It's Only Rock'n Roll
Before that, they had re-arranged the order of the set list, so that "You Got Me Rocking" came second, and "Respectable" came third. That made space for "Gimme Shelter". Lisa made an excellent intro, and did a good job on her solo part, while Mick was stealing the show dancing like a madman on our right wing.
The rest of the show was good as usual. I would have loved to see the crowd as great as last night, but you can't have it all. Anyway, the Stones worked hard on all the songs. On "It's Only Rock'n Roll" Mick made some dancing stunts that really took the whole crowd by surprise, and they were all up on their feet screaming.
The show started about five minutes later than usual, and it lasted five minutes longer than normal. This was perfect timing vs. the home team UCONN Huskies, who played their final game tonight. They had a close game all night, so close the Stones crew never dared to show the results up on the monitors. But in the last seconds they made it, at 11:33 sharp, and as the Stones had finished the final bow, and the lights went on, they showed the final seconds of the basketball game on the screens. That was the moment the Hartford fans went nuts. The girl next to me screamed "We won!!!!", and I knew it would be partytime in town tonight. As I write this, one hour later, the cars are still blowing their horns in the streets all over the town. Even the Amtrak train passing by just now made an extra salute to the town. Congratulations Hartford - you did not win the show tonight, but you certainly won the game, and my heart...
For the record, "I Got The Blues" has been performed live just one time before, so far, at a special TV recording broadcast show at the Marquee Club, London, UK, on March 26, 1971, one month before the song was released on the album "Sticky Fingers" on April 23. They did rehearse it at the Fillmore and Kaiser, and also once at the pre-show soundcheck in Minneapolis earlier this year, plus a few takes at the soundcheck on the Hartford-1 show.
Start time : 9:32 End time : 11:38
The set list:
The lights came up and we strolled into the lobby. There was a palpable buzz in the air, as the hometown University of Connecticut Huskies were playing tonight against Duke University in college basketball's national title game in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Huskies are big shit in Connecticut, which, its historical significance, quality of life and beautiful coastline and golf courses aside, doesn't have much else. As my neighbor in the seat next to me, a bearded 42-year-old convenience store worker, said, "There ain't much else to root for here it Connecticut since the Whalers moved to Carolina."
Mystery surrounded the wild card selections for tonight's show, as the Stones have shown an increasing propensity for mixing up the first five songs when playing consecutive night gigs and tonight's surprise came with the second No Security tour dusting off of "Gimme Shelter." Mick donned a purple jacket over his white muscle shirt and sheer white t-shirt. The real shocker came next, in the number six slot, as many fans, myself included, were hoping for "Moonlight Mile" but were instead treated to another wonderful song from Sticky Fingers, "I Got the Blues." To the best of my knowledge, the Stones have never played this song live before. Keith added some wonderful backing vocals.
Two different people seated in a section to my left were intently watching the basketball game on Watchman mini-televisions. The early bad news was that Duke had raced to a 9-2 lead, fueling the faithful's suspicions this was going to be a blow-out while we sat here, in the off-campus home of the UConn Huskies, watching the baddest ass band on earth. During a fine "Saint of Me," word began to spread amongst the denizens seated with me in section 206 that UConn was down only two points at the half. I think most people were thrilled the music was fine and the Huskies were in the game and not getting blown out by the Duke hoops machine. "Some Girls" featured the new lyrics: "white girls just wanna get fucked all night" and "some girls give me babies, I only fucked her once." Keith strolled to the front right of the stage and played an extended, slow intro to "Paint It, Black." The crowd reaction was fantastic. This differed from the show I saw in Philly, when Chuck Levall played the intro on an electric piano.
"Out of Control" rocked with a furious, raucous rancor that matched the pace of the uptempo game. As the Stones hit their peak fury here, the Huskies extended to a 65-59 edge with 8:57 left as Richard Hamilton curled off a pair of screens to drain a 17-footer. I raced out into the lobby to refill the water bottles and people were calling Sports Phone and friends for updates. There was about four minutes left as the Stones strode to the small stage and traded blows on "Route 66" and "When the Whip Comes Down" while Duke and UConn traded blows on the hardwood. The Blue Devils tied it at 68 with 4:07 to go. The was an exciting nervous energy in the air as the band ripped it apart on the small stage. The mix of pure energy rock and roll with the sports drama unfolding simultaneously made for a joyous cacophony of surreal theater. At the first notes of "Midnight Rambler," Hamilton drained a three and the Huskies went up five, 73-68. There was slightly more than three minutes left and the maddening music complemented the game as it wound down. The Blue Devils cut it to 73-72 and suddenly there is all day left, a minute and 43 seconds. Mick is blowing a mean harp and the crowd is both in awe and equally paralyzed by the fear their hometown heroes appeared to be coughing this one up late.
"Tumbling Dice" and "Start Me Up" took the game to its final seconds. El-Amin missed a 15-footer and Duke recovered the ball. Trajan Langdon started his move toward the hole as the Stones were tearing it up with "Brown Sugar." The music is splendid but the tension is unbearable. UConn defender Ricky Moore dees up Langdon but the faithful crowded around the four- inch screen are sure this is it, Duke's third title of the decade. Ronnie is tearing the fuck out of his Strat as Langdon attempts a spin move ten feet from the basket. He pumps left and there is a whistle. Fuck. Not a foul. He has moved his pivot foot !! Traveling !! UConn ball !!
Two free throws give the Huskies a 77-74 lead. The band is crashing "Brown Sugar" to a halt as Duke races upcourt with three seconds on the clock for a desperation attempt at a three-point basket that would tie the game and force overtime. El-Amin strips the ball and the Stones slam the finale home. It is all over now, baby blue.
The band leaves the stage and the crowd applauds wildly while chanting "UConn! UConn!" During the "Sympathy for the Devil" encore, I find great irony in the lyric: "I stuck around St. Petersburg... "
We spill out into the street and there is a joyousness reminiscent of River Avenue after the Yankees beat the Braves in Game 6 of the 1996 World Series...
Keith was great both nights, and so obviously having fun. He must have thought Hartford #2 was going very well, because he kept smiling, hugging and kissing his fellow performers. Another great moment was that I got to meet some of my internet friends, including Gazza and Jaxx. For the Huskies to win topped of a perfect night. For you foreign fans, to us it's like winning the world cup, no less an achievement. I sure as hell hope someone taped these shows.
The trip started 13 hours ago when I loaded my car-cd magazine with six stones gems and headed up the New Jersey Turnpike. I was alone, had no tickets, and couldn't care less. My trusted "Ticket Agent", Gerry was working on a ticket, and, if you have the balls, it can be fun going solo.
About an hour from Hartford, I called Gerry from the car phone, and he told me that I was to meet some guy at phones near the will call window at the Hartford Civic Center and he would give me the ticket - one that I would like. All I had to do was describe to Gerry what I was wearing so the guy would know who to approach.
Things turned out superbly. My seat was a side view, 3 rows from the stage on the side where Lisa, Bernard, and Blondie were.
Since I had some time to kill, I checked out the area. The Civic Center is a dump. It's part of a dirty mall in downtown Hartford. As I walked around it crossed my mind that the University of Connecticut Huskies were playing Duke tonight in St. Petersburg (Florida not Russia) for the National Men's Collegiate Championship. No one in the Hartford Mall seems to care. Tonight, the Stones were all the hype.
When you go to a show alone, you check out the people around you. So while the Goo-Goo Dolls were performing I did just that. Behind me was a screaming girl who was so drunk, she couldn't stand up. Her feet rested on each side of my chair and she remind me of one of the Honky Tonk Blowup Dolls from the Steel Wheels Tour in 1989 - The one with the dangling shoe and the cigarette hanging from her mouth.
I made friends with the guy to my left who was also alone. His name was Alfonzo, he was from Italy on vacation here, and this was his sixth show ever. He first saw the Stones in Italy during the Urban Jungle Tour in 1990. Alfonzo is also a semi-pro baseball player in an Italian league. He's played on a volcano sand field in Sicily with an active volcano right behind the stadium. Since I also love baseball, Alfonzo and I hit it off just fine.
The Stones came on at 9:20. Mick had the black leather jacket and sunglasses. Underneath the jacket he wore a white sleeveless undershirt which was underneath a white pullover shirt. Woody seemed to be his old self tonight. I saw him in Philly (March 15 and 16) and he seemed to be in a fog, but not tonight. He was his normal crazy self.
I must say that I did get side tracked by Lisa tonight. She was really playing to the crowd. She was also all over Bernard, Blondie, Mick, Keith and Woody. During "Brown Sugar" she pointed to a portly African American Guy who was dangling up a storm and then pointed to herself. "Gimme Shelter" was in the set tonight, so she also got the opportunity to showcase that excellent voice.
Bernard never ceases to amaze me either. His backup vocals really compliment Mick - especially on "Start Me Up".
They did a song tonight I never heard live - "I Got the Blues" from Sticky Fingers. Mick sounded great on it. I'd love to hear it with that boy blues wonder Jonny Lang dueting with Mick.
Keith sounded great on "Thief in the Night" and "You Don't Have to Mean It". Woody's daughter joined Lisa on vocals again. They were so happy with the harmony that they high-fived twice.
The second song on the small stage was "When the Whip Comes Down" and it really kicked. I love "Route 66" and there are no words to describe "Midnight Rambler".
The home stretch songs were so full of energy that I didn't ever get tired on the 3 1/2 hour trip home.
As the band finished up with "Sympathy" it was neat to be able to see them after they had left the stage. Charlie got wrapped in a big terrycloth white robe, Keith and Ronnie went out together, and Mick was escorted with an entourage. As I watched them depart, delirium reeked havoc in the old Civic Center. The message board posted this "Congratulations University of Connecticut - National Champions!" What a day for Hartford.
Thanks to Ted Saxlid, Paul Rush 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.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1999 -
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