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It's Only Rock'n Roll

Tokyo Dome
Tokyo, Japan
Thursday March 12, 1998

Review by Toru Aoki

As my house is walking distance from Tokyo Dome, five minutes on foot, I could overhear the sound of U2 and Aerosmith in this week. But I couldn't catch a rehearsal Stones did in this afternoon due to the fluctuated wind direction. This morning Tokyo Dome inserted a leaflet into every newspaper and delivered to each houses around Tokyo Dome. It said ' We are very sorry to trouble you by traffic jam and the expected noise brought about by The Rolling Stones.' Anyway, it made me recall that I overheard and enjoyed the sound of Mick's blues harp lying in my bed relaxing in 1990. Basically, I do believe it's common courtesy to see and feel them as an audience in The Stones show. I could not stop being excited.

Although they were in a good shape after taking 2 weeks vacation, they seemed to starve to play rock music. Songs became tighter in the middle of this BTB tour. New songs were digested nicely. Flip The Switch, Saint Of Me and Out Of Control were the best of today's show. And the stomy winter in 1981 Kansas flashed back in my mind by web choice, Under my thumb.

However the sound quality was not good. Maybe the worst in my experience. It was like hearing CD on Dolby surround hi-fi system. I hope it will be improved for the next three shows. William Shakespeare said, 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.'

Stones? Mick and Keith were King of Rock'n'Roll themselves. They let us rock again and again. They were only Rock'n' Roller. But how about audience? To my dismay, Dome was not full. Audience was about 30,000 and second floor was completly empty. I guess it was because the show had to start in the working man's dead time.

Anyway I enjoyed the show. This was my 20th Stones concert. Although my 2 year old son and my wife missed the Chicago show, this could be a great memory for my family.

Start time : 6:45
End time   : 9:05

The set list:

  1. Satisfaction
  2. Let's Spend The Night Together
  3. Flip The Switch
  4. Gimme Shelter
  5. Angie (Keith on acoustic)
  6. Bitch
  7. Saint Of Me
  8. Out Of Control
  9. Under My Thumb (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. The Last Time (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. You Can't Always Get What You Want (encore)
  22. Brown Sugar (encore)

Also thanks to Naohiro Mikawa for setlist information!!!

Review by Hitoshi & Junko Sato

The Rolling Stones kicked off the Japanese part of the B2B Tour in front of 36,000 audience at the Tokyo Dome. Just like the North American Tour, lightning, blast and Keith's guitar riff of"Satisfaction" opened up the show. Sound quality tonight seemed to be all right for the Tokyo Dome which is known for poor sound. Charlie's drum beats can be felt loud and clear, however guitars were bit too low. After "Let's Spend The Night Together", Mick greeted the audience "Nihon ni kaette korete ureshi desu!" (meaning "We are happy to be back in Japan"). "Flip the Switch", now much more "Stones like" than the studio version, and "Gimme Shelter", featuring Lisa, followed. Than Keith sat down in a chair, took an acoustic guitar and the crowd broke into a big cheer as the introduction of "Angie" came out. Ron's first guitar solo of the night was played in this song, but regretfully, it could be hardly heard for the sound of his guitar was so small. "Bitch", with the full horn section, is followed by "Out of Control". We've read many reviews crediting this number as the highlight of the first half of the concert, and now we really understand what they all meant. Mick danced vigorously, literally out of control, and the track of his movement was projected by flashing lights which reflected on his shiny silver jacket. Then, the web choice. Until this morning, "Time is On My Side" was the leading choice, however the winner for the first Japanese show was "Under My Thumb". Mick asked the audience, again in Japanese, to sing along on "Miss You". After this song, Mick introduced each member of the band (some in Japanese). Charlie got loud "Charlie, Charlie!" calls from the crowd perhaps were dying to see his charming smile.

Then, Keith stepped out to the middle of the stage to be the center of attraction for his section of the concert. There must be more Keith fans in Japan than in the any other part of the world; no one left for a toilet break or ran for beer. Keith seemed to be in a very happy and relaxed mood and sang "You Don't Have To Mean It" and "Wanna Hold You".

Because we were seated rather close to the small center stage, we ran toward there, with a bunch of underwear and flowers in our hands, and waited for Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ron, Darryl, and Chuck as they crossed the bridge. A few audience were throwing underwear onto the stage (It would've been nicer if there were more.) while "Little Queenie", "Last Time" and "Like A Rolling Stone" were performed. We could see the band so up close, we could even count the number of lines on Mick's face. Visually, being so close to the center stage was such an exciting experience, but audio wise it was awkward. Sounds from different speakers and from monitors on the center stage, all with different delays, were heard at once. Throughout the 3 songs, all the member on the stage kept smiling to the audience. They sure know how to make the audience happy! Ronnie was especially pleased to find many "Ronnie" signs held along the stage.

The band walked back to the main stage and the show proceeded right into non stop parade of everybody's favorite numbers. "Sympathy For The Devil", "Tumbling Dice", "Honky Tonk Women", "Start Me Up", and finally "Jumping Jack Flash" closed tonight's main set.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Brown Sugar" were played for encore. Enormous amount of confetti blasted out at the beginning of "Brown Sugar", and also extensive fireworks exploded at the end, and the very first show of the Japanese Tour came to a close.

There was no special song selection tonight and the sound quality needed to be improved, however we can look forward to how the rest of the tour progress. The Stones will be playing in front of the sold out crowd and the TV cameras at the next show on Saturday.

Read all about the Bridges To Babylon tour in the It's Only Rock'n Roll magazine. Next issue IORR 32 out March 20, 1998.

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