It's Only Rock'n Roll
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After the rainy and muddy Imst show, I was in for some great weather and a good crowd tonight. Twelve hours of travel brought me to the North of the Netherlands, all through Germany from Austria, then slightly west. Groningen is a small place, about 20,000 of the tickets were sold there, so the rest came in by train and cars. Already on Tuesday, the day before the show, the whole city felt like it was building up for something special. The papers had specials on the show, and the hotels were filling up.
We were not allowed to queue at the gates through the night, so people came in early on the day, to secure best possible positions on this long and narrow horserace field. By 4pm or so there were lots of people in the queues, and heavy rain poured down. Later on, at 8pm, during the warm-up band performance, another big rain shower poured down, but I was lucky to find shelter under some plastic sheets kindly shared by Dutch fans. The warm-up band Catatonia was really brave and took all that rain; it made it easier for us to ignore it, as the small rivers flooded on the ground. Luckily they had covered up the grass on the front.
The No Security video was on five minutes past nine. I might be wrong, but it felt like they had edited the video, so that it was much more close up, i.e. more of the Stones and less of the backstage area. It might fit better for a stadium show, but I really loved that feeling of seing the boys coming in there...
Jumping Jack Flash and You Got Me Rocking opened up as usual. Then the crowd started to sing "Happy Birthday Charlie", and Mick sent greetings to Charlie, nice. Bitch and Respectable was next. Then Gimme Shelter and Honky Tonk Women. The crowd was much more enthusiastic than in Imst, and Mick was running out to both sides on almost every song. Strange how two identical set lists (so far) could have such a different treat both by the band and by the crowd. Well, I guess the Dutch fans had seen a lot more shows recently compared to the western part of Austria.
Angie was next. Everybody was singing along on that song. Tim Rese was on keyboards with Chuck. Saint Of Me again gave a great singing in the crowd, but I must say the Stuttgart fans made the best version of that song so far. They did not play Some Girls tonigh, that was the first surprise. Out of Control was great, and Paint It Black was fantastic. You know they have done a great version when Mick is far out of breath as the song is finished. Also, there were some great guitar duels among Keith and Ronnie, as they were shoulder by shoulder center stage. Again Tim Rese was on backup keyboards.
Mick did the introductions as soon as he caugth some breath, making a joke about his own exhaustion. When Charlie was introduced, he got a real big Happy Birthday Charlie, and they brought Charlie up front on stage to receive our ovations.
Keith made a change by doing the fast number first, as he started by doing Before They Make Me Run. Then Thief In The Night. Leah Wood was joining in on the backing vocals of "Thief". Keith said something about almost having a vacation in the Netherlands, as they have been here quite frequently now. And thank you very much for not saying the usual phrase "it's good to be back". I can't recall if they ever played Groningen before...
The small stage brought us Route 66. Then surprise number two, except I had seen "...Stone" up there on the setlist already, before Rambler. They did "Like A Rolling Stone". This was definitely not the best version of this song. I would much rather have anything else, like Get Off Of My Cloud or whatever. But Midnight Rambler made up for it, that's a good version always!
On their way back from the small stage they started the "Sympathy" playback. That was surprise number three. So this looked more and more like the set list of last year's Bridges To Babylon tour, rather than the No Security set lists we had got in Stuttgart and Imst.
Then we got the usual four songs as a finish. Tumbling Dice. Ronnie was swinging his guitar with the attached video camera in vain, because the camera did not work at all this time. It's Only Rock'n Roll got an amazing following among the crowd as usual. May be this is the most popular song on this tour, and it works so well too. Keith did the startup chords of Brown Sugar, then turned around and made a strange look at Charlie, as he changed into Start Me Up. Then they finished the basic set with Brown Sugar.
The last surprise for tonight was the encore - Satisfacton! An old workhorse never die! So it was back, but I must say, I did not miss it. Well, for a stupid guy like me, who go to many shows, his set had no big surprises, really. They changed, but they changed back to a set we have had all sumer of 1998. For a regular Groningen fan, who finaly got to se the Stones in his home town, I am sure this was a great show. I am hoping for more "new" and "risky" stuff in Edinburgh...
The Dutch fans spent most of the night getting home after the show. Some made it locally and were home in an hour. Others speeded down towards the big cities in the Amsterdam area. Some spent hours on the trains, and are probably just home as I am writing this. Some sleep would do miracles now.
PS. It never rained through the Stones' performance. They were lucky, but may be they had it all in The Hague last year, when it really poured down...
Start time: 21:05 End time : 23:15
The set list:
But then at 21:04 it started: On the videoscreen were no stars or alion or what so-ever but you could see the Stones walking in the backstage on a very cool song: "Might as well get juiced". This was very cool. And as soon they were on stage they started "Jumping Jack Flash"! I knew this one was goning o be the "opener" but a few people around me were dissappointed that they didn't start with "Satisfaction". Instead of that we got a very aggressive and cool version of "Jack".
After that they played "You Got Me Rocking" which also was a very aggressive and fast one. Then came "Bitch" which was a new song for me because I'm Stones-fan for only a year and a half and I liked the song very much. Then came the first "variable"-song. God listenend to my prayer and let them play "Respectable" which is one of my favorite Stones-songs. A very fast and cool song.
After that it was Lisa's turn. Again she was fantastic in "Gimme Shelter" which also is one of the best Stones-songs I know. Then they played "Honkey Tonk Women" and again there was that inflatable doll in the audience. After that it was time for the second "variable"-song. The played Angie! That was a very nice surprise. What a fantastic version this one was! And the audience was singing very loud too! After that one came "Saint Of Me" which caused just like last time a gigantic sing-along in the audience. They went further with "Out Of Control" which already is a rock-classic.
But then came for me the best song of the evening: "Paint It Black"!! We were so delighted that they played this song. It was a fantastic version of a song which never can be played bad by the boys. Then we went over to Keith who played two songs: "Before They Make Me Run" and "Thief in the night". In the last song Leah Wood assisted Lisa in the vocals.
And then we went to the B-stage. Here they played a nice "Route 66" and after that it was time for "Like A Rolling Stone". This wasn't a very good version but the crowd loved it anyway. Then they played "Midnight Rambler" which was a song I actually didn't knew yet. But whow...when this song began the crowd began to jump and I felt a little erath-quake beneath me! What a fantiastic rock-song this is!
Then they went back while the sounds of "Sympathy For The Devil" where heared. This was the same like the old Babylon-tour. I think it's the best number they can play when walk back to the A-stage. After that we got four classics: "Tumbling Dice", "It's Only Rock'n Roll", "Start me up" and "Brown Sugar". After this nobody knew what was going to be the encore. It was "Satisfaction"!! For the regular Stones-fan a concert without "Satisfaction" isnt't complete. Most of people in the crowd were there for the first and maybe the last time of their lives so they wanted "Satisfaction". Maybe people like Ed Beaver want old and half-forgotten songs but the Stones are there for the main crowd and not only for that few people who visit almost every concert. I can understand that after 20 or 30 shows almost the same setlist you get bored but if the Stones don't play their classics the crowd will be dissappointed!
Also very nice was that between almost very songs the crowd started "Charlie, Charlie!" It was his birthday and he knew it! We also tryed to sing for Ronnie who's brithday was the day before but it didn't work. Mick was full of energy and I think he ran almost a marathon at the stage. And Charlie played as if it was his sweet-sixteenth birthday! Ron Wood as always was making jokes. And good old Keith was rocking like only one man in the world can. This was for me a very good, aggressive and energic concert. This was the evidence that the Stones aren't done yet. We will see them in Landgraaf on June the 18th. The last Dutch-concert of this tour.
Overall it was a great concert with Stones who gave their best. Charlie's 58th birthday was heavilly celebrated, keith played at his best and Mick jumped aroun as in his younger days. I clocked Midnight Rambler, not exactly, at 9 minutes. It was played very good and was followed by Sympathy for the devil, a nice thing to see those songs back to back after the Bstage.
Catatonia was pretty good for an opening act! Even for the Stones. Nice voice. They didn't deserve the heavy rain they got at the end of their set...
The Stones were up around nine. Great video!!! Fantastic opening!!! JJF was a great opening. I'm glad they changed a bit of the setlist!!! Mick and Charlie again in orange shirt, nice detail. The crowd was in a singing mood during YGMR maybe beacause it was still dry! Mick told it was Charlie's birthday, if we didn't knew, and everybody sung Happy Birthday ofcourse.
Respectable was a new song for me. Only knew it from the No Security album great song! It still amazes me how Lisa can sing Gimme Shelter that way almost every night, WHAT A VOICE!!! When does she start a solo carreer!?!?!? Again only plastic nude this time by Honky Tonk Women but what a nice sing-a-long-song it is... Angie was awesome. Nice surprise!!! Great singing by Mick...
Mick asked: "Zingen jullie mee?" Time for Saint Of Me, ofcourse we want to sing along! Still one of my favorite BTB songs! The after-singing didn't last long this time, but it was pretty good. My second favorite BTB song was next, Out Of Control... Great videowork on the big screen! From the "old box" Paint It Black was great VERY VERY nice to hear an other set list!!!
During the introductions Charlie (finally) got a big Happy Birthday from the whole audience! Mick got him in front of the stage but he looked a bit shy... Poor charlie... Keith was introduced as "Wilde Gek" ("wild crazyman") It was time for Mick to lie down and relax. He looked a bit tired at the start of the introductions, he was surely out of breath...
Keith was next with Before They Make Me Run And Thief In The Night. Just like in The Hague Leah Wood was singing with Lisa. Only it was TITN and not You Don't Have To Mean It. Keith also asked if we liked his "dreadlocks"... well.. okay...
Then again came the "turning point". The walk to the stage. Even the third time I saw it it was great. There is something magical about that "simple" walk to the B-stage. Maybe it's the sound/music or just the fact you get the idea they get in the public, it's great!
Route 66 was a whole new song for me. Like a Rolling Stones wasn't! Midnight rambler was played in a very long version, I thought. It looked like they we're just jamming away at one point. Very nice... This time I didn't here it with a echo so it all sounded very good to me!
Probably they also realised after two shows Sympathy For The Devil is the only song you can play when you get back to the main stage. So what would the encore be tonight!?!?!? Almost the usual end songs followed. The Ronnie-cam didn't seem to work during Tumbling Dice. But it didn't uphold him from swinging al the way! IORR got back a very large singing crowd!!! A bit confusion seemed to rise during the start of Start Me Up. Keith started Brown Sugar, only a few notes, and realised he was a song to early. Brown sugar followed with al the confetti. What a way to play a song!
The usual break followed. People guessed what the encore would be. Probably Satisfaction, but You Can't Alway Get What You want would be VERY nice too since they didn't play that for a long time in Europe... But it was Satisfaction... Well you can't have a Stones concert without that song it seems. Unfortunately no treat, YGAGWYW, for Charlie's birtday. But we were also very glad it stayed dry during the show so that was nice to!
After all it was a mix of the No Security and last years BTB set-list. They "played safe" with old hits to keep everyone happy. They made me very happy because they didn't play the same song as last year. Angie and Paint It Black were the best change. Saint Of Me and Out Of Control were the best stayers.
This was probably my last time I would see the Stones live. But they proved last year that it's very good possible they come back when you don't expect it. So who knows...
We went with 4 ( all about 18 year) guys to groningen and arrived there at 11 am. At 4 o' clock it started to rain very hard. I thought Malieveld (The Hague 5 sept 98) would be repeated. But soon the rain stopped. I think the gates opened at about 5 o' clock. we were in a very good position. next to the bridge (keith' side) with only 2 or 3 persons in front of me. I think the band Catalonia was quite good. Too bad they had to play in the rain. (during the concert had hasn't rained at all)
The show started at 9.05 with the No Security video which was much nicer then the lion video. They started with Jumpin' Jack Flash, which I think is the best song. Then they played You Got Me Tocking Now. I was really surprised they played Bitch but I really liked it, this song was followed by Respectable. A really nice piece of work. Then it was time for Honky Tonk Woman, some people had a inflatable doll. Then one of the best songs of that evening was Angie it was played very good on electric guitar. very nice.
The crowd song along very loud with saint of me. Mick tried to stop us in vain. With Out of Control the crowd completely lost their heads. and then... The song I never heard live before (I allways wanted) was Paint it Black. It was so nice. I really got wild and threw my t-shirt to keith and it feld on the edge of the stage.
Mick introduced the band and when he introduced Charlie everybody began to sing Happy birthday to Charlie. And he really came walking to the front of the stage. (has he ever done that before?) Then Keith began the sing Before They Make Me Run. He sang very well. Then he started to sing Like A Thief In The Night, I really don't like that song because it is far to soft but at the concert it was a sort of a brake for me which i really needed at that moment.
At the Bstage they played Route 66, Like a Rolling Stone and Midnight Rambler. Route 66 was very good, I don't think Like a Rolling Stone is a very nice song but the rest of the crowd loved it very much. Then they started to play Midnight Rambler, this was so ..... nice, I never heard a better live performance of any song better then this. At the half of the song the lights of the big stage were flashing, it was very good. Then they walked back to the main stage. And when they walked back (they passed me at 2 meters) I sat on the back of a friend and I made some perfect pictures, on one of them ronnie looks straight in the camera.
Then they played Sympathy for the Devil, Tumbling Dice, It's Only Rock 'n Roll, all very nice. And when Start me up began it seemed that my shirt was on one of the flame throwers and it was on fire.(I think it was only possible to see it in front of the stage) After brown Sugar it became totally dark and on the video screen they showed the earth and then they zoomed in on Groningen. It became completely dark again. And then I Can Get No Satisfaction. Well I certainly got satisfaction.
When Charlie threw his drum sticks away a lot of people jumped on the ground the pick it up. But unfortually it slipped thru my fingers. too bad
We were at the station at 12.00 and were at home at 4.00 am. very tired but Satisfied.
The churches that prayed for a cancelling and/or bad concert because they think Mick Jagger is the devil in disguise didn't have so many success because it was the best concert of the five I went to.
After driving one hour through the partly not very well organised city of Groningen we (my girlfriend and me) arrived at staatspark camping which is next to the festivalsite. We got to the gates at 3.30 and stood there up to quarter to five when the gates were opened. During this time heavy rain (with a thunderstorm) poured down at the waiting and thunderstorm celebrating fans. I thought the rain would disturb or destroy the very good atmosphere, but the opposite happened, everybody around me was partying in the rain (the same ha-pened about four hours later). When the gates were opened we moved strictly to the stage, ignoring the snacks, burger&pizza stands which offered more interesting things than I was used to know from Germany. After "fighting" through some sitting fans we got our place about ten meters away from the B-Stage.
I think it was around 8 o'clock when Catatonia, the supporting Band entered the Stage. The most interesting thing at this band wasn't the music itself, it was the dress of the female singer. But at least, they were a nice support band. At the end of their set even more heavy rain poured down But again everyboy was celebrating and singing along loudly with Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl. Then Prodigy powered out of the sound system, but because of the stage was full of roadies, cleaning and drying it, I didn't expect the main band to enter. Two songs later it was time for the "greatest Rock`n Roll Band in the World":
The curtain opened and I saw the "new" intro for the first time. My opinion: SUPERB. The opener Jumpin`Jack Flash was GREAT. One word to describe this song at the beginning of a great concert, it was much better than Satisfaction, a song which was heard again and again. Everybody was dancing and grooving to the music and singing at the refrain even louder than the Stones through their sound-system, something which I didn't know before at a Stones-concert. The sound was nearly perfect for such a big field (at my position, near the so-undboard): LOUD, FAT but still good to listen to. JJF was followed by another great rocker: You Got Me rocking, a title that fits very very well to the concert. After YGMR Charlie got the first of many follo-wing ovations for his 58th birthday.
All of the Stones seemed to follow the fans` enthusiasm: Keith was great as al-ways, Mick was looking very aggressiv, ready for working the crowd. Ronnie was the clown as usual and Charlie was the best of all (as always before). Following highlights were Paint It Black and the B2B section incluzding Saint Of Me (keep this one grooving) and Out Of Control, which was very slow. First disappointment was Keith's 2nd song: Thief In The Night, in my opinion this is a very great song (perhaps one of the best) on the CD but it isn't THAT live song. Furthermore I've heard it three times before. KEITH, please give us HAPPY,You got the silver or some other goodies.
And than it was time for the B-Stage: After a nice jazzy song (can anyone tell me the title and the band's name of it???) Mick, Charlie, Keith and Ronnie ar-rived next to me. After a great ride on Route 66 i hoped for Get Off Of My Cloud, but again they played Like A Rolling Stone, which sounded not very well and that didn't have the power and the groove of GOOMC. But the last song, Midnight Rambler , for me the BEST song at this concert, ex-cused for LARS. Midnight Rambler was loud, strong, very long , best to say : fantastic!!!
When the musiscians moved back to the Main-Stage the intro of Sympathy For The Devil came out of the Sound system, another surprise. Sympathy was followed by the usual hit-section: Tumbling Dice, It's Only R`n R, Start Me Up and Brown Sugar. Keith assisted his reputation as the "best worst guitar-player in the world" by playing the first chords of Brown Sugar, stopping, looking to Charlie and star-ting Star Me Up then.
The setlist seemed to change from No Security to B2B again (while the merchandising still sold NO SECURITY T-Shirts) which I think is a pity. After Brown Sugar I was hoping for GOOMC again, because Sympathy, the usual encore moved into the regular setlist. But instead of a nice song, Satisfaction satisfied most fans. Now some general Ideas about the B2B tour of the Rolling Stones: I was and am a really BIG fan of the Stones, but i think it is nearly insolent to demand about 100 DM for a concert, and if the visitor dosn't wait at the gates from midday on he only has the chance to see them at their screen and to hear them very silent:
One question to the Stones (I don't really think they will read this, but if... ): PLEASE LET US EUROPEANS JOIN SUCH A GREAT INDOOR TOUR (just the Band , the Stones itself, without any show things, fireworks or other things) AS U DID IN AMERICA. Why do we have to see U only at big fields and festival sites? Why don't u visit stadiums which have a better acoustic and a better optic? These last questions do not say that I won't visit any concerts or don't like them as did before, that are just some general questions. I really loved that concert at Groningen, it was probably the best I've ever heard of them.
PS: If anyone taped this one, or many guys around me took pictures, PLEASE email me at: [email protected]
Thanks to Andre van der Hoek, Wim Heijenk 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 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe