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It's Only Rock'n Roll

Valle Hovin
Oslo, Norway
Sunday August 2, 1998

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Review by Bj�rnulf Vik, Asker, Norway

Finally I had a show where it took me 25 minutes to get there from home, after seing then coming closer to my home town in the past week. The weather is important for outdoor shows, and on Saturday it rained cats and dogs in the evening. On showday Sunday morning it rained too, but in the afternoon it looked like once again the Stones were blessed by better weather, even if it was still not really warm - may be 15-20 degrees.

The show started just before 9pm, due to an 11pm deadline. Valle Hovin is an old winter sports speed skating arena in a residential area, surrounded by trees and a park. Most of the 32,000 crowd (out of not sold out 40,000 capacity) were standing on the concrete floor, which was really soaking wet by all the rain. I guess better summer weather, plus a date outside of the big holiday period, would have sold out the show easier...

Both Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Darryl were out on Satisfaction wearing sunglasses, like they did in 1995 in Oslo. That time sunglasses were really needed, as the sun was low and strong, but this time the clouds were preventing the sun from being the ultimate Stones spotlight in the land of the midnight sun. Today it was still not dark half an hour before the show finished, even if we could start having a feeling of the light show by that time.

The Stones were in great shape. This was the best show of Scandinavia. Denmark was quiet and relaxed compared to one of the greatest 1995 shows ever being held there in 1995. Gothenburg was much better, but Oslo proved that the Stones had been resting and bulding up lots of energy during the rain the day before.

Anybody Seen My Baby was clear, smooth and good. Dead Flowers was a big surprise, as I was sure they would keep playing Paint It Black by now. I guess someone told them country music is very popular in Norway. Anyway, Dead Flowers was the first song that really made the crowd move around and dance a bit. The good mood continued with Saint Of Me, even if I missed the great sing-a-long reactions to this song, known from shows other places in Europe.

Out Of Control was amazing. How I love this song. And how great it is to see Mick back in action after being a bit slow on this song on the previous shows. But the crowd were still a bit slow. May be they longed for the older songs, as up to now we had got four out of eight songs from the new album Bridges To Babylon...

Love Is Strong was the second harmonica song in a row, and I just love it when Mick play the harmonica! He was not all up front, but stayed half way back to Charlie, being concentrated on the harmonica. But again, a rather new song, so the crowd didn't care muck - too bad!

Miss You did some singing and dancing in the crowd, but to me this song some times simply gets boring and long. Ronnie did his best on the guitar solo.

Mick tried to speak Norwegian, but it sounded more like Danish. Nobody understood what he called Ronnie, except it should be something like "den ville og gale", which means the wild and crazy... Keith did "You Don't Have To Mean It", pleasing my daughter, who use to steal my BtB album due to this song. But she thought the version was weak, as Keith's voice was not as strong as it could be. Still, we had got 5 out of the first 11 songs from the latest album!

The small stage entrance made people around me move to the center, and suddenly there were plenty of space up front, so I simply moved to the first row by the stage, where Keith comes out on Brown Sugar, and I stayed there watching the small stage songs.

Sympathy For The Devil started the best part of the show for the average fan in the stadium. The biggest paper Aftenposten reported that the show had the best part of the show from this song and on, and so did my daughter say, being raised on Stones songs for her entire life at home...

During the last part of Jumping Jack Flash a stage "runner" came walking from my rightside wing, having some object in his hand, probably a paper or something. I was shocked that nobody stopped him, but as he walked rather than were running, most of the security people probably thought that he were working on stage! Anyway, just as he was just a couple of meters away from Mick and Keith, almost in touching distance, Mick's bodyguard made a tiger move and grabbed him, just like he did with a stage runner in Phoenix last year. Thanks!

On Brown Suger I got payback for waiting patiently for Keith. He came running to my side of the stage, slided down on his knees, and stayed there for his entire "wingside solo", rather than continuing all the way out. He just smiled and played to each of us being up there close. And I'll tell you, this position, half way out from the stage to the far end of the wing, is the best and the by far closest position for seing Mick or Keith, as the stage makes a curve, to the crowd, only separating us my 1 - 2 meters (3 - 5 feet). Keith was in great shape, and gave us all a great smile.

Mick however never came out to us on this side, like he use to do during Brown Sugar, probably still a bit shaky from the stage runner incident. But as he stopped only one third on his way out to the right wing, he walked back to the center, to Keith, using all his remaining energy by shadow boxing and dancing around Keith, who was back from his walk to the other side as well.

After the show my daughter donated her beers from the Leiv Vidar sponsor tent to my friends Juha and Stefan, and as we walked back to our car and found confetti all the way up there, it reminded us of this great show. The press and the crowd may have thought it was slow in it's start, but we just loved it. Helsinki is next!

PS. Also, see the reviews in the biggest Norwegian tabloid papers Dagbladet - headline " Rynkerock p� sitt beste" (Wrinkle rock at it's best) and VG - " Rolling Stones rullende sirkus" (Rolling Stones rolling circus). Subtitled: "Potent og pomp�st aldri patetisk" (potent and pompous... but never pathetic).

Start time: 20:55
End time  : 23:10

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. Dead Flowers
  7. Saint Of Me
  8. Out Of Control
  9. Love Is Strong (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 Georg Vallestad

The doors opened at 17:00. My wife and I first went to the Grand Hotel where some friends (and the Stones) stayed. When we left their room for a taxi to the stadium a sequrity guard told us more or less to fuck off, and right behind us we saw Jerry Hall and the kids leaving their room haeading for the staff elevator.

We were outside the stadium the day before and looked through the fences and decided where we wanted to stand. When we arrived at the stadium at 19:00, we headed for the small stage. We got a PERFECT place on the right side of the small stage, right in front of Keiths microphone. It was only one small woman between me and the fence (1.5 meters from the stage). While we were standing there waiting, I noticed a sheet of paper on a case right in front of the small stage. Through my binoculars I could read the text. It was the setlist for tonight, including the web choice, Love Is Stong. Before I left home (at 17:00), I voted Time Is on My Side up to first position, but sadly it missed it. I noticed this was show #88. On the same line as Honky Tonk Women it was written something like 'Will cut this if we have to ......' (the rest was hidden by a michrophone stand). I feared they maybe would skip this song. I wrote down the setlist and put it in my pocket. (Some guy behind me asked me to see the setlist, and asked me if I was 'Vik' !!!)

At 20:58, Keith walked onto the stage, and the show was on. They did a tight, really great version of Satisfaction. The sound was good, and you could here both guitars loud and clear. This sounded very promising. However, the next song, Let's Spend The Night Together, didn't work. It started to get better again during Flip The Switch, and with Gimme Shelter it was no doubt: This would be a great show. Even Anybody Seen My Baby went on well tonight. Great versions of Dead Flowers and Saint Of Me was next. This was much, much better than in 1995. I was very pleased with what I heard, but it should even be better. Out Of Control rocked like hell. It couln't be better, and it more or less stayed at that level the rest of the show.

I can't judge how the played on the small stage, because the sound close to that stage is a mix of stage monitors, and the delayed sound from the speakers on the main stage. You also hear Charlies drums without the speakers. It must be very difficult to play under these circumstances! Charlie did not wear headphones, and I didn't notice any ear plugs on any of them. Anyway, it wasn't the music that was imortant. I was standing 1.5 meters away, right in front of Keith! I almost managed to grab a pick, but missed it by 5-10 cm. A guy beside my wife complained that he was hit in the cheek by a coin or something when Keith through the pick!!! Can you believe that? Everybody tries to grab the pick and this guy think he is hit by a coin?

After the small stage set, they all walked back except Mick, who stayed and changed clothes for Sympathy For The Devil, and walked back during the first verse. Tumbling Dice, Honky Tonk Womet etc. rocked! Nothing more to be said. This must have been one the best shows on this tour. The soundmix was great, you could hear both guitars, loud and clear. The 2 songs I could have done without on this tour (and the previous) are Miss You and Sympathy For The Devil. The last one is my favorite, and in 1989/90 they played these 2 songs better than they ever had done before (and better than they will ever do again, it seems).

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