopped. He smiled and pointed on his clock... It was about three o�clock that time.... It was possible to get out of the �pits� quite comfortably, so we did and walked around a bit (one of us stayed in the pits to ensure that we can return to our place close to the stage).

Then, at 18.05 Big Country started playing their set, but nothing special at all (the same as in Berlin). It was nice, though, and at 18.50 they finished and left the stage.

At 19.35 the intro for the Stones started and that was really early - we exspected the show to start earlier than usual but not that early! Normally that would be a reason to be at least a bit angry, but not this night, because we had to work the next day and so we were able to be back in Hannover earlier than two o�clock in the morning and sleep a bit longer.

They came out in the sunlight(!) and the Stones were all wearing sunglasses, because the sun was right in their eyes. They must have seen the beautiful sunset later, which we did not notice too much because it was in our back. But who cares for beautiful sunsets if the Stones are right in front of you!?! A strong version of �Satisfaction� opened the show, followed by �Let�s Spend The Night Together�. Afterwards Mick said "Es ist sch�n wieder in Hamburg zu sein ... nach so langer Zeit..." (It�s nice to be back in Hamburg ... after such a long time...). Then he asked which song is next and my friend Sebi shouted "Flip The Switch" and Mick thanked for this hint. It�s nice to have this kind of interaction, really...

After �Flip The Switch� it was Mick to talk to us again: "Thank you very much .. you�re most kind .. yes indeed .. we are very happy to be here, I tell you.. and so many of you are looking so good .. so far: I hope you can hear a lot over there and over there ..... We usually do this show in the dark, but the mayor of Hamburg thought that you should go to bed early tonight, so we�re gonna do it early for you..."(grinning a bit). So Mick himself told us why they started that early (official curfew). Anyway, �Gimme Shelter� was next and it was great again and Lisa was mentioned by Mick with "Lisa Fisher ...... the woman in black" afterwards. Mick really was in talking mood this �night� as he continued with "How are you feeling out here? Are you feeling OK? Alles gut? Alles OK? Alright! ... " creating typical responses by the audience. "OK, We�re gonna do a song for you now...[...]... Ok, here we go..." and it was �Anybody Seen My Baby� which followed again. I have to admit that this tune is one of the songs, which I prefer in the studio version, though there is that city-referring snippet in it. So this time �they came to rock for Hamburg like this�! Anyway, it�s not a bad song live and the crowd was clapping most of the time (for what I heard from my position).

Afterwards Mick thanked us and continued with "Oh my goodness.... we are going to rock a little bit.. Are you ready??" - Yeah ! - "ARE YOU READY ??" - YEAAAH !! - "... Everybody over there, let�s go ..." and they started �It�s Only Rock�n Roll� and we liked it... A lot of people were clapping, jumping and singing along (including us, of course).

Well, this �night� Mick really cared for the people in the back of the field and thanked them again and then we shouted for �Saint Of Me� and Mick reacted with "Oh yeah" and waited for �Dave� to bring hiaccoustic guitar. We and some other people started to sing the chorus and when he got his guitar he continued with "[...] Das ist ein neuer Song. Es hei�t Saint of Me" (This is a new song called �SOM�). A nice version followed but singing afterwards was not as loud as we heard it before and so 8 minutes of Mick �Out Of Control� followed soon. Nice guitar-playing by Keith and Ronnie as always and Mick�s harp-solo was also very good.

Then it was time for the web choice ("Schauen wir auf die Webseite"), but this time it was not a web choice! I would call it web cheat! When we left home it was �Time Is On My Side� leading and �Memory Motel� in second position. It was like that one hour or so before the �final vote�, as a friend, who was at home told me later. Anyway, at showtime it was �Dead Flowers� on the top of the list, which is a nice song, but why do they want us to believe that it was the web choice? �Memory Motel� was only in 7th or 8th position proving that they manipulated the voting. Why don�t they simply say that there is no web choice today? But Mick only told us: " music.. we�ve heard up here in Hamburg you like country music, is that right?" and they started playing. The beginning was a bit strange but nice and people were clapping along.

Then it was Mick again, who asked "Are you feeling good?" - Yeah ! Then Mick got his red guitar by his daughter - a lot of family members were there in Hamburg, really! - "Wollt Ihr mitsingen?" Of course, we wanted to sing along to �Miss You� and so we did. This time Ronnie�s solo was very loud in the mix and very good, indeed, and Mick sang �you sexy motherfucker� before the �sing along�-part. During the song it started to rain again like in Berlin (yes, during the same song). Hey you up there, Mick is not missing the rain! It rained more or less during the next songs, but it was not that bad and at some time it stopped.

"Thank You, Ihr ward gro�artig! Fantastic" (You were so great) and then he said "Oh god, it�s raining... ich m�chte die Band vorstellen!" (I�d like to introduce the band) and he wanted Bernard to step up and get wet! We noticed the Zeppelin again flying over the venue and showing messages. When it was time for the �very lovely� Lisa Fisher to step up, she thanked us with a squeaking "Thank You" and we got something to laugh afterwards when Mick squeaked like Lisa and even Mick had to laugh again, though he was already introducing Chuck.

When Ronnie was introduced, he brought an old man with him and introduced him as �Scotty Moore� (Elvis Presley-Band, I think) and somebody in the audience started to sing an Elvis song. Anyway, Charlie was next and he got his big applause. Then Keith was on and he said "Hamburg! Welcome to the Rolling Stones! It�s good to be back... Lousy summer, but we can live.. On with the show... Tonight, we..." and then he stopped, laughed and continued with "Thief In The Night" and a nice version followed with Leah Wood on background vocals again. �Wanna Hold You� was next, but Keith introduced the tune as �I Got To Hold You�. I liked the solos very much!

On the b-stage they played �Little Queenie� (Chuck Berry song) again and Mick was talking a lot afterwards. "Thank You.. [..] .. I can just see you..... What�s the next song, Ronnie? ...... What�s next?". Ronnie did not react immediatly but then he came to Mick and said "I was talking to the audience, the audience..." and the rest was not audible. Mick thanked him (or the audience?) and a cool version of �You Got Me Rocking� followed. Keith fell on his back after the tune, but nothing happened and Mick continued with"Alright.... watch out for the decks ... they get washed away..." (laughing) and then he introduced �Like A Rolling Stones� with "Ok we�re gonna do one especially written to us by Bobby Dylan and[..], as he can�t be here, we�re gonna do a version of it.."

The last part of the show was great again, no surprises, but who cares! For us, attending more than one show of the Stones on this tour, the first part of the show is, of course, more interesting because of the variations in the set.

Keith and Ronnie signed something on the catwalk, the others only shook hands. �Sympathy� was excellent as ever, followed by a good �Tumbling Dice� and �Honky Tonk Woman� with the usual Keith �kicking keyboard�-part. �HTW� got a lot of clapping and afterwards Mick asked us: "Habt Ihr Spa�?"(Are you having fun?) and Keith tripple-started �Start Me Up� again. I don�t know if they made the cold men cry, but it was a nice version, though. Then Mick wanted to know if we want more ("Wollt Ihr mehr?"). What a question! Of course, we wanted more and we got more with �Jumping Jack Flash�. Slight mistakes by Keith and Ronnie at some time, but not worth mentioning, though I did now... Anyway, after �JJF� Mick wished us a good night with "Vielen Dank und Hamburg: Gute Nacht!"

The Audience was shouting for more soon and as exspected they only played �Brown Sugar� as encore... Anyway, if you ask me, they�ll play �You Can�t Always Get What You Want� in Bremen on Wednesday, so be there! They were using the whole size of the stage during the last song again and then it was time to say goodbye again. At 22.02 the firework was over and we hurried to leave the venue, because we wanted to avoid likely traffic to return to Hannover soon. Then we ran(!) on a way through the wood in complete darkness! Ufff, but then we reached the car at 22.10 and were leaving Hamburg on the highway without any traffic at all! Then it was time to relax again and talk about the show... and it was good show, really. When I reached home (before midnight) it was even earlier than after the Hannover-show in June! The next show for me (as for the Stones) will be Bremen on Wednesday, September 2nd. See you there..

Start time: 19.35
End time  : 22.02

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. It's Only Rock'n Roll
  7. Saint Of Me
  8. Out Of Control
  9. Dead Flowers (web choice)
  10. Miss You
    -- Introductions --
  11. Thief In The Night (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)

Comments by Matthias Grond

Why are they doing a cybervote, if it's a big cheet? One hour before the show starts "Time is on my side" leeds, "Memory Motel" second and Mick tells us "OH, tonight you decide for "Dead Flowers".

Hey Mick, why are you doing a cybervote, when you decide what song to play?

Review by Johannes Delmere

It was relly a night to remember! We got there very late ( around 4 pm), but we knew the name and the password, so we made it into the Keith side this time.

The Trabrennbahn is next to the Volkspark in Hamburg, a very large site, so roughly 90.000 people were there. But in the front section you do not feel the audience is a hassle. Although there was one drunken guy who started a fight and was taken out. I can't stand drunken people making a fuzz and spoiling the mood, so that was ok by me, although his friends kept complaining all night.

The concert started early (7.35 pm), as there is a curfew in Hamburg, meaning they had to stop at 22.00 pm, which they did.

Big Country opened again, still some sort of feud going on betweend Stuart Adamson and his guitar roadie, this time about the length of a cable. Set was ok, nothing special.

The Stones were in great form. It was "talking to the audience"-night. I have never heard Mick talk so much, even Keith and Ronnie did some comments as well.

They came out in the full sunlight, everyone wearing sunglasses, as the sun was right in their eyes. Mick: "We usually do this show in the dark, but the mayor of Hamburg decided that you should go to bed early tonight, so we started earlier as well."

Satisafction was strong, so was Let's spend the Night together. There were little problems with the monitors, as first Mick and then later Ronnie turned to the right side, signalling the monitor control guy to turn it up. Ronnie had some problems with his guitar as well at some stage, but all in all he played very well and loud.

Before they came out you could see Jo Wood just next to the drums, giving him a kiss before he came on. Geogia Mae was also there for the first 8 or 9 songs, right by the keybords. She did some dance routines during Gimme Shelter and Anybody seen my baby. I coulnd't see with whom she was, but it looked a bit like Patti Hansen. It all seemed like a family trip on stage, Mick and Ronnie bringing their daughters (Leah did Thief in the Night on bv's again) and maybe that made them try a little harder so they could impress their kids.

Saint of me was alright, but the crowd did not really get it afterwards, so Out of control came soon. Guitars were very loud on this one, Ronnie's wah wah and Keith's soloing and hitting the strings was gorgeous.

For introductions Ronnie braught out a little old man and introduced him as Scotty Moore. I wondered if he would play something with them, but he didn't.

Ronnie was asked out to the catwalk on Keith' side during IORR and he gladly took the turn over there with Mick. Ronnie was running around quite a lot in Hamburg, being more on the Keith side than on his side. Lots of interplay with the guitars, lots of strange noises during solos, Ronnie's solo for Miss you was great! Never heard him play these noises on this tour, going bang, twang, scrrrrrchhhhhh etc.

And then we caught them cheating! As this was Hamburg, the biggest Harbour in Europe, they wanted to play some kind of country song, so they did "Dead Flowers" (which was great and good to see and hear again). But: They wanted us to believe it was a webchoice and showed the homepage for the Trabrennbahn. The page they showed had Dead Flowers with 22% and Time is on my side with 19%, Street Fighting Men being third. Memory Motel was nowhere to be seen at all, not in the Top 5 at least. Before we left Berlin around 12, we checked the webside and it had Time is on My side qith 22% followed by Memory Motel with 19.5%. Dead Flowers was not even in there at all. So how did they do this then? Do they make their own html-code to show something on the screen? Why declare this a webchoice, when it isn't? Why not just say: no webchoice today? Arrgh. I don't like this, though I did not mind hearing Dead Flowers. But it's a bit disappointing that you not only have to make your song become No. 1, but you also have to make sure it's the right song in the right place.

During Miss You the rain set in again, quite heavily at times but still alright. Keith: "Lousy summer, but at least we can live with it". Thief in the night was good, but not as excellent as in Berlin.

On the b-stage Mick asked Ronnie, what the next song was, but Ronnie didn't listen, because he was talking to someone in the audience, so Mick shouted "Ronnie" a couple of times. Ronnie came to him and grabbed his Mick and told him: "Mick, I was talking to the audience" and Mick laughed.

Keith fell on his behind after You got me rocking, Ronnie helped him back �n his feet again and everyone smiled and laughed, Keith couldn't believe that it happened at all.

On the catwalk Ronnie and Keith signed a few posters, the others only shook hands, but did not sign anything.

The end section was marvellous, very loud and played very well. During Brown Sugar Keith and Lisa went out left and Keith right. Keith ran over to the left side then, met Mick and Linda on stage, shook hands and made his way to the other side. Looked nice, Lisa was trying to catch her breath but followed Mick around.

After 25 years of not having played in Hamburg, the audience just loved it. On our way home, we had 3 hours of NDR reports on the concert with lots of good Stones music, interviews with audience and even bits and pieces from Keith (I wonder which interview that was) about being on tour and what the Stones are all about. As I said, a night to remember, look forward to the tapes of the show.

Review by Dirk Snapper, Holland

Unfortunately we arrived late (15.00 h) at the "Trabrenbahn" (horse race course) due to a car problem we had leaving Leipzig. And because the gates opened at 2 p.m. already it meant that we were doomed to stay outside the front section. So there we were, among those other 95,000 people... We found a spot in the middle of the huge field to get the best possible sound. And it wasn't too bad afterall... :-(

And again it rained a little during the afternoon. Big Country opened at 18.10 h which was very early of course. Even the Stones started early at 19.35 h. Later on Mick explained why the show started that early: "We usely do this show in the dark, but the mayor of Hamburg thinks you'll have to go to bed early!"

After two great shows in Berlin and Leipzig this one I found the lesser of the three. There was It's Only Rock 'n Roll again and Dead Flowers as Websong. During the band introductions Woody introduced Scotty Moore (All The King's Men). Miss You seems to get longer every time with a lot of nonsense, like Mick sucking Lisa's toes.

Review by Torsten Kellner, Neubrandenburg, Germany

The baddest concert for me, not because of the STONES, but of the local management. Sitting in my car at 1 p.m. and driving to Hamburg I heard that the open �Trabrennbahn� at 2 p.m. But I was there at Trabrennbahn at 5 p.m. and had no chance to get into the security area or another good place near the stage. 90.000 people were there. Too much.

Two times rain falls. And at 6 a.m. the speaker talks about the beginning and how to get out there after the concert. (Typical German over-organizing). I wonder, what�s going� on. A little bit later came Big Country, and then 7.30 p.m. the STONES began to play, while sun was shining. What! The fantastic light show was in vain. Mick told us later the reason, and I read in the local paper, the local administration whished, that 10 p.m. will be silent. And the STONES do so! I can�t understand. So I hope they will never play in this commonplace philistine (German: Spie�buerger) town!

I stand a while in the crowd on the right side outside the security area and see nothing. Among me were big people, lots of them drunk. Why do the go to this concert? The people were very cool and boring, except the drunken and stoned, and they don�t want to sing with Mick during Saint Of Me and Miss You.

The Web song was again one of my favourites DEAD FLOWERS. Do you know the version of Towns van Zandt? But it was manipulated as I think, because Mick say�s �I Know Hamburg likes Country�. So he played it for Hamburg? Or do only Hamburg people vote?

The STONES played great as usual. But it�s another thing to hear them and to see them. The people around me get more drunk and stoned. So I went out and go behind, while the STONES played on center stage. With melancholy I thought about Berlin and Leipzig, standing 2 meters in front of Keith and Mick and hear them singing live.

For the rest I only looked at the video screen far away from the STONES. But the sound was very good on the other end of the Trabrennbahn. And I saw first time the fantastic entire light and fire show on the whole stage e.g. for JJF. In Berlin I felt the heat of the flames and here I saw the lightning flashes and they were very big.

After a fantastic STONES concert with bad surround conditions I fast went out before the crowd pushed again. I�m sorry that I can�t say: See you in Bremen, Berlin Waldbuehne.... . But I hope they will come back soon, but never to Hamburg!

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