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It's Only Rock'n Roll

Fleet Center
Boston, MA, USA
Monday March 22, 1999


Review by Joseph Conte, Boston

Tonight was show number 4 for me on the No Security tour, number 23 lifetime. What is there to say? Another brilliant performance tonight, no surprises in the set list, but the tunes were all done perfectly and my hometown FleetCenter was rockin'. I must say the opening video that brings the boys out is very cool, and kicking into JJF brings the roof off the house! We also had Bitch, Memory Motel, and Paint it Black was a huge favorite. As always, the small stage was the highlight, tonight we had Route 66, When the Whip Comes Down, and perhaps the best live song of all time by any group, Midnight Rambler, which totally kicked some serious ass tonight and the crowd loved it. It even brought the balcony to its feet!

The rest of the night was the usual hit list, but the crowd loves em'. Before you knew it, the streamers were coming down and the night was almost over. Brown Sugar seemed extra long tonight as the boys seemed really into it. Then it was Sympathy and the final bows, another great show in the books. One scary note however, Mick was blowing his nose 3 or 4 times that I saw, and in reading past reviews, that is the sign of a cold and/or laryngitis, so lets hope Mick pulls through this one with no cancelled or postponed shows! Tomorrow night will be #24 for me, is it the last???? It will be quite an emotional night for The Midnight Rambler!


Start time :  9:00
End time   : 11:00

The set list:

  1. Jumping Jack Flash
  2. Bitch
  3. You Got Me Rocking
  4. Respectable
  5. Honky Tonk Women
  6. Memory Motel
  7. Saint of Me
  8. Some Girls
  9. Paint It Black
    -- Introductions --
  10. You Got The Silver (Keith)
  11. Before They Make Me Run (Keith)
  12. Out Of Control
  13. Route 66 (B-stage)
  14. When The Whip Comes Down (B-stage)
  15. Midnight Rambler (B-stage)
  16. Tumbling Dice
  17. It's Only Rock'n Roll
  18. Start Me Up
  19. Brown Sugar
  20. Sympathy for the Devil (encore)


Review by Bjørnulf Vik

The set list of the show tonight was identical to the Charlotte show two nights ago, except for they changed the 2nd song on the small stage from "Imagination" in Charlotte into "When The Whip Comes Down" here in Boston.

While Charlotte had a 300 degrees seating, missing a few sections directly behind the stage, Boston was all filled up, sold out for tonight, with a 360 degrees seating. Not bad for a great show, and not bad for a great crowd like the Boston fans!

The crowd was giving the Stones all the feedback they needed to make an excellent show. It was all on an excellent level, while a few songs just made the whole crowd explode.

The first crowd winner was Memory Motel. When Mick sang the piece with the local reference "... back up to Boston..." it felt like everyone knew the lines, and the whole Fleet Center was cheering along to the lines and this great song. Keith got his usual great ovation on his verses.

Paint It Black took down the house. The sound was excellent, Charlie's drums were rolling along the rows of the crowd, all the way from behind the stage and up to the 300's sections. I could not see anyone sitting down at all. Paint It Black is for sure one of the winners of this tour's set list.

Midnight Rambler gave the Boston crowd more local references, as Mick shouted out on the last part of the song: "Well have you heard about the Boston...". Usually Rambler is the big hit of the show, but tonight it was the double hit. Not even Paint It Black came close tonight.

Start Me Up got the remaining half a dozen people still sitting up on their feet. Brown Sugar and Sympathy was great as usual, and the only thing I was missing tonight was "Get Off Of My Cloud" on the small stage. Well, may be tomorrow - may be we deserve it by then!


Review by Rob Turner

I was a little concerned because as the "Bitch" started gaining energy an usher came over to me and, in his most strained attempt to be polite, told me to "have a good time but be sure and don't hurt nobody." I'm not one for rock n roll cliches, but that is definately NOT rock n roll. If I was close to someone elderly I would understand this remark, but noone was even remotely close to me. Par for the course at the Fleet. I was starting to feel like an idiot for spending three hundred bucks only to be admonished by an over-eager security guard. No security my ass!

But I'll tell ya, the band stood and delivered!! They sound grittier than I've ever heard them since my first show some 10 years ago, and as you read this please keep in mind this is only my 9th Stones show, and my first of the No Security tour. My last show was the first night of MSG, unless you count when I snuck in for the encores Saturday night at MSG after seeing Dylan and Van Morrison in the Theatre downstairs.

I was proudly sporting my Disco Biscuits shirt, and I was pleased that quite a few people in my section were boogieing pretty hard for most of the show.

JUMPIN' JACK - I think this was very short, with very little jamming and Mick just getting warmed up.

BITCH - Ok, Mick's warmed up! He tears through this one with almost alarming ferocity that commanded the audiences attention. You get the feeling he means EVERY WORD. Also, the horns were very tight for this one.

YOU GOT ME ROCKIN' - Sorry, went to the bathroom during this one, I'll catch it tomorrow.

RESPECTABLE - I remember years ago listening to an old bootleg from Hampton Coliseum which had this and "Some Girls" on it and thinking, "there's two songs I'll never see live." Even though I had a good idea it was coming, I was completely pleased to catch my first version of this one with Keith lending some classic fills behind Mick's relentless energy.

HONKY TONK WOMEN - Great guitarwork on this one. I remember thinking that Mick's antics seemed to distract quite a few people from a brilliant Chuck Leavell solo.

MEMORY MOTEL - I have to admit I wasn't sure with Mick's vocals on the first couple of lines, but he quickly resumed his command of the audience and offered up a gripping delivery. Keith sang sweetly and played some gorgeous licks, he and Mick reveal once again that nobody delivers a ballad like the Stones. The crowd eats up the "back up to Boston" lines with resounding cheers both times!!!! First Boston show since something like 1975 folks!!!!!!!!

SAINT OF ME - Surprisingly lively crowd reaction for a new(er) song, but the boys seem to enjoy playing this one, hamming and smiling even more than usual. Funky horn arrangement drives the song along. It seems like the instrumental section of this could be longer though.

SOME GIRLS - Mick raunch at it's finest and Ronnie lends some grit to the proceedings as well. Three hundred dollar-paying men react with reserved excitement to the bawdiness of this song as their painted ladies semi-glare them out of the corner of their eye.

PAINT IT BLACK - I thought their energy wilted a little here. Keith's ripping lead can't even save this one.

YOU GOT THE SILVER - Keith just laying down some beautiful guitarwork and singing as soulfully as ever. I had to cup my ears to hear as even some semi- hardcore fans to my right took the opportunity to have a loud irrelevant conversation during this chestnut. Let's all make an effort to be silent during the quiet songs folks, if you have to talk you can go out into the hallway. But you can't go out to the hallway and hear the show....clearly that is.

BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN - The surprise of the night as this one kicked me in the head. Ronnie and Keith each take FIREY leads and those who retired to the bathroom and beerstands have to cut back into their seats past twisting, turning, dancing bodies. The most crowd response for a Keith song that I have ever seen!!

OUT OF CONTROL - The trumpet was more low key than on the B2B tour, but Mick carries this song, and it takes on a different feel with the heavier guitar presence. I prefer the B2B versions.

ROUTE 66 - Maybe I was a little too hopped up for this one. I found it disappointing. I think it was one of those moments where Mick's vocal energy was lacking a little bit, and the guitarists didn't do too much to make up for it. I was still enjoyed my first Stones version of this song that I have seen so many bands cover.

WHEN THE WHIP COMES DOWN - The energy comes back in huge waves. Mick is working the whole room and Charlie reminds everyone he's there with some well- timed drum rolls. My first version of two songs in a row, quite a special night for me!

MIDNIGHT RAMBLER - Even though I have seen them do this before, it is my highlight for this show. Keith and Ronnie are simply outstanding on this one, and Darryl proves to deliver a stirring bassline and a perfect accompaniment to some of the critical moments in this seminal song. Jagger had the entire room eating out of his hands, and just before the "well you heard about the Boston...." line he grabs Keith around the neck, and I swear he planted a big wet one on his cheek. Please, if anyone was very close to the B stage, confirm or deny this for me!!!

Needless to say the crowd offered a resounding cheer for the two more Boston mentions. The response was even more deafening when they finished the song. The boys really took their time, massaging every nuance out of the song. Spectacular stuff!!!!

TUMBLIN' DICE - Lacked energy, seemed quite perfunctory.

ONLY ROCK N ROLL - Jagger again up to his capabilities as he seems to express every syllable, and Keith gets down and dirty. Jagger picks up a pair of red underwear someone throws on the stage and stuffs it in his pocket. Later in the song, on the opposite side of the stage, he pegs Darryl with the dwears and Darryl spins away with a laugh. These guys are having fun tonight!

START ME UP - My clearest memory of this is a strong burning jealousy as Bernard's dirty dancing culminates with him grabbing Lisa's ass and grinding her loveliness into his loins. OOOOOOOh to be a singer. Keith and Ronnie stole this one, in all seriousness. Mick changes a verse to give us a THIRD song with a Boston mention.

BROWN SUGAR - This also seemed quick, and I found myself wanting more of Leavell's rockin' keyboard work.

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL - Mick leaves us with a fantastic vocal delivery. As the song starts to have an energy peak during Keith's solo the horns seem to unecessarily interrupt the vibe. The arrangement is strikingly similar to the horns on "Saint Of Me," but in this case it sucks the energy out of the building.

A sort of tame end to an outstanding show. Yeah, I paid $300, but was it worth it????? You bet your sweet patootie it was....... see you tomorrow.........


Review by John Loomis

I don't have enough superlatives to describe this show. I've seen 17 Stone's shows in a span of about 20 years, including 3 on this tour: one in DC, one in Philly, and now Boston. And only a few times in those years have I ever seen Mick Jagger as into a show as he was last night. I just can't believe these guys can put these types of shows on time and time again. Especially what Jagger did last night. That whole band is amazing. And something else - this was my third time ever in Boston, and let me tell you, what a rock and roll crowd - much louder than Philly and DC. Jagger definately fueled off the crowd as did Richards. I also thought the sound was better last night than in Philly or DC. Even if you don't like the Stone's music, I have no idea how one could walk out of one of their shows and not appreciate them. I hadn't planned on going to any more shows, but after last night, maybe I'll go to Hartford.

I'll say it again, I just can't believe how good these guys are, and how long they've been this good. I completely lost touch with the band in the 90's after being an avid Stones fan in the 70's and early 80's. I decided to go to a couple shows this tour because a friend convinced me to. I'm glad I took his advice. If you know someone that likes their music, but hasn't been to one of their shows, get them to go. You'll be doing them a great favor.


Review by Nadiaanna

This show is fantastic in all repects. You might call this stripped down, but it's still more elaborate than the indoor 1981 tour, so it's good. Mick was non stop action. He can cover a stage this side more effectively than a big stadium show. This is a real dream for true fans. Don't get me wrong. I loved Wheels, Voodoo, and Bridges shows, but I was also starting to feel that a Stones tour was becoming too cliche. I mean there is only so big you can build it, and there is only so much spectacle you can do. Enough boys, it has really ran its course. Time to strip down, and they did and all for the better. As I said earlier, this show could still be considered elaborate by many standards, but it puts the focus back where it belongs and thats on the Stones. As I said, Mick was incredible. he did moves that I haven't seen him do in years( again, I think he adapted his act to the stadium shows which again started becoming too cliche). He pouted his lips and sneered folks( see Satisfaction in the Gimme Shelter video) if you want a good description. His moves were appropriate to the stage,and his performance( unlike recent stadium tours) was totally uncontrived. Love u Mick, you are still the best,and I hope you learn a lesson about this for future( please, please, please) tours. I think the reason Mick's performances are so gooood is that he can now see the audience and he's getting off on it again.

Now, Keith and Ronnie what do you say. Ronnie seemed a little subdued, but that's ok. My man Keith was right on the entire night. The great thing about Keith is that the older he gets, the cooler he really becomes. He is a fucking PIRATE,and it's the real thing, baby. You could put Keith on a ship from the two hundred years ago, and he would be the prototype of all pirates. Fantastic, mate. You never let me down.

Charlie is ball busting. If you think he sounds good in a stadium, you haven't heard the real Charlie. His pounding sounded as if you had your head next to a subwoofer. The sound went right through you. Totally great. A fantastic drummer and just a down right sweet guy. Lots of love.

Lisa and Bernard were great,and got a great reception during the intros. You could barely hear the applause when Blondie was mentioned ( oh, what a shame). As a matter of fact, I really don't remember much of Blondie the entire show. I remember seeing him in OUT OF CONTROL, and playing guitar also on Keith's lovely YOU GOT THE SILVER< but besides that , I totally overlooked him. Yeah baby you are replaceable. Another funny thing is that during the intros Mick (as it sometimes comes across on stage if he's not happy with someone) seemed almost annoyed with Blondie. Don't worry Blondie, in your mind, you are a STONE.

The small B stage again is much more intense than the Bridges show. The arena becomes electrified. No gimmicky bridge, they just walk down and slap fans. Route 66, Whip, and Rambler were wonderful to say the least. I think the words I used last night was "orgasmic"

After the small stage it was back to the regular classics which we all know and have heard perhaps too many times. But for me, something was different last night. I was not bored with Honky Tonk, IORR, Start me UP, and Brown Sugar( I didnt mention Tumblin because to me that one never gets tiresome live). During the stadium shows I'm almost yawning when these songs are being played, but not tonight. The intimacy compared to a stadium brought much needed new life back into these songs, and I truly loved them all. It may sound odd, but it's true. It was that fucking good. Sympathy now has a horn section and it's like a new song. What lies ahead for tonight? I won't know for several hours, but I hope to hear Moonlight Mile,and Get off my cloud. I cant wait.


Review by Matt Neylon

This was my first show of the tour, only my second ever. Going to the second boston show also. The seats i had were behind the stage, and man was the sound awesome back there. It was way loud and you heard everything powerful as hell. The fans loved this show, they were standing the whole time, and they never stopped singing and cheering. The references in memory motel and midnight rambler brought the house down. This was just a powerhouse show, the one in foxboro i saw last year rocked, but this was just way intense. The lights and screen shots during out of control really added to the chorus. I can't wait for tonight.


Review by Flynn Welles, Illinois, USA

BOSTON One: 3-22-99, "My Mascara Is Running," said Mick!

Mick was sweatin' so much and rockin' like crazy, that's why his mascara was runnin'! What a Concert, although the set was the same as Charlotte, except for the B-stage with, "When The Whip Comes Down," it was still Fabulous!

An amazing show! "Some Girls," was hotter than ever! As was "Midnight Rambler." Keith said, "You Got The Silver," well somebody's got it." (Oh Yeah!)

Charlie and Ronnie were wicked too! The applause Ronnie is getting is almost as strong as Charlie's and Keith's. The crowd adores their Stones, that's for sure!

I mean, the Stones knocked Boston's socks off last night! The focus has been on the Stones completely, from all the seating positions that I have viewed them from lately! All the parts are workin' right! God, there are no words to discribe how it's been to watch these guys! You just have to see for yourself! Please, spend the bucks and catch at least one show on this tour!

Today, one of the radio station guys who covered the concert last night kept saying that he knew that he would like the show, but not as much as he did. He said, "it was the best rock concert he'd ever seen!" I agree!

You STONES, mmmmmm... "are a Peachy kind of rock 'n' roll band, mmmmmmmmm! I bet tonight sizzles! Love The STONES!!!!!/ This Girl... LIS


Review by L.C.

The Stones invaded the Fleet Center tonight much to the aproval of the Boston natives, for its been 25 years since the band last graced a stage in this city (Foxboro doesn't count). For me it was a night of mixed emotions, for the sound quality was top notch, not the sludge you normaly hear in the Fleet, kudos to the sound crew. The band was tight and fired on all cylinders. Charlie as always the backbone that keeps the beast running, Mick the master of ceremonies, Keith the rock and roll god, as for Ron he's no Mick Taylor.

The night got of to rousing start with a blistering JJ Flash, next an equaly impressive Bitch. Mick looks good for a guy of his mature age, he has not lost a step. But as the show progresed I noticed an alarming trend, this set list was not going to vary much from Charlotte, in turn that set list did not differ much from the show before. Why in hell are these guys content to play the same stuff every night. Okay I understand the meat-stick that shelled out three hundread to impresse his date likes to know what he's going to get, but come on can any of you honetly say that this was the set you wanted to see. For this reason there is no need to go through the entire show, only the highlights.

At the top of the list Keith's set of Silver and Run were perhaps the finest I've ever witnessed. Other stand outs Respectable, Some Girls, and last but not least the Rambler. This was the song that brought the house down, Mick let it all out before a crowd that could only stand and stare in awe. Well you seem to get the idea, no security is a tour that shows the boys in fine form, perhaps sounding better then they ever have. But with all this polish comes one major draw back, lack of spontaniety. Hence it was an evening of mixed emotions, one last thing what's up with Sympathy, does it have to sound like a disco romp. Perhaps that's the way the meat-stick's date wanted to hear it.


Review by R Norton

I've got to agree with Leonidas about Boston 1. I've wondered about the lack of spontaneity on tour. How can they keep playing the same songs night after night? I wonder if they get bored playing them - but obviously they don't. I found the sound terrible at first - very muddy and indistinct. But then after the sound technicians flipped the right switch OR after that doobie that the guys in front of me were very generous with, the sound kicked in.

I thought that from Respectable through Keith's set, the band was outstanding. The absolute highlight was You Got the Silver. I tell ya, it was thrilling - it sent shivers up and down my spine. I thought the B stage was OK - not great. I was all pumped up for Tumblin Dice - one of my all time favorite songs. But I was let down. It's Only Rock n Roll - it seems every time they do this, they do it differently and not well. I guess the "greatest hits" portion of the show was a let down. I was also disappointed in Sympathy - Keith played lead all the way through, but I could hardly hear it, and the horns were too much.

All in all, I'd have to say that it seems that the production of certain songs now is centered on Jagger's antics - that the showmanship is more important than the song. I did dig Ronnie's solo on Before They Make Me Run, Mick's dance to that crazy calipso/mumba/rumba/tango beat up and down the cat walk to the B stage, Paint It Black and Some Girls.

I was hoping for Get Off My Cloud and Moonlight Mile, but I got You Got The Silver, which was worth the price of admission. If that was the only song they played, I would have gone home happy.



The press reports:

Thanks to Ted Saxlid, Axel Schumacher and each and every one of you for supplying links to online newspapers, and reviews, of course!


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, and the complete No Security guide in IORR 36 is out April 23, 1999.


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