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It's Only Rock'n Roll

Hipodrom Zagreb
Zagreb, Croatia
Thursday August 20, 1998

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Review by Ernst and Philipp Happel, Austria

The Stones arrived around 21:00 in the evening of Aug. 19th. Mick came in a private lear jet, the boys and the crew arrived with the usual Swiss registered Boeing 737. Their arrival made the frontpage on all newspapers.

A local radio station had a 50's vehicle driving through the city - with two dressed up beauties sitting on the roof, event posters on each side and the back door open - blasting out Stones songs very loudly! Posters all over the city, while several shops and botiquesdecorated their windows with LP covers, photos and red tongues! Zagreb was ready for the biggest show ever at the Hipodrom.

On the day of the concert thousands of people bought tickets at one of the many general tourist offices - so did we, the serial number on the ticket read 93.640 and 41. Many people were at the gates early in the morning. The gates opened at 2pm, and within the evening the place was packed.

There was slight rain before the show started at 9:45pm. The majority of the crowd was very young, and they were ready for the Stones. When keith started the famous riff the whole crowd went bananas - jumping and clapping. Let's Spend - bananas again, jumping, singing, clapping the whole song. Even with Flip the Switch they were as crazy as during the first two numbers. After Lets Spend Mick's Croaten speaking was well received. At the beginning of Gimme Shelter the whole race track was cheering again.

Anybody was well received, both singing verses and chorus with Mick. Then Paint It Black - a more melodic version, like in Helsinki, and not as rough and hard as in Paris - bananas again! Saint of Me - again the whole field completely wild. So far at the end of each number our position had changed by 5 meters due to the jumping crowd. Slight rain started at the end of Saint. Clapping again at the beginning of Out Of Control.

Then finally Starfucker made the cybervote win, we'd been hoping for this song for many shows now but had not heard it on this tour. The song started off with It's Only Rock'n Roll with a few seconds of Little Queenie before actually turning into Starfucker.

Miss You was not received by the crowd as in many other cities - in fact Flip The Switch got a lot more clapping and jumping. Introductions: Mick asked Charlie to come up front, and Keith brought Charlie all the way to the very front.

The rain became heavier when Keith played Thief In The Night and Wanna Hold You.

The bridge was a big surprise for Zagreb. Little Queenie came over very well. Under My Thumb returned into the setlist, and during Like A Rolling Stone the field was shaking again.

Then the routine finish with Sympathy, Tumbling Dice. During Honky Tonk the crowd was wild again, likewise in Start Me Up and Jack Flash. The rain stopped and the encore of course was Brown Sugar. All in all a very good show, though it was not precision day tonight. We heard some new riffs, some new breaks and a few new lyrics - but that's perfectly arright, cause it's only rock'n roll but we like it!! See ya all in Prague.

Start time: 21:45
End time  : 24:00

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. Paint It Black
  7. Saint Of Me
  8. Out Of Control
  9. Star Star (web choice)
  10. Miss You
    -- Introductions --
  11. Thief In The Night (Keith)
  12. Wanna Hold You (Keith)
  13. Little Queenie (center stage)
  14. Under My Thumb (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 Walter Maccari, Italy

"Hello Zagreb!! It's great to be here again after 22 years": That's what Mick Jagger said in Croatian after having sung "Satisfaction" (I'm sorry I can't report the right words, as I do not know Croatian language, and a guy behind me translated this). The Rolling Stones played here in 1976 for the last time, and there was a lot of excitement for their comeback here. When the concert previously scheduled for 28th may was postponed there was a joke running here in Croatia, the sounded like "Let's hope we do not have another 22 years for their performance!!".

Let's talk about the show then!! The audience was composed by Croatian people in majority, obviously, but there were lots of guys coming from Slovenia, Italy (just like me), Hungary and other countries from East Europe. During the first songs Mick seemed to have some troubles with his voice, exactly with high notes: "Satisfaction", is it possible to have a Rolling Stones concert without this tune? "Let's Spend The Night Together" great! "Flip The Switch" A great sample of Stones' sound "Gimme Shelter" was a great version, and the verse "War children is just a shout away", here in Zagreb had a strong meaning, as war was not just a word here not many years ago.

"Anybody Seen My Baby?" I must say I never loved that song. With "Paint, It Black" and Mick seemed to have solved troubles with his voice. "Out Of Control" is a great song and live version is wonderful with Ronnie's guitar and Mick's harmonica in his duet with Keith's guitar. For those who can't or couldn't see the show, please see the live video "Bridges To Babylon" to understand what I mean. After "Saint Of Me", it was time for the web choice and it was, surprisingly "Star Star", presented even in the web site a with the original title "Star Fucker"!! During the last verse Mick Jagger sang "At the party I got mad with you for your giving it to la la la la la la", omitting the name of Steve McQueen, maybe for a matter of respect. "Miss You" is always a great moment for Mick's performance and his jokes with Lisa.

The 2 Keith Richards' songs were "Thief In The Night" and "Wanna Hold You". Then it was time for the centre stage, I was very near and saw them very close, and for me it was the most exciting part of the show!! The songs played were "Little Queenie" "Under My Thumb" and "Like A Rolling Stone" It rained during the show but the guys seemed not to care about this during their performance on the small stage.

After that the Stones played the final songs in the same order of all European shows "Sympathy...", "Tumbling Dice", Honky Tonk Women", "Start Me Up", Jumpin' Jack Flash", and the final encore of "Brown Sugar". The audience was satisfied, maybe also because the show had a slow beginning and continued rising.

After the show there was a party near the railway station, for those who wanted more, but me I was completely satisfied, having seen them for the third time. I saw them in Torino (Italy) 1990, and Zeltweg (Austria) 1995.

I think that they played better in Zeltweg during the Voodoo Lounge Tour, but who cares? There are just slight differences between every concert, because the show they offer is always great, even with these differences. I end this report with a message for the Stones: "Please don't forget to schedule an Italian concert in 1999. You haven't played in Italy since 1990 (and I was there), and it's time for your comeback!!"

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