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It's Only Rock'n Roll

Gund Arena
Cleveland, OH, USA
Thursday April 1, 1999


Review by Joe McJunkins

For those of you who have been disappointed with the guitars being mixed way down, and Ronnie's lack of interest - this was your show. From the first note of Jumpin' Jack Flash, the guitars were loud & strong. In fact, often times during tonight's show Mick's voice was almost drowned out. I don't know if it was the extra couple of days off, or the fact that the Stones hadn't played an indoor show in Cleveland since '81, but the boys were definitely ON tonight!! I saw the Columbus show during the B2B tour, and tonight's show destroyed the Bridges.

Some highlight's from tonight's show were Memory Motel, a fantastic rendition of You Got the Silver, a long tight version of Out of Control, the return of Get Off My Cloud on the "B" stage, and a killer Midnight Rambler. The Cleveland crowd was psyched for this return. The show was officially SOLD OUT, with very few seats empty. I found it very interesting that on my way into the arena, there was virtually zero ticket buying/selling going on. I think after the wait, all ticket holders were playing for keeps.

I've seen every tour since '75, with the exception of VooDoo, and the Stones lived up to the label of World's Greatest Rock Band tonight. The energy level was very high, and there were few mistakes. A slight miss que on the beginning of IORR, and a sort of loose unraveling of Saint as it wound down. Otherwise a very tight, energetic performance by all. Ronnie seemed especially into it tonight. His slide work, and weaving with Keith were top notch.

If there was a true low spot in tonight's performance, it was the encore. The sound mix was very uneven with Chuck's piano turned up way too much. I'm not too fond of the added horns, and back up singers, treatment of Sympathy anyway. This song is in it's best form when it's played in it's raw original element.

If anyone uncovers a high quality boot of tonight's show, put me on the list!!!!!!!!!


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. Get Off Of My Cloud (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 Robert Bagel

After driving 400 miles on 4 hours of sleep and getting in to downtown Cleveland too late to take a nap, I wondered how I would be up for this show. It did not take long to get swept up in Cleveland’s excitement of a Stones visit. Listening to the radio on the way in I heard that the new Browns football team would open against their archrivals, the Steelers of nearby Pittsburgh. It reminded me of the great Pittsburgh show, and suggested that Cleveland would meet Pittsburgh’s challenge as a host city for the World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band. Cleveland came through with flying colors: the many bars outside the arena blasted Stones music before the show, and the crowd was genuine rock and roll, enthusiastic and ready to share in a big party. Maybe because the weather finally turned good in North America, maybe because it was on the eve of the long Easter weekend, there really was a festival atmosphere tonight.

The standout highlight of the evening was Saint of Me where out of all crowds I have seen on this tour, this one carried the ending far better than any other city. While not quite equal to the Argentina crowd on the No Security album, the Gund arena was loud and free so that Mick Jagger recognized the enthusiasm and seemed thrilled like a child who received a great pleasurable surprise. He yelled to the crowd to keep going, and scampered far down the walkway toward the B stage while rhythmically clapping and leading the singing. It was a great moment which served as a reminder that regardless of the number of $300 asses filling the seats, the reason these guys (and lady with respect to Lisa) are doing this is because they really do get off on what they are playing. No need for other drugs here, the adrenaline is being freely served up by the thrills of the rock and roll music.

Memory Motel was the ballad tonight, and the green and blue lights just like the color of the pick up she drove provided the backdrop for a magical atmosphere. Remembering the Voodoo Lounge tour versions, it seemed then that Keith was just happy to do the vocals. Now we are treated to awesome guitar fills both before and after Keith takes over the microphone, and the roar of the crowd demonstrates how people truly appreciate this Mick and Keith duet. And nothing against Dave Matthews, but one time seeing Memory Motel live on the No Security tour will make you wince anytime you hear the “special guest” version on the live album.

Like any exceptional Stones show, through Paint it Black to You Got The Silver to Get Off of My Cloud (has anyone noticed the inflation-adjusted $25 for “my kind of detergent pack”?) to Tumbling Dice, this all concluded far too quickly. After two hours of intense rock and roll, all we were left with was the Stones tunes blasting out of the bars in the light of Jacobs Field. Tomorrow may be Good Friday, but man it was a GREAT Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio.


Review by Flynn Welles, Illinois

Cleveland was a really good show! I certainly enjoyed it! There were a few tech problems and Mick seemed pre-occupied at times, but it was a good'un!

When I first arrived at the venue, I thought I had really s--t seats, but as it turned out, they were awesome as this was the first show where I could fully appreciate the design of the stage. With the floor lights turned on, the stage is a perfect "guitar" shape, complete with frets and all, just beautiful! I have sat at other levels, in order to experience the concert in different ways, soundwise,...etc. and there was never a better view than this night. Thanks Stones for the outstanding picture of the stage tonight! Can't say it enough, gorgeous!

Mick was fantastic on "OOC" and the fans love it when he covers his head with his shirt during this song. The crowd also went wild on Keith's killer vocals tonight during "Memory Motel." A great rendition! Keith did both YGTS and BTMMR,...the fans showed their love for him tonight for sure and he does make these two songs better each time he sings them!

There seemed to be a rather long intro into "START ME UP." Mick disappeared from the stage to change shirts, (don't know if there was another reason as well, cause it took a while) and Keith did this "monsterous" intro (great riffs man, whew)! Then, Keith ran up on the rear upper part of the stage, while waitin' for Mick to return! Let me tell ya, this song ROCKED tonight! It always does, but it just was super!

The crowd loved the "streamers" fallen' from ceiling, there certainly weren't enough of them to go around, I need to get a few more myself, I was only able to get one in Fargo!

Great show Stones, Never stop, never, never, never stop"! Hopin' for more surprises, set-wise.


Review by Hendrik Mulder

After picking up the tickets at the Ritz Carlton hotel we (Remco, Mathijs, Andre and I) went to the Gund Arena which was near by. We had tickets for section 108 which were lower level tickets and right in the middle of both stages; excellent seats!

At 9.20 PM the lights went out and the pumping Might as well get juiced started, on the screen you could see the (pre-recorded) black and white video with the Stones walking from the dressing room to the stage. The music stopped after 90 seconds, Keith walked to the front and Jumpin' jack flash was on! The next song was Bitch which was played just a few times during the No security tour followed by You got me rocking which sounded much better than former tours.

After this song Jagger got his guitar and they did a great version of Respectable. After Honky tonk women we were hoping for I got the blues or Moonlight mile. 'Unfortunately' they did Memory motel which we heard already four times in Amsterdam. Still a great soung and the audience goes crazy when Keith does his verses.

After Saint of me we got another highlight of the show: Some girls. Audience goes crazy again when Jagger sung "white girls just wanna get fucked all night" The audienc loved Paint it black wasn't played in the US since the 1989 Steel wheels tour and is played every night now.

Then it was time for the Keith set; You got the silver was tonights highlight for me! After the usual words "It's good to be here, it's good to be anywhere" we got Before they make me run; great as always.

After Out of control it was time for the small stage; the first song was Route 66 followed by Midnight rambler, the best ever version since the early seventies. The we were hoping for Get off of my cloud, and we got it! The sound of the small stage was not as good as the main stage though it became better after Route 66.

Back to the main stage we got all the well knows songs like Tumbling dice, It's only rock 'n roll, Start me up, Brown sugar and Sympathy for the devil (with very nice horn section). When we walked back to the hotel we knew we've seen something special. Looking forward for the Columbus show: could it be better?


Review by Gary Loudenslager

It's Easter Monday and I'm chilling after four rock filled days with the Stones, Rock and Roll History, and some new friends. I left Deptford, N.J. at 8:00 a.m. on April 1, for the trek across Pennsylvania and down the Ohio Turnpike to Cleveland.

As I got within range of a Cleveland rock station that was playing nothing but Stones for the whole day, my cell phone rang. It was "ticket agent" Gerry who informed me that a ticket was waiting for me at a room in a downtown Cleveland hotel. It was an excellent seat facing the stage on the right, just the opposite of my Hartford seat, except out a little farther.

As I started getting more and more psyched, the guy on the radio suggested that fans make every effort to see the warm-up singer, Jonny Lang. This guy is awesome! I had just seen him two weeks prior at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia and had heard that he was opening for the Stones at certain venues. I "discovered" him when he opened for Blues Traveler last year and also saw him with Buddy Guy last summer.

I go into Cleveland about 4 p.m. The hotel was right on Lake Erie next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As soon as I was checked in, I headed to the Hard Rock in Tower City, a beautiful mall downtown right next to the Gund Arena. It was here that I met my friends. While we were eating I won a Stones tee shirt from another local rock station who was "hanging around" the Hard Rock. The question was "What movie did Mick and Marianne Faithful make in Australia?" You figure it out!

Tower City is connected to the Gund Arena by an indoor walkway. This is neat because on a cold night you don't even have to go outdoors to get to the Arena. I got to my seat at about 7:45 p.m. The arena is very cozy and well made. Jonny Lang came on at about 7:55 p.m. and played until 8:40 a.m. He opened with "It's Still Raining" and finished up with "Lie to Me". The kid is 18 years old but musically mature. He is predominantly a blues singer and plays one hell of a mean guitar. I am impressed that he is there for the music. There are no gimmicks just kick ass rocking' blues. The arena was about 40% full for his set, and the patrons gave him a fine reception. At the end of the set he thanked the crowd and pounded his check "a la Keith".

The fans were frenzied by the time the Stones came on. I was glad to see and hear "Bitch" again. Keith got a huge ovation when he appeared up front for his lines on "Memory Motel".

Mick mentioned the Stones last appearance in Cleveland in August of 94 and semi-apologized for skipping the town on Bridges. I remember that show in "94. It was early in the Voodoo Lounge Tour and old Municipal Stadium was only half full. The critics were like vultures, writing obituaries for the Stones, but we all know who got the last laugh!

Back to April 1, 1999 I had my best view so far of the set on the B-Stage. "Get Off of My Cloud" was a crowd favorite. The guy next to me knew all the words, so I had someone to sing with.

Keith was great on "You Got the Silver". I really think that his songs are underrated. He always puts a full effort into his set and of course the backup singers help.

The band didn't seem to be working as hard as they did in Hartford on the final 5 songs. In Hartford Mick went off during the grand finale, prancing, jumping and kicking all over the stage. But in Cleveland he wasn't competing with U-Conn, the National Men's College Basketball Champs. The crowd was also more alive in Cleveland. Actually they were electric. Mick was visibly pleased. As he was taking the final bow at the end of the show, he stayed on stage longer than usual, savoring the adoration. As he left he lipped "thank you, thank you, thank you!"

The next morning, I got up bright and early, to spend the day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As I was eating breakfast, I read the review and the Stones' gossip in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (That's right you "Rocky Horror Picture Show" fans, The Cleveland Plain Dealer!) According to the gossip, Mick was seen at the Cleveland Zoo in the Tropical Rain Forest Section with his kids. He had sunglasses, a baseball cap, and some body guards, but apparently got no extra special treatment and wasn't bothered by the general public. Keith flew in from Connecticut on the day of the show and there were actually five fans waiting for him.

I got to the Hall of Fame at about 10:30 and stayed until 5:30. I recommend it to anyone who rocks. There are about 4 short films and the building is breathtaking (designed by famed Japanese architect I.M. Pei.) The exhibits are informative and geared to those with short attention spans.

The Stones section had such goodies as a piece from the Steel Wheel's Stage, outfits worn by both Mick and Keith during that tour, and the flag cape that Mick wore during the "Satisfaction" encore during the '81 tour.

One of the video's begins with "Love in Vain" and there's an excellent piece with Brian speaking on the same film.

As I left Columbus is only a two hour drive and April 3 is tomorrow! To be continued ....... at the Columbus Reviews


Review by Mike Newman, Troy, MI

I arrived into downtown Cleveland around 4:00pm on the day of the show and checked into the Sheraton downtown with my mom and my sister. They didn't have tickets to the show, but they decided to come along with me anyways. I took a taxi to the location of the Glimmer Gathering. It was Wilbert's Bar on 9th Street. Not bad for bar food. I really enjoyed hearing all the stories from people about the show's they have seen. My favs included Betty's front row experience in Pitsburgh, which by many accounts is the best show in the tour. Another that stuck out was Hendrik's Paradiso '95 stories! Totally awesome! Enough for the chat, it was time for the concert!

I walked to the Gund with some friends I had met at Wilbert's and I got into the arena and found my seat at around 7:30pm. It was a $90.00 side stage seat. It wasn't that bad but it would just not do for me. I made friendly with a security guy who informed me that the first 3 rows of my entire section (section 111) were not sold. So, midway during Jonny Lang's set, I just walked down to the farthest seat down in my section, 3rd row! Now I'm really pumped because I'm right on the edge of the stage, 12 inches from some guy in the $250.00 section!!! The security guy in the $250.00 area looked at me when I sat down and he gave me a thumbs up!! I was in!

Jonny Lang put on a strong set, I really like him and I've seen him several times before in smaller venues, but I couldn't concentrate on him. The area around me started to fill up with friends and family of the band and crew. All of which, were very friendly. Then came......the STONES!!

I was even more pumped than before the Detroit show!! It was happening all over again except this time I was even closer to the stage and I didn't pay a fortune for my seat! The video was played and I knew what was coming.

Jumping Jack Flash - Got everyone off their seats. It's one of my favorite Stones songs and it never gets tired for me. Very powerful version, Mick seemed quite enthusiastic which was very encouraging. Bitch - A complete surprise for me. I really came to appreciate the horn section. Which I could actually see this time around. Slightly sloppy version but I enjoyed hearing it.

You Got Me Rocking - I'm liking this song more and more. The crowd didn't seem to know it but Mick won them over. Respectable - Some knew it but most didn't. This put much of the crowd back in their seats. I liked it as usual but it was a very routine version. Honky Tonk Women-The crowd, even in the upper bowl was up for this one. Mick and Lisa did their freaky dance about 10 feet from me! Awesome!

Memory Motel - routine, but the version was not as smooth as the Detroit version I rememeber. Saint Of Me - Don't get me wrong I loved hearing "Sweet Virginia" in Detroit, but I love this song! The crowd didn't know it but they liked it. Mick actually got us to do the ending (ala Argentina) and we carried it for as long as could be hoped for from a mostly 40/50yr old audience.

Some Girls - Routine version. I still don't think it fits in the set list during this tour but I enjoyed it. Paint It Black - The crowd rises once again. I watched Charlie on this more than Mick. I like the song, but the Stones do somewhat seem to be going through the motions on this one (sorry!) But it still sounds great.

YGTS/BFTMMR - Keith's set people really seemed to enjoy. I had heard both of these in Detroit and really wanted to hear Theif In The Night, but oh well. Out Of Control - Routine and awesome as always. I would have enjoyed some e extended jamming at the end but it was not to be.

Route 66 - I like this one alot. The crowd didn't seem completely in to it. Get Off Of My Cloud-I think the big Stones fans recognized it right off the bat, but it took most people a long time to get it. Once they did, they enjoyed it. Midnight Rambler-Even though I was a great distance from the B-stage, this was the highlight of the show for me! Beautiful! They could play it again and again.

Greatest Hits - The crowd really grew in excitement right up through Brown Sugar. all of the hits were routine, but as always most popular with the crowd. General Impressions - I liked this whole show much better than Detroit. The Cleveland crowd was much more into it. I was happy that I spent 1/3 the $$. The edge of the stage on the side was a very neat perspective. I could see everything from this location! The sound again, was not that hot. Mick's vocal's seemed way back in the mix for most of the show. During the B-Stage section the sound was decent, which made Midnight Rambler even more of a standout. This defenitely was not a "special" show, but it was another in a string of excellent ones. Very professional. The Stones are the ultimate performers. Consistent and entertaining night after night. And they aren't half bad musicians either.

At 18, I just recentely discovered the Stones last year. If this is in fact the last time, then it will be bittersweet for me. The shows I have to remember them by are not the massive stadium shows, but these stripped down arena shows. I won't remember massive video ovals, fireworks, inflatible dolls, or pyrotechnics. I will remember the greatest rock n roll band on earth!! And that is what it is all about.


The press reports:

Thanks to Olaf Reuthebuch, Tom Fabik 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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