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The Rolling Stones Fan Club of Europe
It's Only Rock'n Roll

United Center
Chicago, IL, USA
Monday April 12, 1999

Review by Rich and Karen Kaczmarek

Jumping Jack Flash came on nice and strong, but something sure went wrong during Bitch. We're not sure if the horns came in at the wrong time or if Mick lost his place, but at one point the horns started playing during the middle of a verse. It took a few minutes for the band to get back on track. It seemed to affect them, Mick especially. Even Keith gave a false start on Gimme Shelter. All was back on track by Honky Tonk Woman.

We got to see I Got The Blues for the first time, and we loved it.

Mick introduced Charlie as Charlie Boom-Boom Watts. Keith said three times to the crowd, "It's good to be home."

One of the highlights tonight was Thief In The Night. It never sounded better to us. Just My Imagination sounded awesome on the center stage. Some lucky person got an autograph from Keith while on the center stage.

This show was our final show of the tour. The Bridges to Babylon and No Security tours tooks us to many cities where we met some great people and had a great time. We've had some fun road trips and train trips and saw some cities we probably never would have gone to otherwise.

We look forward to reading the reviews of the remaining No Security shows and the European shows this summer. Thanks to It's Only Rock 'n' Roll for this great site for fans to share their experiences. And last of all, thanks to the Rolling Stones for making life so much fun.

And thanks to Rich and Karen from IORR, for making all those great reviews through the past two years - you're the best!

Start time:   9:25 p.m.
End time  :  11:37 p.m.

The set list:

  1. Jumping Jack Flash
  2. Bitch
  3. You Got Me Rocking
  4. Gimme Shelter
  5. Honky Tonk Women
  6. I Got The Blues
  7. Saint of Me
  8. Some Girls
  9. Paint It Black
    -- Introductions --
  10. Thief In The Night (Keith)
  11. You Don't Have To Mean It (Keith)
  12. Out Of Control
  13. Route 66 (B-stage)
  14. Just My Imagination (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 RJP

The show at the United Center on 4/12/99 was much better than the previous one on 3/26. The sound was much improved and the band was really into it tonight. JJF started off great, but part way through Bitch, either the horns jumped in too fast or Mick lost track of the lyrics and it started to fall apart. You Got Me Rocking helped get things back on track, but it seemed that Keith jump-started the intro on Gimme Shelter and started it over again.

After that, things went much smoother. I was glad to see that the band had changed their set list again, throwing in Gimme Shelter, Iíve Got the Blues, Just My Imagination (and others). Keith sounded great again during his set (Thief in the Night and You Don't Have To Mean It), and the sound system was much better when the band played on the B-stage with Midnight Rambler sounding terrific and Mick going nuts, dancing like a man possessed.

The band finished up with the usual set list and the crowd was much more involved than the previous show (I was even able to scrounge a handful of streamers).

Iíd just like to say thanks to the Rolling Stones for a fantastic show. I certainly hope that this is not the last tour for the band (as per rumoured), but if it is, thanks for all the great memories and fantastic shows over the years. I have had the opportunity to see the Stones eight times, with each one being well worth attending. And on 4/12/99 in Chicago, they proved to me once again that the Rolling Stones are truly the greatest RockíníRoll Band in the world!

Review by Joy Willbrandt

Chicago got the blues...The Stones once again did "I Got The Blues" for a full house at the United Center on Monday night. What a great show, too. It started off with a blistering set from Jonny Lang. For his final song, Jonny introduced his back-up singers...Leah Wood and "E" Jagger. Elizabeth tried to escape several times, only to be pulled back by Leah.

Keith said "It's good to be home" a few times. After one of those he asked, "I've been here before, right?"

You've seen the set list, so you know what they played. The songs that stood out where, Gimme Shelter, I've Got The Blues, Some Girls, and of course, Midnight Rambler.

The Stones were full of fire and humor tonight. Mick was so hyped up, that he gave Ronnie a two handed shove to the shoulders, that sent him staggering a couple of steps backwards. Ronnie was introduced by Mick as "slightly mad". On Gimme Shellter, Mick stepped back by Bernard to sing back-up while Lisa took center stage.

To everyone at the UC on Monday, it wasn't "Just Another Night". It was a night to remember. Once again, the Stones were full of energy and they were thoroughly awesome.

I want to give a big "thank-you" to everyone in section 4 near the ramp. I brought my camera along, and everyone did their best to make sure I had an open spot and a clear shot. Thanks guys!

Review by Marv Sutton and friends

the boys were on fire. the united center sound was it's usual mediocre self, but the stones played like they wanted this to be remembered for a long time..... just in case, god forbid, that it was to be their last chicago show. in spite of getting keith's b-set ('you got the silver' should be required) and missing 'get off my cloud', the show blew us away.

j lang played a strong set, with the crowd showing their appreciation. this kid can sing as well as he plays the guitar. it was the first time we had seen him live, and was probably one of, if not, the best backup show i've seen.

the crowd was much more enjoyable to be with than the last chi crowd....fewer celebs, suits, long dresses and the like. this was a crowd that was there to see the stones, more than to be seen....the difference between a fri night and a mon night show?.... you could tell the difference during lang's set and it continued right through the show.

stone's highlights were 'i got the blues'(perfect sound where we were), 'gimme shelter' (even with the rough start), 'paint it black'(solid), 'midnight rambler' (as usual), etc. there were at least five different songs than the last chi show. charlie was solid, ronnie was very involved (big smile from him as i got to thank him during a hand shake along the runway), and mick and keith were at their best in engaging the crowd, particularly those seated closer. mick seemed to seek out eye contact much of the time, especially during the small stage set. keith signed an autograph at a back corner, much to the appreciation of the crowd. the total floor crowd involvement in the brown sugar and sympathy (woo woo) segments was a joy to share.

in seeing the stones so many times over the years, i still never tire of the joy and intensity they can stir within. while there have been clearer sounding stones shows, more preferred song sets, etc, none has been better in terms of the effort they gave and the overall interaction.

the highlight of the night was seeing my friend, with whom i have shared thirty years of stones shows since '69 at the chicago amph, as he reacted to 'high five' contact with his stone's favorite, keith. richard, old guys like us aren't supposed to jump like that any more.

ps - i also want to thank the stones for 30 yrs of fun, and may it continue into future tours..... i will look forward to reading of the european concerts this summer, thanks to IORR...... marv sutton. what a show! this was number four this tour and 23 or so overall since 1969 for me.

Review by Paul W. Huber

This show was especially good, even for those of us who have seen the band many times. Tonight was one of those nights when everyone on stage seemed to be enjoying themselves; consequently, they played with a lot of heart. Yes, there were a few mistakes, but that just seemed to make everyone try harder. For once I could hear Ron Wood's guitar and he was actually playing pretty well. I sense that neither Mick nor Keith are content to have him just standing on stage; they want him earning his keep.

I have dreamt of hearing "I Got the Blues" live and tonight's rendition was nearly perfect. A few demanding vocal lines at the end of the song were deleted, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Mick's vocal, Keith's guitar, and Chuck's organ all blended together perfectly. "Some Girls" and Paint It Black" were particularly strong and the latter gave the show a momentum that lasted until the close. "Just My Imagination" is not one of my favorite songs, but tonight's version really rocked. "Midnight Rambler" was the crowning piece. They did a much better job with it this time compared to the Chicago show two weeks ago. In fact, every aspect of this show bested the one two weeks ago: the playing, the singing, and the set list.

Review by Flynn Welles, Illinois

News from April 12, 1954, (44 years ago). The song that started it all was released: "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK" was released on the above date and is reported to be the song which started the Rock 'n' Roll frenzy! I thought, "what a coincidence that the Stones have their concert today too! Wonder if they thought of this?

I have to say this Chicago show was a lot better than the one a few weeks back on March 26th, and for sure, a year ago here at the United Center. The show appeared tighter and the energy level was good. I think the Stones were striving to make this a better show though, at least it seemed that they were.

GIMME SHELTER was great and Lisa was happy about hitting her note, (has she ever missed it)? Don't think so. I GOT THE BLUES was back again as the newest addition to the setlist. It was beautifully done, (I mean it). Mick does have a way with ballads, too much so, actually!

What a change, Keith finally did YOU DON'T HAVE TO MEAN IT, with THIEF IN THE NIGHT. I figured he was though, because Leah stayed on the stage after "THIEF." Dare ya to do HCIS! ahaahaahaah! Dare ya, Double dare ya and with YDHTMI!

The B-stage got JUST MY IMAGINATION, which was a nice change, but I'd like hear something new!

Ronnie and Charlie were in a good mood. Charlie was chompin' at the bit with his drums. I like to watch Ronnie when he is into his guitar playin', shuttin' his eyes and all. Keith does this too, most guitar players do, I guess.

One thing, I think Mick should stop being mean to Ronnie. I have seen Mick just go and push Ronnie, rather forceably, out of his way and all Ronnie does is walk up and try to say something to Mick, really rude Mick, be nice!

While I was driving to the concert, I was unable to find one radio station which was covering this Stones Concert. Usually you get a whole afternoon and evening of Stones tunes, prior to the concert, but not this time.

After the show, (while getting lost again, trying to find my way in the dark to Route 66, it's tricky, this road at times, so I scratched it till today) anyway, a woman came on the classic rock station during the "song request":

Announcer: How was the concert? Woman: Oh, it was fine. Announcer: What would you like to hear? Woman: Coulds you play "SATISFACTION, since the Stones didn't"? Announcer: They didn't? Sure, here ya go! Well, the woman got "Satisfaction," in a way, I guess! I know many a Stones Fan want to hear this too on this Tour. They'll get it on B2B, that is, if they travel to Europe this summer.!

Thanks for a good-un Stones!

Review by Paula Martin

I went to the Chicago show on Mon. and it was totally amazing, my most favorite of the 3 NS shows I got to attend! I Got the Blues was a real blessing to hear and it was so great to hear Keith picking out the beginning to Gimme Shelter again! The crowd at the United Center was into it, except for a few idiots who decided it was a good time to take a restroom break during such songs as Paint It Black, Midnight Rambler, IORR- you get the idea! Why, oh why, do these people pay to attend Stones shows and then just blow off such sacred tunes?

Luckily, I got good seats for this show (sect. 110) and I could stand and dance for all but I Got the Blues and Keith's 2, but I "settled" for that and made sure I stood for Keef when he was introduced and after his set, which sounded super, BTW. I like TITN better everytime I hear it! Rambler was simply boiling and Mick was at his peak performance level for the entire show. I'd have to say that IMHO even the last hot rocks tunes were better here- the boys simply made the monumental effort to make them seem fresh and invigorating again. It was a concert I will treasure always- this show ranks with my other arena favorites, MGM '94 and '97. There will NEVER in life be a better way to spend two hours than to rock out up close and personal with the Stones!

Review by Jonathan Mertz

HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders
- Carl Sandburg, Chicago

Chicago was my last Stones show of the tour, and unspoken beneath this sad-enough-in-itself statement is the dreadful possibility that it's my last Stones show. I pray this is not the case, not just yet, and I do see no good reason for The Boys to stop, so I won't dwell in this morbid thought. Suffice it to say that Chicago 2 was a splendid show, a show with big shoulders.

It was my first opportunity to see Chicago, and the first thing I wanted to visit was the grave of the great Muddy Waters. My friend Dandelion graciously agreed to search the suburbs of the southside to find Restvale Cemetery. I really expected it to be a simple matter, that anyone I stopped on the street could point me toward this hallowed site. My naivetť was similar to the Stones', who expected to hear Muddy & the Wolf on top 40 radio when they first came to America. Many people I asked had no clue who he was. I was shocked.

We reached Worth, the suburb where the great man is buried. There are SEVEN cemeteries there, acres and acres of box yards, but Restvale was the last we found after an exasperating afternoon of wrong turns, bad directions and hailstones. And the gate was locked, closed an hour earlier at 4 pm.

We returned the day of the show, bringing a lovely flower Dandelion picked out, a big daisy. We searched and found the tombstone. It was depressingly small, covered with dead grass clippings and mud-stained. I felt sad, and outraged. This giant of a man rests here untended. There should be a goddamned statue here, a mount rushmore sized bust of his noble brow. Instead a 2" black marble marker reads: McKinley Morganfield The Mojo is Gone The Master Has Won and a little guitar, a bass actually, four strings. God damn it, Muddy played a telecaster. We started cleaning the stone, fetching water and tissues and making it look presentable. The first Mrs. Morganfield, Geneva, is buried beside him, and her stone which says "The wife of Muddy Waters" has bird dirt on it. We cleaned it too. Then we went into the office to buy more flowers, but all they had were artificial ones. The director gave us a list of other celebrities buried at Restvale: Earl Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor, Magic Sam, Charlie McCoy (mentioned in "Down The Road Apiece"), Walter "Shaky" Horton, others. We got directions to a florist nearby & returned with an azalea, two geraniums, and a yellow rose, and some carnations for the other bluesmen. Dandelion arranged the flowers, along with the streamer from Milwaukee and some dandelions, around Muddy & Geneva's tombstones. A graveyard attendant came over, and in a gravelly voice said, "you got him lookin' good!" I told him I'd come from Pennsylvania. He said, "yeah, I guess he was a legend, huh? He gets a lot of visitors." That made me feel better. Muddy is not forgotten. But when we looked for Hound Dog Taylor, we found only a cement foundation, no stone. We left the carnations and went to report the theft at the office. "Oh, he might not have even had one," we were told. "A lot of those blues musicians couldn't afford tombstones." So Hound Dog Taylor, of Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers, a vicious slide player who legend has it had six fingers & cut the extra one of in a bar one night because it kept getting caught on the frets of his guitar, who died in 1958, lies in an unmarked grave, remembered only on a xeroxed typewritten list of "famous musicians and singers" buried at Resvale Cemetery, 176 West Adams St, Chicago IL.

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities

Against her better judgment and innate sense of decorum, I insisted that Dandelion take my picture in front of Muddy's grave. "Tourist," she said. "But I AM a tourist," I protested -- "why shouldn't I act like one?" We drove into the city to Chess Records, 2120 South Michigan Avenue. The only address in the city I know by heart. We had missed the last tour of the studio; the nice receptionist of Blues Heaven told us she'd given eight tours that day due to the Stones concert that night. It didn't matter to me; I wasn't in the same room, but I was in the same building, where Little Red Rooster, Hoochie Coochie Man, Around and Around, and a thousand other incredible songs had been recorded between the 40's and the 60's. I took a picture of the address above the door. Tourist!

We made it to the Billy Goat at 6:30 and immediately met Marilyn. It is so WONDERFUL to meet internet friends in person. Marilyn showed us the incredible photos she'd taken in Florida in '99 AND '97, and I showed her the ones I took in Pittsburgh. Ridgely joined the party. A gang from Undercover posed for photos bestrewn with yellow security tape. Some nice folks from Pittsburgh told me how much they liked my review of that show, which made me feel great (if a tad full of myself!) Ridgely, Dandelion and I spent a pleasant hour chatting, then we went to the United Center.

Our seats were great, 16 rows up from Woody's side of the stage, looking down on the left end of the omega ramp. Jonny Lang was already playing when we sat down.

Jonny is the best opening act for the Stones I have seen yet. If you haven't heard him, he sings like Joe Cocker, plays guitar like Albert Collins, and is all of 19. This kid has a brilliant career ahead of him if he avoids the pitfalls of fame; he is one of the few new performers I can picture lasting decades instead of a few years. Besides being supremely gifted musically, he's tasteful, doesn't overplay, gives his band room to stretch out, and is handsome (although his face hasn't completely cleared up yet.) He spoke about how honored he was to open for the Stones, said they would be out to "blow the roof off the place" soon, then introduced some special guest stars for his last song, Leah Wood and "Lizzie" Jagger. Looking and sounding really great, the girls danced and sang backup on Jonny's hit, "Lie To Me". Dandelion has long wanted to run an internet poll about whether or not I am a DORK for getting Leah Wood's autograph in Pittsburgh, but I think I'm just ahead of the game. She sounded great Monday. "Lie To Me" earned Jonny a resounding ovation as he left the stage, and the road crew began to change the equipment for the main event.

Beside us was a friendly lady in her 40's who asked us what to expect. She wanted old stuff, she said, not new songs, but she said it in a nice way which didn't make me hate her for being a prole. Oh, we said, you'll get plenty of classics. We traded stories about other shows. She'd seen them 5 times. Dandelion and I tried to read the setlist on Charlie's plexiglass baffle with her opera glasses, but to no avail. I would just have to wait to see whether they did "I Got The Blues" or not.

Soon "Ball of Confusion" started playing on the pre-show tape and we knew it was TIME. The lights went down and the crowd went nuts, immediately. Everyone was on their feet, from floor to rafters. The intro film started and the fever pitch of anticipation was raised. That film is SO good. As the Stones on the screen approached and became flesh and blood, the United Center EXPLODED. There is just nothing to compare to that first moment, when anticipation gives way to realization, when everyone's expectations are met. I looked around me and saw the same expression on everyone's face. Whether it's your first show or your one hundredth, the RUSH of being in the same room with them is overwhelming.There is a sweet satisfaction in knowing that there is NO PLACE on earth that you would rather be.

After all of the horror stories about the abysmal sound at the UC, I was glad that I could clearly hear all of the elements - Keith & Woody's guitars were balanced , Charlie's drums pounded in my temples, Darryl's bass massaged my spine, and Mick's vocals, an arrogant sneer in JJF, riding over top of the maelstrom. With a few momentary lapses, the sound was good throughout the show. The horn section filed out onto the ramp and I knew Bitch would be next, as it was in Pittsburgh. As mentioned elsewhere, there was a bit of confusion in the middle, I think caused by Mick. He turned and looked for the horns to play the mid-verse riff earlier than he should have; they reacted and played it, 4 bars late; Mick started singing "feeling drunk" when he shouldn't have, and stopped; none of these flubs hurt the song a bit, and just revealed the Stones to be human after all. They all made eye contact and got their bearings, ending the song like a well-oiled machine, Mick's hand fluttering over the crowd, directing the music and conveying a benediction at the same time.

The show progressed, too damn fast, and it was obvious that (bitched-up Bitch notwithstanding) the Boys were in rare form. I started sneaking down to a landing a few feet away from Mick's stage-right preening platform and snapping pictures; I was careful not to obstruct anyone's view and to return to my seat after I got the shot, and all seemed well. Dandelion has already mentioned that blatant obnoxiousness from a drunk in front of us caused security to get tighter mid-show. The big guns were called in to replace the laid-back staff of the first half. A middle-aged woman, let's call her Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS, started turning back everyone who tried sneaking down to the little landing. I followed her down as she busted people, hoping to elude her by staying behind her, but she caught me....however, KEITH was heading toward us at that moment, on the ramp a few feet away. I ignored her, politely, and took a picture of Keith as he smiled and laughed at us.

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth, Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs, Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle, Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse. and under his ribs the heart of the people, Laughing!

It's hard to believe that Carl Sandburg did NOT write those immortal lines about Keith as he threw his head back and howled on the landing.

The show went on. Mick donned a long silvery jacket and announced "a sort of soul ballad called "I Got The Blues". The tempo was a bit rushed, and the sound changed a bit, but it was still achingly beautiful. Mick's vocals were perfect-- pained, soulful; at the bridge Keith chimed in: "every night you've been away/ I've sat down and I have prayed/that you're safe" - it was another moment of transcendence. "In the silk sheet of time/ I will find peace of mind". Incredible.

The show continued. The best "Some Girls" I've heard, "Paint It Black" incredible as always, Keith's set a down-in-the-groove JOY. The B-stage sound was unbalanced for Rt. 66, Keith WAY too loud in the mix, but it was dialed in by the galloping end of "Imagination" (during which Keith SIGNED AN AUTOGRAPH!!!! How cool is THAT???) and was perfect for "Midnight Rambler". The song was, as always, astonishing. Mick & Keith stood shoulder to shoulder as it shifted into overdrive for the end, and they walked to the front of the stage together.

The end of the show went by in a blur. Dandelion and I very carefully & stealthily edged back to the landing, blending in and arousing no attention; a girl followed us down and got busted by Ilsa, and, in a very grade-school manner, said "THEY don't belong here EITHER!" What a BITCH! We returned to the aisle, and as soon as Ilsa turned her back, we RAN to the landing and into newly-vacated seats. We watched "Sympathy" from this lovely vantage point.

Ah, what a great show, what a great tour, what a great band. Here's a fervent prayer for more moments like this to enrich our lives.

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

The press reports:

Thanks to 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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