It's Only Rock'n Roll
On Friday the Stones drove across the border to do the Landgraaf show, an hour or so away by fast cars. After the show they went directly back. On Saturday there were around 30 fans waiting outside the hotel, to see the Stones, and may be to get an autograph.
As the G8 (great 8 states of power/economy = USA, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy + Russia) had their summit in the city of Cologne for this week-end, it was really strange to be in town with that many police people. As I took the train from Landgraaf to Cologne via Aachen, there were a bunch of 10-20 police people on all the German train stations from Aachen. And in Cologne city, there were thousands, some say 12,00 police, sealing of large areas of the city center. Strange really, as you go to a Stones show, having this strange feeling that police is all over, feeling a bit unsafe, even if it is probably the safest city to be in at the moment.
The stadium holds around 58,000 people. Due to slow ticket sales, they had added the famous German group BAP as warm-up band, and they had also given a special price of DM 65 on the ticket, vs. normal price around DM 100, i.e. 35% discount. I hoped they would get a packed house for the final night of the tour.
It took forever to open the gates, but finally it was time. I was inside the front pit, and had a perfect view for the show. Too bad it started to rain shortly after we got in at around 4:30pm.
It rained and rained, just more and more, but not as much as in The Hague last year. I did not mind the rain at all. The Stones were on at 9:12 sharp, having worked hard to keep the flood out of the stage. On You Got Me Rocking Ronnie had problems with his guitar, and stepped back to change it. Then it was easy to hear how important his part is in this song. Once he got his new gitar he was up there in the front again, taking the rain, playing great. Keith was running the basic riffs all along.
Gimme Shelter had a great opening by Lisa. She twisted her voice like she was going to give all she had - well it was the last show. The rest of the song kept her promise - strong, good and perfect sound as well.
Memory Motel was great tonight. I wasn't happy with how the people at Landgraaf moved about, started to talk, and disturbed Memory Motel two days ago, but tonight everyone was singing along and making it a great time for one of my favorite songs.
Out Of Control was fantastic. Normally it is great. Mick did some real howling harmonica, and Keith came running along soon after, for their duel.
During the introductions Mick was thanking everyone in the crew, working with the shows, as they were showing close ups of the crew in the rain. They really deserved all the thanks, because without the crew, there would not be such perfect shows. Also, he thanked everyone who hand gone to many show,as he said, "Some went to more shows than us!" Charlie was introduced as the only dry person on stage, but he walked up on the stage to take a bow, and got a little bit of rain as well. Mick introduced Keith, and Keith said "Thank you Mick". So tonight even Mick got an introducton.
Keith did "Thief In The Night", because it rained. He was planning to do "You Got The Silver" otherwise. As he finished "Thief", Pierre came up to pick up his guitar, but he did not have a new guitar for Keith. Few steps behind Pierre came a beautiful blonde with a guitar for Keith - his wife Patti Hansen. Surprise surprise...
The small stage was a great experience. I had moved over there to be real close. Route 66 was very good. The sound was perfect. During Midnight Rambler it stopped raining, and it never rained again through the show.
Back to the main stage for Sympathy For The Devil. Lots of blonde girls on stage now. On the far left Blondie with Micks daughter Eliabeth. She had routine by now, following her two appearances at Wembley-1 and Wembley-2. At the far right with Bernard we had Leah. And in the center, we had Lisa, and on her sides two more blonde girls, daughters of Keith and Patti. A real family show! As "Sympathy" finished they all walked over to the girls, and it got real crowded over there.
Start Me Up - Keith did his new intro with the Brown Sugar riff. Then Brown Sugar and Satisfaction, what a show. It was the best one of this summer tour for sure. Excellent sound, excellent crowd, excellent setlist, just perfect.
Thanks to the Stones for two great years of touring, life will not be he same after this!
Start time: 9:12 pm End time : 11:24 pm
The set list:
JJF kicked! It was still pouring rain but that made JJF even better. (I was reminded of the story that is connected with JJF - the gardener of Keith with his raincoat) Also Mick was wearing a raincoat - a blue one and a hat. So did Ron. Charlie was safe in the back. The setlist was similar to the Landgraaf show. But the rain made every song somehow special. Seemed like God was crying because he wouldn't let the Stones go. Gimme Shelter showed once more how amazing Liza is. (Especailly tonight in a wonderful long black dress - She is truly a looker) HTW smashed. When Charlie hit the snare the first time, it sounded like a window was crashing. Awesome. Charlie was good anyway.
During the introduction, Mick thanked the whole crew - lighting, sound, backstage, stage and even the drivers. When Charlie was introduced ("The `dry` Charlie Watts"), we wanted him in the front. He did come out but only to ecape back to his spot after a few seconds. Keith then played TITN and BTMMR which was alright. He seemed not too happy about the rain.
As I was standing front row at the B-stage, my favorite part was coming now. Charlie was first and sat down under a massive umbrella protecting him and the drum-kit. But when the others had arrived, a little miracle happened - the rain stopped. Route 66 then really rocked. The sound was awesome and Mick was again wearing the awesome blue raincoat and the hat. After the song he got rid of the coat and threw the hat in the crowd - a real crowd-pleaser. Like a Rolling Stone and Midnight Rambler were awesome as well but the sound was getting worse. The guitars came straight and the drums were delayed!? But that did not really matter anymore at this point.
During IORR the backgroundsection had some support. Three women were joing them. But I could not make out how it was. Probably Jerry Hall (or was it Hillray Clinton??)
Then the Stones were totally rocking: Start Me Up, Brown Sugar and Satisfaction...As usual but the crowd was celebrating them. This could be the last time, maybe the last time - I dont know. And everybody knew that it coud be the Last Time.
It was worth all the bucktes of water. The Rolling Stones were/are just....I am lost for words. Until then.
A great show which was a bit on the quieter side due to the rain. At 5pm, it started to rain until 7.30 (the moment that BAP entered the stage). BAP delivered a good rocking show. It started raining again (quite heavy) at 8.20 when BAP left the stage. Stones came at about 9.12pm and played until 11.25pm or so. It stopped raining after the B-stage, from that moment on, the mood of the band and the audience was better! For me, the highlight of the evening was Lisa Fisher who seemed to be the only one really enjoying the rain. she danced barefoot. Ronnie seemed to hate the rain, Mick was professional as always, and Keith said something like "that's how it had to end" during his two solo songs where he got really wet... Charlie walked under an umbrella to the Bstage. I was lucky enough to catch one of Charlies drum sticks at the end!! I stood in the mid of the "front pitch" on Ronnies side (maybe 20th row).
Axel and me made our way to Cologne at midday, calling in at Johannes Tuemmers' place where some Glimmers had already gathered. We all then made our way to the Muengersdorfer Stadion through the Stadtpark, a walk of about 20 minutes. We got to the back entrance that leads to the field. There were about 300-500 people waiting there by 2 pm and more arrived while we waited there. We could hear parts of the Stones soundcheck and later the BAP soundcheck. Doors were opened around 5 pm. By that time the pressure was enourmous, as everyone wanted to get in as quickly as possible. Security handled it very badly, letting people in before they decided they were not letting any people in, changing their minds again after a few minutes to let people in finally. There was another barrier at the entrance to the pitch and the pressure there was unbelievably. Why they had that second barrier was not clear to any one of us. Dieter Hoffmann at least had his rib bruised, if not broken there and felt very bad for the whole show.
Once in, we made it to Ronnie's side again, ending up 6th or 7th row from the front directly at the catwalk. Ronnie's side is the much better side these days, as the stage is so crowded there. Keith's side was empty for parts of the show, as everyone gathered around the singers and Chuck. I would never go to Keith' side again, because even Keith hangs around in the middle or on Ronnie's side.
BAP were on at 7.30 pm and their bit was highly emotional as well. They did the support bit 17 years ago at the same place, 4. and 5. 7. 1982, which I remember well. It is their home town, it's the stadion of their football club and they will disband after this tour. They did mostly their greatest hits, which might mean nothing for all the non-germans attending but which meant a lot to all the germans there, so there was a lot of singing along and dancing. Even I cought myself singing to most of their songs. Wolfgang Niedecken was given a scarf of FC Cologne by a fan, he wore it for a couple of songs, then threw it back to the fan. He mentioned the 1982 support shows a couple of times and promised to do it again in 17 years' thime, which I really would like to see. When they went off they thanked the rain god for not opening the barriers, that threatened from above for some time. That was when the rain first started. ;-))
The rain went on and we all waited for the Stones in anticipation. Newspaper reported that Bill Clinton should be there, in the end it turned out that Chelsea attended the show. At least the news this morning told us so.
When the Stones came on around 9.15 pm, the rain was really heavy (the worrst bit came down during Keith's songs, stopping around Midnight Rambler), but the Stones did not seem to care a lot. They all wore hats, Mick took away Ronnie's hat for a couple songs before handing it back, Keith did not care about a hat a couple of songs into the show. Everyone got wet, we all were drenched to the bone, but nobody really cared. We all knew this was the last time we would hear those songs for a very long time. So we decided to sing, dance, sing more, dance more, just enjoyed ourselves.
The show was a very strong one, Memory Motel being perfect, but all the other songs were very strong, too. In Thief in the night, Keith made up some words about the rain, during YGMR Ronnie had to change guitars for the solo, he used the plexi guitar for the last bit of the song. Ronnie was loud, Keith played very well, Charlie was BANGING the drums. Everyone on stage seemed to be in very high spirits.
During the in intros Mick thanked everyone for making the 2 year tour possible, from the crew to the drivers, the lights, just everyone. And he thanked the fans as well, all the ones that have been to more than one show and the ones that had been to even more shows than the Stones played. ;-))
Patti Hansen came out to bring Keith the guitar for Before they make me run, being introduced as "that's the wife".
The bridge came on for the last time, Charlie had an umbrella to handle the waterfalls coming down, but that did not keep them from really making it a b-stage set in full force, dancing around the stage like mad. I have never seen so many movements on the b-stage before. Midnight Rambler saw Keith and Ronnie really trying to knock out lick interchanges. When they came back, Nico shook hands with Charlie, Chuck and Keith, which made his day.
Sympathy had not only Leah (who was cleaning the stage with the crew before the Stones' set) and Elizabeth back again, but also both of Keith' daughters. So we had a very long rendition of Sympathy and three very proud fathers on Ronnie's side, always around the background vocals place. Lisa made a good nanny, musical director for all those backing singers on there and tehy even paraded around the microphones. You could see how proud Keith was that his two girls where on there as well, Mick did not seem to be too sure about it all, but it was just the last night and it was an emotional thing. :-))
Greatest Hits followed with even more singing and dancing and then it was all over. Final bows and off they went. I don't know if they played well or didn't, I just loved it as much as anyone seemed to love it.
After the show there were some gatherings on the field, pictures where taken and everyone said goodbye to everyone else. As Bjornulf said: We all have to go back to our famailies now, digging the garden, cutting the grass, painting the house, whatever, to keep us busy til the next tour.
Thanks each and everyone for being on the tour with me, the homepage will be up in a couple of weeks to make another memory bit to go back to, just give me some time to settle into a normal routine again.
This time BAP played a 50 min. Set of classics and new songs. The whole stadium rocked. Wolfgang Niedecken (the singer) made a joke, they will play with the Stones every 17 years. How old are the boys then?
Before BAP enter the stage it was raining all the time. When they played the sun came out. Only a little but the rain stopped. A few minutes after BAP left the stage it started raining again and it never stoped untill the Stones go to the "B-Stage" !
The Stones opening showed us the videoclip of the Stones coming from backstage on the stage. Without any annoucement they started with a powerful "Jumpin Jack Flash". In my opinion it was a better start than last year. And JJF is better in the short version like 1969.
Every song was great, only "Memory Motel" wasn't a crowd pleaser. I think because of the bad weather the fans wanna rock to get warm.
Keith announced "Thief In the Night" as "Thief In The Rain"! He did a good job on his two songs. His voice was clear and strong.
Mick, Keith and Ronnie were dressed in coats and came often out in the rain.
Through the first half of the concert many wet people left the stadium. They missed the best thing in the show: The B-Stage. They builded the bridge as last year. Then they started with a hot "Route 66". And many fans started dancing. Then a great version of "Like A Rolling Stone". After this song Mick throw his hat into the audience! And now the highlight of the concert: Midnight Rambler. A very strong, extensive and dark version like in the early seventies. Fantastic! My favourite of the show.
Then came the usal "Greatest hits section". But with a power I thought the Stones wanted break down the stadium. So thank you boys for a fantastic evening.
Rumours said, that the U.S.-President Bill Clinton will come to the show, because of the G 8-Meeting he is in Cologne that weekend. He wasn't there but his daughter!
Yes indeed, the sky was crying when the Stones entered the stage for the final show of this tour. When Charlie was forced to take a bow in the pouring rain during the introduction he summed it up in just one word - "fuck". My wife who can read lips saw that when his face was on the screen. Anyway the rain did not bother them at all. From the the first moment they gave us the best show of this summer. They all were in a very good mood. They were smiling, joking and kidding each other all the time. Maybe they were happy that they finally could get back to their homes and families after two years.
When they crossed the bridge to the B-stage Charlie appeared with an umbrella which he threw down into the golden circle on Ronnie's side where I was standing front row to the B-stage. After "Route 66" we all shouted and screamed Charlie's name, he turned round smiled down to us and - missed the beginning of "Like a rolling stone". But after a few bars he managed to make up with the rest of the guys. When they went back to the main stage I was able to get a clap from Ronnie and finally Charlie. Wow - I've been waiting for this moment for so long. It will make this show unforgettable for me for the rest of my life.
Thanks also to Mick for his remarks about the crew and about those of us who have been following them around the world. Glad you noticed that, Mick. We really appreciate that.
Thank you guys for two years of the best music on this planet. You have not only given me the best shows but you also let me meet old friends - Dirk and his wonderful wife, Mike, Joyce, Linda, Gesa and many more (you know who you are) and installed new friendships. Till the next time we say good-bye!
No complaints on the set list, it´s just the way it is and we couldn´t change it, anyway.. Well, at least Mick appreciated that there are a lot of fans who see many more than just one show by thanking us for coming, as well as the crew and everybody else involved.. Some special guests on stage for the first time.. Mick´s daughter Elizabeth and Ronnie´s Leah were joined by Keith´s daughters on Sympathy doing the background vocals.. All dressed in black and with long blonde hair.. It was really crowded over there :-) Well, and Keith got his guitar from Patti Hansen, his wife before his second tune BTMMR, btw..
They had one or two extra cameras filming the crowd also, I think, as well as on stage.. Maybe to catch the last moments of this great and long world tour lasting for almost 2 years - two great years for me with 14 great shows in Europe and Argentina.. After the show we stayed in the stadium for quite a while after the show.. It was time to say farewell and exchange addresses (if not already done before).. Well, how long will it be to the next tour?? We´ll see some time, but I´m missing all this already, but life goes on anyway.. Till the next time I say goodbye..
However, there are some definite pluses to coming all the way to Germany to see the final night of the Bridges to Babylon show, and perhaps the last giant stadium show ever by the band. First, you get to see 25,000 mad fans on the arena floor waving their arms in time to their local favourite band BAP, who were playing their final show with three of their band after several decades together. Then, this being the final show, and the rain refused to stop coming down until after the B-stage performance, you get to see the Stones garbed in various hats, hoods, long coats and soaked hair as they try to compete with the weather. "It's just a small shower," Mick says to the horn players during the introductions. Mercifully, it did finally stop and this probably allowed many of the crowd to avoid a serious case of the flu the next day.
The wifes and girlfriends, cameramen, roadies and the band all seemed to be having a great time, in spite of the dismal weather. The chorus during Sympathy For The Devil has never sounded better, with the addition of the extra voices. Also, I don't know who was more surprised, either Keith or the crowd, when Keith's wife Patty strolled out to hand him his Telecaster for Before They Make Me Run.
We didn't get to hear any of the newer songs that have been rehearsed and played at some of the concerts this month. I had really wanted to hear at least Get Off My Cloud and Moon Is Up, but alas, it was not to be. Instead, it was a decidedly-routine Bridges show. Even Like A Rolling Stone saw action during the B-stage. Happily, Midnight Rambler sounded particularly rambunctious and prolonged this night. Has Keith's guitar ever sounded better? The sound system, to the great credit of the engineers, could not have done a better job coping with the massive environs of Mungersdorfer Stadium. Every single instrument was crystal clear from our vantage point, and it was easy to tell that Ronnie, Chuck and Darryl were playing their hearts out on this final night of the tour.
Mick made special introductions for everyone and gave thanks to all the crew and the other unsung heroes that have made this the most successful Stones tour of all time. It's been an amazing run of concerts all over the globe since Sept 97. With seven North American Bridges shows, two No Security shows, and now this final plum on the pudding under our belts, we have to say that all of them were quite different. Each had its highlights, a disappointment or two ( either about the song list or something as mundane as why does a coke in Germany cost 5 marks, the same as a beer?), but we wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them for the world. You haven't lived until you experience a Stones show (no one reading this review has to be told that), and the period until the next show can sometimes be the longest period of your life. Now, we await the band's decisions yet to come, deciding whether they will get back to work and ever tour again. However, the joy and exhiliration they have brought to us over the years, is reward enough for our record buying and souvenir buying. We have each lived a symbiotic relationship, the band and us. Together, we have enriched the other's lives, pocketbooks and scrapbooks of memories spent together. Where were you during the 75 or 81 tours? I'll bet that you can remember. So, let's hope they come back once again. But, if the unspeakable happens and they don't, I for one will be satisfied with my memories.
Thanks to the band for a great tour and a great show!! Enjoy your rest...come back to us soon.
After a drive of 2 hours, I arrived in Cologne where I noticed that the police was everywhere. In streets, near hotels, etc. You could feel that something was going on but they weren¹t there for the Rolling Stones. Only a small article in a local newspaper (Sunday edition) paid attention to the concert : ³Bill Clinton won¹t go to the Rolling Stones this evening.² Apparently he wasn¹t the only one with the same thought! Not that enormous tickets were sold and you could buy blue tickets (general admission) for a merely 65 DM at different box offices. I¹d already paid 110 DM for my ticket several weeks ago.
Have the Stones gone one bridge too far? It seems, they have. When I arrived at 2 pm at the main gate (rightside) perhaps 400 persons were waiting at the entrance. I saw again several Dutch & French friends (always to rock n roll). Just before 5 pm. (4.50 I think), the gates were opened & oh man, it was again a shit organisation. Whereas in Landgraaf, there were barriers, people were pushing like crazy & once you think you¹ve made it... you have to pass a very narrow gate to enter the soccer field (crazy & dangerous)!!!! This time I stood at Keith¹s side (second row) what was going to be the last BTB concert.
I was really hoping for an exciting concert but deep inside I knew that it was going to be quite the same as Wembley for instance. I was wrong, the Stones played the same setlist as Landgraaf, only Keith did Thief in the Night¹ instead of the reggea one. No encore yet again! If I was disappointed? Yes! Seen the first Soldier Field Show almost two years ago, a lot of nice songs as Rock n Hard Place, 19th Nervous Breakdown, etc were dropped in favour of the newer ones such as Flip The Switch, Anybody Seen My Baby, ... In 1999, only two BTB songs were played every night. But why haven¹t they played YCAGWYW as encore?
I don¹t want to be critical but I¹m sure that hardcore fans will have the same feeling as me. I went to Cologne to hear & see the greatest rock n roll band o earth in the first place. This time not under the sun but in a fucking rain! When the Stones hit the stage, the weather condition was similar to The Hague last year. I don¹t like Mick Jagger that much as personality but as a performer (who can face him)... probably nobody. During the first six numbers, Mick was the only Stone (sometimes with an hat on) jumping, dancing & singing in the rain. All others (including Lisa, Blondie and Bernard) were under the porch roof (dry & safe). Only Keith & Ron walked during guitar solos or at the beginning of a song to the front of the stage. Congratulations! You¹re paid for it but you¹ve done an hell of a job under those circumstances.
Memory Motel was the highlight so far. A beautiful song with Mick & Keith on vocals. Everyone was singing along. Also Paint It Black rocked the Müngersdorfer Stadium (hunderds of arms in the air) with Charlie drumming like a Mustang. Before the introduction Mick thanked all the crew responsable for the stage, transport, lighting etc. I would also like to pay tribute to all those backstage, the invisible stones.
By this time, a part of the German crowd were already asleep. Keith did a slow version of Thief & after this song, a beautiful woman came onstage with a Fender for Keith. ³That¹s my wife² said Keith. Thanks Patti, you really surprised Mr. Rock n Roll himself, better know as your husband.
The small stage was great as usual. Once the Stones came back to the main stage for Sympathy, the rain was gone & the daughters of Keith, Ron + Elisabeth Jagger were singing ³Ou Ou² left and right of Bernard & Lisa.
Tumbling Dice, IORR (best version of 1999) and Start Me Up with the great Landgraaf riff or should I say, Brown Sugar intro...
Just before Satisfaction, lots of Germans were already leaving the stadium but they all came back to follow the last part from the exit stairs once Keith started the famous intro. The Stones were again extremely cool, playing a long version without any mistake until fireworks started to fly high in the dry sky.
Thanks Stones. Cologne ended where it all started in September 1997... I¹m satisfied, probably all other fans as well.
After the final bow, great fireworks started & ³Bittersweet Symphony² of the Verve was played... this could be the last time, maybe the last time, I don¹t know. But I hope, it won¹t. See you all within a few years(?)
Not realising the correct etiquette of how these things go, once inside the enclosure I'd waited at the head of the steps that led down to the inside of the stadium. As the people who'd been waiting outside arrived at the second barrier to go down to the pitch security stopped us for what seemed an eternity. Finally they seemed to relent and I was past the two guards and tearing across the field towards Ronnie's side. I was the second person through into the enclosure and there were still 30 or 40 people in before me!
The No Security video burst onto the Jumbotron screen for the last time and the audience applauded like mad. As Might As Well Get Juiced faded out Keith charged out onto the stage. From the opening barrage of Jumpin' Jack Flash the stadium burst into life. Keith, hatless with just a scarf tied around his head to battle the elements--the 'Meccano set' in his hair rattling away to full extreme. As Mick began singing the lyrics were the sane as ever, but they seemed to have a special resonance that rainswept evening. 'I was born in a crossfire hurricane' really meant something. For You Got Me Rocking something went wrong with Woody's regular Tony Zematis--the one he uses for slide--and he replaced it with a Dan Armstrong (?) plexi-glass model. The first time I've ever seen him using this guitar. As the rain continued to bucket on down the words 'I was a tycoon drowning in debt' seemed to take on new connotations.
Live With Me was possibly the best version I've heard since last year's version at Waldbühne. Everything about the Müngersdorfer show was perfect. The rain didn't have any effect in glooming the proceedings whatsoever. Woody soon took off his rain-drenched hat, passing it to Mick. After a few bars with his head uncovered he pulled the hood of his waterproof jacket down over his head. For the whole of Respectable and the following number or two all you could see of his face was his mouth and chin. The hood totally obscured the rest of his face. He still looked cool--possibly even cooler than usual. And, as at Landgraaf his guitar was up in the mix again--something that's been sorely lacking since Imst a few weeks previously.
Gimme Shelter so obviously meant what it said and Lisa belted out her part with a new-found complete power. The best part of the show was a truly glorious Memory Motel, the best version I've seen since the band premiered it at RFK Stadium in Washington during the opening pair of Voodoo Lounge dates. I really love it when the band makes mistakes and this time Keith got it wrong. He went into the first of his 'She's got a mind of her own...' parts quite a few bars too early. Ronnie looked at Mick, Mick looked back at Ronnie, both of them looked at Charlie, shrugged and carried on with the song. Despite this the number had a certain majesty that had been lacking at some of the Bridges To Babylon shows. The Prague version had also been glorious but still lacked the extra something that tonight's rendition had.
Saint Of Me was as cool as ever. As usual Mick handed his acoustic to Pierre de Beauport before leading the crowd sing-a-long of, 'Yea! Oh yeah! You'll never make a saint of me'. Sometimes it works better than others--this was one of those times. In England and Scotland the crowd hadn't quite come to terms with what was expected of them, on mainland Europe this part of the show always comes across brilliantly.
Out Of Control, with Keith on Les Paul Junior, was brilliant if not quite up to the first Wembley version, which touched heaven just like it did in Prague a year before. Capo on the second fret for Paint It Black which burnt a hole through the sky despite the as yet unrelenting rain. The band introductions this time included thanks to everyone from the carpenters to the riggers to the drivers and especially to those mad enough to try and attend most, if not all of the shows.
As the rain continued to fall Keith changed the lyrics of the first of his two numbers to 'Like a thief in the rain' which added a special note to the still incredibly wet evening. As he did on quite a few other occasions on the tour Keith muffed up the intro to Before They Make Me Run, slipping fingers in the rain excusing everything.
The lights went down, the bridge crept out... If you're in the front rows, or up against the barrier, unless you stand on tip-toes you're always more or less out of sight of the B-Stage for the duration of the set there. Despite this Route 66 still hit like a rocket. As Like A Rolling Stone crashed into life--why drop Get Off Of My Cloud though--there was a sudden burst of activity on the main stage. Through the deep unlit gloom one could see a bevy of blondes lining up with Ber-nard. Occasional flashes let you know that photos were being taken. Then during Midnight Rambler as the rain suddenly ceased to fall, two of the as yet unnamed blondes could be seen gambolling round the stage. At first sight one was led to assume that they were the usual culprits, Miss Elizabeth Jagger and Miss Leah Wood. They were seen running up and down the walkways distracting themselves, and distracting those of us up against the barrier. Later one realised that they were two newcomers to the stage, Misses Alexandra and Theodora Richards. Then as the band had walked back from the middle of the arena the four daughters joined Blondie ('Mr. Laughton'), Ber-nard and Lisa round the microphones for Sympathy For The Devil. Towards the end of the song Lisa led the four blondes in a procession round Woody's part of the stage. They went tumbling and laughing round the backing vocal microphones.
Even the 'greatest hits' part of the show seemed fresh and inspired--both from the band's side and from those of us who've heard it all so many times before. Tumbling Dice rolled along smoothly. It's Only Rock'N Roll as usual missed off the intro, Keith beginning it as he has for years with one of his many variations on Chuck Berry. As usual on this last leg of the two year tour he once again played the false Brown Sugar start just before launching into Start Me Up. This seems to have taken over as a new 'party trick'--instead of the false starts he was teasing the crowd with last year.
Then it was Brown Sugar itself. A momentously long version echoed round the stadium. The rain was long forgotten. The song seemed to last for a joyous eternity before finally grinding to a halt. As per usual for the middle and last legs of this ultra-short Stones' tour, the encore was (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. Glitter confetti showered down from the p.a. stacks and from the B-Stage. Then it was over. The ensemble bowed. The Stones themselves bowed and a few seconds later they were off--back to the Wasserturm for a shower and change of clothes before the party in the 11th floor restaurant. Leaving the rest of us poor mortals to shiver our way homewards.
According to the crew the next tour is supposed to be beginning in another seventeen months--either that or in 2002--the fortieth anniversary tour. Soon it'll be time for Forty By Four. So there'll be a new album in just under a year and a half--there's still a lot to look forward to. Hopefully next time the Stones go on the road the band will be stripped down to Mick, Keith, Charlie and Woody, plus a bassist and keyboard player--preferably Ian McLagen. Remember that, to paraphrase Andrew Oldham, 'there are but four Rolling Stones'.
Please email all your memories and reviews! Thanks!
Thanks to Andreas Wiethoff, Erik Hecker 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 36 out May 18, 1999.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1999 -
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