It's Only Rock'n Roll
"Thank you very much. Fucking great," he commented at the end of "Start Me Up," slowly emphasizing both syllables of the penultimate word.
Mick wore his shades for the first half of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," perhaps to protect his eyes from all the stars in the audience. The local radio station said Brad Pitt and Claudia Schiffer were there (separately), and I'm pretty sure I saw Pamela Anderson Lee in the soundboard enclosure. But the crowd was certainly not VIP and dull: it was definitely the most enthusiastic yet, and a lot of hipster-looking kids.
"Moonlight Mile" returned to the set, "Sweet Virginia" got a great roar when Mick did the "thank you for your wine, California" bit, and "You Got the Silver" was once again a no-show, replaced by "Before They Make Me Run." Keith's performance on "Thief in the Night" is really something to behold, if only because he gets most of the words right. "Out of Control" didn't seem to garner much of a reaction. I guess it's safe to assume that the cage is history.
The only major boo-boo was provided by Chuck Leavell during "Saint of Me." He accidentally pressed the key governing the sampled conga intro to "Sympathy for the Devil" as Mick was about to lead the crowd into the "oh yeah!" chanting, and Mick spun around to see what the hell was going on. But the whole thing lasted for maybe a second or two. Perhaps Chuck's worse sin was removing his shirt and playing in his vest, revealing a tattoo, much flab and chest hair.
My seat was by the small stage where I've noticed that the sound is consistently superior to that coming from the main stage. I was shocked when Mick dedicated "Route 66" to Bobby Troup, the song's writer who died of congestive heart failure aged 80 on Sunday in LA. It's rare that Mick allows such sentimentality to creep into the show. A lot of bras and panties were thrown onto the small stage. Maybe it was my imagination (running away with me), but "Midnight Rambler" almost collapsed when Charlie missed a beat or something. Hopefully someone can explain.
The home stretch is still dull, but the crowd dug it so what the hell? I notice that the music played after the Stones have left the building is "Bittersweet Symphony," perhaps a subtle message to the Grammy voters who were in the crowd. Fans going Thursday should look out for the KLOS booth where they were giving away ear plugs in little containers commemorating the concerts. People without tickets need not worry: all the shows I've been to you can get great seats at way less than face value. One fan paid $50 for his $150 seat just behind me.
The set list:
From JJF through HTW, thia show was really quite a blur. It had the feeling, to me, as if they were just running through the setlist as fast as they could to get it over with. Things got better as the band was forced to slow things down for Moonlight Mile, which still sounds rough, and made a turn for the best with Sweet Virginia. From that point forward they clicked, and the energy was on the rise.
The B stage set was incredible, mainly because I was so close, but also for the brilliant rendition of Midnight Rambler. Again though, the recurring theme for me was one of mild disappointment as the B stage set was the same as Sacramento 1. If nothing else, it really seems the B stage is the place to try out different songs, but I guess Mick has decided to play it safe the whole way through.
The string O hits, while certainly nothing new, was one of the better efforts I've seen. In sharp contrast to the show's opening numbers, this stretch seemed much better paced and most of the rather subdued crowd looked to be on their feet now (sometimes southern CA is TOO laid back...)
I've never left a Stones show disappointed, they are always great, and always leave me wanting more. The problem is that part of the reason I leave wanting more, is because we always get the same songs. While the Stones have mixed things up a little, and have spared us Miss You, and Satisfaction this time, they are still falling well short of what so many fans want. Between Oakland and Sacramento 1 with so many changes, I had great hope that there would be many setlist changes from night to night, but it now seems we have a fixed list with a couple rotation spots (Moonlight Mile, Sweet Virginia, and Keith's tunes). Still, I'll be heading back for more on Thursday, then holding my breath hoping for San Jose reschedules I can make it to, and there's Philly in March. Somewhere in there, I'm hopeful, will come a few more gems I haven't seen played before.
Anyway, beyond the sound issue, the band was charged up. The show was not as good as the MGM Grand show in 1997, but close. It was nice to hear Moonlight Mile and Sweet Virginia and look forward to possibly hearing You Got the Silver during the show on 2/11. The small stage songs were awesome. It is amazing to me how good the band looks up close. Its no wonder that Mick can still pull Brazilian Babes.
I keep hoping that Mick Taylor will show up for on of the shows in his neighborhood, but that seems unlikely. Is he even on speaking terms with the band? An appearance and a rendition of Time Waits for No One would be outstanding.
Overall, I had a great time and the band is still the most talented rock band of all time and there will never be a better live band. If they would just stop playing that Microsoft song.
JJF was blistering... a great way to open the show. Keith is looking even more the rock and roll pirate with all the beads and various other contraband entwined in his hair. No one else even comes close to matching Lord Richards in the menacing (black leather jacket, lighting bolt chain dangling from his waist, shades), yet elegant (purple silk shirt, red silk sash belt) style of dress that only he can seem to get away with. Enough fashion bullshit...about the show....
Live With Me sounded kind of sloppy but it was nice to hear it again. Some Girls was absolutely outstanding. I wonder if Mick's lyric change from "black chicks" to "white" is inspired by fear of over-sensitive, PC minded people branding him a racist (highly doubtful), or perhaps it's a dig at a certain has-been model from Texas who speaks in a contrived Euro-trash accent (I like to think so). Paint It Black was brilliant. In the past it's always been a good live tune, but last night's version was purely hypnotic. Mick poured himself into the song and made it sound darker and more exotic than I've ever heard before.
I was expecting to hear Memory Motel, which would have been great, but was even more thrilled by a beautiful rendition of Moonlight Mile. Keith and Ronnie's "ancient art of weaving" their guitars made it a wonderful highlight to an otherwise pretty predictable set list. Sweet Virginia...there's nothing like hearing thousands of people singing along about scraping shit off their shoes. Saint of Me has fast become one of my favorite songs to hear live and last nights performance was a good reason why.
My hat's off to the boys in the control center for the beautiful job they did with the lighting. I was disappointed to say the least that Keith opted to do Before They Make Me Run instead of You Got The Silver. Silver has been one of my favorites since I first heard it twenty-odd years ago, and Keith seems to not give much of a shit about getting the lyrics right on Run. I'll always prefer the album version to the live.
Route 66...Loads of fun to see on the small stage. Ronnie seemed to be completely distracted during Imagination... he spent most of the first half of the song joking around with some fans on his side of the stage. I kept waiting for Keith to give him the evil eye for not carrying his share of the weight, but he never seemed to notice Ronnie's preoccupation. Midnight Rambler really fits in well on the small stage...a fantastic performance.
Well, we all know how the rest of the show goes...very predictable yet enjoyable. One quick note to the fans who keep belly-aching about Keith's run on the keyboard during HTW...Get Over It!! The man is simply enjoying himself while he works and it always puts a smile on his face as well as the fans'. If you somehow feel embarrassed or put off by Keith tickling the ivories, keep it to yourself. Too many people enjoy seeing Keith and Chuck interact for your misplaced opinion to matter.
Hey they were ahead of the times. I have been waiting for 29 years to hear "Moonlight Mile" and it sounded great. it was always my fave song off of "Sticky Fingers" and the Stones took me all the way back to Santa Fe because of the wide open spaces of that song. WOW. We cheered when the Jag said thank you for your wine California. "Some Girls" was ragged and right. "Paint It, Black", took me all the way back to the Hollywood Bowl circa '66, they are playing it a lot better now. They are playing everything better now.
The crowd cheered the loudest for darling, Charlie as they should have because he makes the Stones swing like a hammer. Keef rocked "Before They Make Me Run" and was menacing on "Thief In The Night" with it's silky Memphis groove. On the little stage the Stones rocked "Route 66" and the Jag dedicated it to Bobby Troup who left the building on Sunday then they went through Motown with "Just My Imagination" and then they went to hell with "Midnight Rambler" with the Jag playing some evil harp.
Yeah, the Stones do have the blood of Count Basie, Muddy Waters, the Wolf and others flowing through them. "Tumbling Dice". "It's Only Rock and Roll" and "Start Me Up" lit the matches and by the time "Brown Sugar" and Sympathy For The Devil" rolled around, that mother was burning. Then it was over, the huffing, the puffing, the screaming and the shouting. The Stones rocked it. Great seats, too.
What other band in history can say they have played the LA Forum, Anaheim Stadium, LA Coliseum, Rose Bowl, Dodger Stadium, and now the Pond...... every major sports venue in Southern California.....
Unbelievable show!!! But let's get picky. Especially with the high ticket prices......
Having also seen the opener in Oakland on Jan. 25th, it was a treat to see Moonlight Mile performed for only the 2nd time... But, I would love to have the song extended "live" like the album version... Mick cuts it off... before the long extended keyboard which is so great on the album!!! I guess that won't work for the "live" crowd... Mick was very relieved after the song!!!
The old warhorses at the end of the set are getting tiresome!!! For us veteran Stones fans... Man... they are great but it's a rerun... I could do without Brown Sugar and It's Only Rock 'n Roll for the 1000th time... How about She was Hot... One hit to the Body... Can't you hear me Knocking... Sway... Ain't too proud too beg!!!
I love seeing them... and I know they have to cater to the casual fan... but it is fun to dream!!!
I was somewhat surprised to see Adams playing bass. I've never seen him live before, but at least in his videos he always plays guitar. Is there a regular bass player who couldn't make the gig? I suppose they could have asked Keith to fill in, but it would probably have interfered with his pre-show ritual: warming up and polishing off a fifth of vodka with Ronnie.
Seriously, I think Adams' performance may have suffered by remaining stationary most of the set, hitting the bass notes, instead of roaming the stage to better connect with the audience. Their set was solid, not spectacular, and I thought the sound was mixed reasonably well.
The Stones came on like gangbusters with Jumping Jack Flash, the entire arena erupting. Jagger performed with remarkable energy and commitment the entire set. We were seated immediately behind the stage 5 rows from where the Stones' horn section plays with great sight lines of the entire band, particularly Mick and Keith.
At least from our location, the sound mix was terrible much of the set. I found this a little odd because as I said, the sound quality for Bryan Adams was fairly good. I was delighted to see the band tackle Moonlight Mile, but the sound was dismal. For much of the set I couldn't really hear how well Keith and (particularly) Ronnie were playing. By contrast, when I last saw them at the MGM in Vegas (1994), the sound was fantastic.
I would also have to agree with the reviewer of an earlier show on this current tour who thought Keith and Ronnie looked bored. After listening to "No Security" I had high expectations, but tonight their playing was mediocre. The only memorable lead was by Keith on Sympathy for The Devil, too little too late.
Of course maybe their playing would be more animated if they changed up the setlist. Apparently the Stones don't have enough faith in themselves to still rock the joint without relying so much on the warhorses. How about mixing in Bitch or Shattered instead of Brown Sugar? I know, they're warhorses too, but Brown Sugar has really been run into the ground. Besides, Lisa Fischer looks great no matter what she might be dancing too.
Don't get me wrong, it's still the Stones and they're still the best live rock and roll band on the planet. The intensity of Jagger's performance hasn't diminished and he hasn't lost one fucking step. I'm hoping Keith and Ronnie can catch a little of the fire.
I'll be going back to Anaheim
When the Rolling Stones came on, the whole stadium went dark, and they played a cool black and white intro movie, where it showed the Stones slowly walking out of their backstage rooms into the arena, and they looked badass!
Mick came out in sunglasses , and he wore a scarf and a shirt over his black undershirt. Keith had some cool beads and other weird stuff in his hair, leather jacket, and a chain hanging from his pants, and he looked like he was pretty happy to be there. They all had custom guitar straps, some with the tongue logo, and Ronnie's with a skeleton on it. Charlie had a nice white shirt and brown pants. usually he doesn't look like he's having fun, but this time he seemed pretty happy. Keith and Ron were having a great time too!
Mick had the crowd in the palm of his hand.. and some girls were throwing their underwear and roses at him ! You could tell that he was in a real good mood because he said it was "Fuck-in' great" at one point of the show. Jumping Jack Flash was an awesome opener! You can't beat it! The crowd went nuts and were standing up and shouting. It was very loud in there! Basically all the songs were good. We had some great horn section solos in there too.
My favorite songs were Honky Tonk Women, Tumbling Dice (because Mick faced our direction while singing most of the time), Paint it Black, Sweet Virginia, Midnight Rambler and Sympathy for the Devil. Sweet Virginia was amazing, since Mick played guitar and a great harmonica solo on that one, and since it was unexpected. Also, Paint it Black was a surprise and I liked it very much! Mick played guitar on quite a few of the songs, in fact.
It was great to see all the interaction between the band members. Moonlight Mile was great too, since it is rare, and also Mick was able to sing it quite well. I loved Route 66 because it showed their roots pretty well, the small stage was a great idea to include since people who didn't get great seats in the front could also see them. Midnight Rambler was great , because it was an extended song, and the harmonica was sweet too!
Saint of Me is a great tune, and when I heard it, it sounded more like a vintage number than a new song. That shows how good they are I guess. Thief in the Night was very interesting, and I liked Charlie a lot on that one, but I was hoping more for You Got the Silver. Sympathy was played very well, and it is much better than the album version. The addition of some horns to the song was a cool little twist.
Oh well, I was still very happy about the setlist. You can't really expect big changes in the set lists since they have to plan a lot of things around it, like the stage setup and lighting, etc. The lighting and effects were very good too, especially on Out of Control, where Mick comes out of the inside of the stage with an elevator platform. It was also great to see Sympathy, since the lighting matched the mood of the song. It could have been a little better for the small stage, but overall it did a great job of making the show more interesting.
The sound was pretty good, but sometimes I couldn't hear the words because I was up in the upper level. But we did get a screen, to see closeups of the band. The backup singers were pretty good too, although Lisa didn't get a solo because they didn't play Gimme Shelter. Overall, I would have to say that this was one of the best shows I've seen. The Stones have got even better since I saw them in 97 at Dodger Stadium. Also I got a better view of the stage, since the venue was smaller. They had so much energy, I couldn't believe it.. when I was getting tired, Mick and the boys kept it up like there was no tomorrow! I was lucky I didn't lose my voice, and my hands were hurting from clapping so much.
At the end, after an amazing performance of Sympathy for the Devil and a killer solo by Keith Richards (which was better than the video I saw), people were holding up lighters and cheering really loudly. If you can possibly see them this time, then you must go because it is worth it definitely! That night proved that the kings of rock n' roll aren't about to give up the crown any time soon..
Read all about the "No Security" and "Bridges To Babylon" tours of 1999 in the It's Only Rock'n Roll magazines. New issue IORR 35 out Jan 20, 1999.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1999 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe