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

Bradley Center
Milwaukee, WI, USA
Friday Feb. 19, 1999

Review by Rich and Karen Kaczmarek

To begin with, the Bradley Center was packed, and tickets out front were very hard to come by. Many people were out looking for tickets in the cold and just gave up and went home. However, there were still $90 fouth level corner seats available at the box office.

We sent Karen in first, running to her seat before the big intro. Just made it before the lights went out and the film ran, which is a very cool intro. The film shows Stones looking rough and tough and ready to kick some ass, which they do very successfully.

With each tour, there's a couple songs that we really look forward to. Some tours it takes a couple of shows before that song or those songs are pinpointed. There's three songs that really stood out for us tonight: Paint It Black, Before They Make Me Run, and Midnight Rambler. Keith's choice of Before They Make Me Run kept the crowd from getting another beer and it held people's attention. We always enjoy Keith's selections, and it was nice to see the crowd appreciate them too.

Midnight Rambler went on like the best roller coaster ride; there were twists and turns and nearly heartstopping moments that were extremely exciting. It's a perfect center stage song.

The sound was quite good on the fourth level. There was no distortion, and as the show went on it kept getting louder and louder and louder. Just awesome.

Start time:  9:25
End time  : 11:15

The set list:

  1. Jumping Jack Flash
  2. Live With Me
  3. Respectable
  4. You Got Me Rocking
  5. Honky Tonk Women
  6. Memory Motel
  7. Sweet Virginia
  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. 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 Bob Dwyer

The Stones flew into Milwaukee around 6:00 on Thursday. A rumored appearance at a Hubert Sumlin club date did not occur. Hubert was also an anticipated guest at the Stones show, but he took ill and did not play.

The Stones took Milwaukee's Bradley Center tonight and they were as strong as ever. These guys should be rocking for a long time to come. There was a strange vibe in Keith and Ronnie's treatment of Mick tonight. The most blatant was that no one stepped up to introduce Mick after he had introduced everyone else. Ronnie and Keith also seemed to shun Mick when he wanted to jam with them during Some Girls. Keith refused to share center stage with Mick, if one was at the center, the other one was somewhere else. Mick also made eye contact with Keith but Keith seemed to turn away.

The music was incredible as usual, these guys are a very tight live band. The only exception was that Keith and Ronnie seemed almost absent during Some Girls (no leads.) I thought maybe their guitars weren't functioning properly, but the same guitars sounded fine on the next song Paint It Black. Chuck Leavell played a lead organ near the end of Some Girls. There was also a second guy playing piano or organ on two or three songs, he sang some backup too (Does anybody know who this is? [and what ever happened to Ian McLagan who played on the 1978 tour?])

Also, look for Mick's cool telecaster on Some Girls -- it had style. Tumblin' Dice featured the Ronnie-cam, I don't think this has been used since Voodoo Lounge.

Keith sounded great, his leads were incredible. Keith and Ronnie both played slide on You Got The Silver. And then Keith followed it up with Before They Make Me Run. As a long time Keith fan, I couldn't ask for anything more. I've been waiting 21 years to hear the Stones do Memory Motel & You Got The Silver and tonight I heard them both.

Keith also accidently hit a cameraman with a tossed cigarette on the big stage, then later threw a cigarette which landed on Charlie's tom tom drum at the small stage. Charlie just laughed and handed it back to Keith as they were getting ready to play on the small stage. Keith and Mick were also throwing a lot of guitar picks(at the crowd, not each other.)

I didn't time the show, but the Stones played from about 9:45-11:15. Mick's voice was strong so I'm not sure why they played one song less than Fargo.

The opening act was Wide Mouth Mason. I had not heard these guys music but they came to play and really did earn the crowd's respect. The guitarist can really play and sing and the band was good. They had good songs(Rock & Roll and searing Blues.) If you have a chance to see these guys don't miss them.

Review by Charles Crookshank

Highlights of the show were: Paint it Black, You Got the Silver, Before They Make Me Run, and Midnight Rambler.

My seat was behind the stage, 3rd row of the upper bowl. The seats turned out to be much better than I thought they'd be. I was worried that I would only see the backs of the Stones but that was not the case. They did a good job playing to the whole crowd.

I can't wait til Chicago...

Review by Mark Lewinthal

If there was any question in anyones mind weather or not the Stones are too old for Rock and Roll they could of forgotten about it last night. It had been since April since I had last seen the Stones and was a bit disappointed with the show. It was good but the arena gave terrible sound. Milwaukee made up for all of that and a lot more.

The lights went out at around 9:20 and they played that video (Which I must say is the coolest intro to any concert I have ever seen) Keith popped up and the show was on. The Bradley Center accousitics were pretty good. The show was amazing. The highlights for me (which is most of the show actually) were Paint it black, Midnight Rambler, Before they make me run (great pick Keith) Just my Imagination, and Tumpling Dice. For me it was great to hear those oldies and rarities that were new to the Stones, for the crowd it was not.

Most of them sat down at least in my section during Memory Motel, and Some Girls. That is why I love the ending spirt of hit songs, true they may have been played millions of time, but that is when you really can get into the show because everyone else starts going nuts. All in all a great show proboly the best I have seen!

Review by David Hoon

Fantastic. The lights went down at 9:25 and the vid started. Nice build up and then Keef was sauntering downstage doing the opening riff to JJF. A pleasant surprise was being in an animated Milw crowd, they were definitely up for this show. As the Stones went through the beginning of the set, I thought Keef and Mick were getting along fine, especially during MM, when they chatted with each other during and after the song. No mention by either Keef or Ronnie about the last time they shared a stage in Brewtown (the semi-infamous New Barbarians show that resulted in an after show riot and a charity show by Ronnie).

We had seats about one section back on the lower level which afforded us a great view. The sound wasn't perfect, but everything else went well. Top songs would be You Got the Silver, Midnight Rambler and Sympathy (both songs hit a groove with the sudience), Sweet Virginia, probably the best Tumbling Dice I've seen and Out of Control. When did Bobby come back on the tour?

The show finished up at 11:15; a great set, but the ticket prices seemed to beg for a few more songs. Stripped down like this, however, the boys showed they still have the title. Truly a rock experience.

Review by J P Slater

Okay...let's get to the good stuff right away: the band was lean, mean, and very loose...this was a long way from the mega-excesses and staging/choreography of the stadium shows. Long pauses between songs while Mick got a drink, or someone changed their shirt or whatever; several times between songs Ron or Keith would hand off their guitar to one of the crew and, while waiting for another one, would simply wander the stage, waving at the crowd, joking with Lisa and Bernard--I always have to laugh to see someone *that* relaxed in front of 18,000 people (by the way, just short of a sell-out at the Bradley Center.)

Keith's songs tonight were 'You Got the Silver' and 'Before They Make Me Run.' 'Silver' was absolutely beautiful...Keef on a stool playing slide on an acoustic guitar, and I really can't remember when his voice ever sounded better--warm and mellow. Before he handed off his guitar, he went down on one knee at the edge of the stage and kissed it... 'Before They Make Me...' was the Keith we've all come to know and love: heavy on the riffs, accompanied by his 'haphazard' vocalisings.

Charlie was absolutely killer tonight! I've seen other people here mention how hard he hits the skins--tonight I realized how true that is. Of course, it's not just his muscle on the kit, but his groove as well. He threw in some great fills (during Live w/ Me, for instance) and really propelled the band all night. Keith spent quite a bit of time in front of Charlie's kick drum, the two of them locked into one of their telepathic, chugging grooves. As at past shows, Chawlie gets a wild ovation during the introductions.

Ron continues to enjoy his role as the comic foil to Keith's gypsy pirate--always there when you need him, cigarette and Looney Tunes grin intact. Towards the end of the show, a mini-cam was fixed to the headstock of his guitar for a giddy look down the fretboard...

Mick...well, what can you say? He *never stops moving*--just keeps throwing that little pipe-cleaner body all over the stage, pointing, clapping, mugging, jiving, and egging the crowd on to greater and greater heights.

Now...the not-so-good stuff: my only real complaint was the erratic sound in the Bradley Center. (Two caveats here: this was my first concert at the BC, and our seats were in the second tier at the back of the arena.) The sound went from crystal-clear (during 'You Got the Silver') to indistinct rumbling (the B-stage set, where Mick's voice and the guitars were, at times, barely audible.) I'd be interested in hearing from others who had seating in other areas--did you have the same sound problems?

Nit-picking: the over-long 'Sympathy for the Devil' encore seemed anti-climactic.

All in all, a rockin good time...the stripped-down stage is great...the focus is all on the band and the music. Go see the won't be disappointed. To quote a friend: 'It's a great time to be a Stones fan!'

Review by Joy Willbrandt

In an earlier review of the show at the Bradley Center, Bob Dwyer said that he felt there was a strange vibe with Keith & Ronnie against Mick. I didn't get this impression at all. In fact just the opposite. After Memory Motel, Mick and Keith engaged in a playful shoving match that ended in a "guy" hug (one arm hug). In another part of the show, Mick was wailing away on the harp, when Keith approched him, and walked a circle around Mick, in what seemed to me, in a sort of admirition. They both walked away smiling. However, like Bob, I too noticed Ronnie walk away whenever Mick approached him. But from my seat, it seems that all is well with the "twins".

Review by Ed Latek

First of all, let me say that I am a Stones fan through and through. I have seen them 10 times over the years, and my admiration continuously grows for them.

I was extremely anxious to see them play in a "quaint" hall like the Bradley Center. I was counting on fantastic acoustics and a very memorable show. What I got in return was lousy sound for $100!!!

JJF sounded pretty good, Keith's guitar slashing and dicing the air. However, Live With Me and Respectable sounded bloated and bass heavy, with Ronnie's and Keith's leads inaudible. YGMR and HTW sounded a little clearer, and I thought maybe the sound was still being worked on. Then Paint It Black started and all you could hear was Charlie's pounding and a giant wall of confused sound- you could not hear guitars at all. By now, I am a little mad. The vocals on Sweet Virginia sounded horrible. Mick sounded like he was singing through a mega-phone the cops use to communicate with would-be jumpers!

Now it was time for the B-stage. I was counting on this part of the show to come through and knock me on my ass. Oooops! Didn't happen. The sound was horrible! Why? The only speakers that were being used were the ones on the actual B-stage! You cannot fill a 20,000 hall with two speakers!!! Now I know what it sounded like back in the early to mid-Sixties. Sure, the Stones were playing incredibly, no doubt, but the poor acoustics depressed me. It seems the only folks who enjoyed the B-stage were those seated directly around the stage.

So now I am thouroughly pissed off at the Stones' sound guy- how did this moron get the job? The Stones head back to the main stage and dive into Tumblin' Dice. Sounded great. Louder, clearer, more guts in the sound. Mick's vocals are perfect and the guitars are audible. Best IORR I have ever heard. The show ended on a strong note, but it was too late. If they only had corrected the sound early in the show. Oh well. Time to pull out my bootlegs.

Review by Paula Martin

Well, after months of looking forward to this show, I'm feeling let down now that it's over. (Thank goodness I get to go to two more shows.) My seats were in sect. 213, row R, on the left side of the Bradley Center with a good site line to the main stage and a great view of the B stage, since it was pretty much right down in front of us.

My only complaint about the show was the poor sound throughout. I agree with JP's review on the IORR webpage in that YGTS was very clear (the best sound quality the whole night) and that the B stage set had especially poor sound quality. Route 66 was practically unintelligible at the beginning and didn't get much better. I would have to say that the sound at this show could not even come close to either of the '94 and '97 MGM Grand concerts or even of the Carrier Dome (Syracuse, NY) last April. I'm not technically knowledgeable with sound terms, so to put it simply, I thought the lyrics were hard to understand most of the time and that there was too much bass, or "muddiness," if you will.

That said, I must repeat what others have said about the video intro being the coolest way imaginable to begin a concert! In the Milwaukee Journal review, it says the following: "The show opens in a case study of dilapidated delinquency. The TV projection screen shows the four Stones in black and white strolling four abreast down a long backstage corridor toward the stage. They have the determined stride and implied menace of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday marching toward the OK Corral. Everybody's in black and their eyes are hidden behind dark shades. The message is clear. These are the gunslingers to beat."

I enjoyed hearing Paint It Black, Some Girls, Sweet Virginia, and especially Midnight Rambler live. I loved it when Mick actually did the "tippy-toe" part! YGTS was worth the price of my ticket- absolutely beautiful. As Joy said on the IORR webpage, I, too, loved it when Mick and Keith put an arm around each other after Memory Motel and also when at one point keith went over to play his guitar next to Mick, as he was wailing away on his harp.

I must say, too, that I will never get tired of hearing Tumbling Dice and Honky Tonk Women, just because these are two of my very favorites. I did miss hearing Gimme Shelter, even though I knew they weren't going to do it this time around. I could do without Brown Sugar, It's Only R & R, and Start Me Up at this point, in favor of things like 19th Nervous, If You Can't Rock Me, Hand of Fate, Crazy Mama, One Hit to the Body, etc. etc. However, I'm still thankful for the opportunity to hear whatever the Stones do in concert!

Lastly, I just want to say thanks to all of the band and supporting cast for continuing to provide us Stones fans with memorable evenings that we will cherish always. Mick and Keith, thank you for the best music EVER created! You two are truly incredible musical artists and geniuses for the ages. We can never thank you adequately for the wonderful and special gifts you give us over and over again whenever we hear your music. God bless the Rolling Stones.

Review by Jonathan Mertz

Still recovering from the arduous journey to Milwaukee -- feeling, in fact, like I've been run over by a bus. Nonetheless, I will not shirk my duty to intrepidly report the facts.

I still haven't seen the film which opens the show -- you can't see it from the front row. (I am NOT complaining!) The band hits the stage looking every bit like the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band - except for the ever-dapper Mr.Watts, all were in black leather jackets and ultra-skinny black pants, Mick & Keith in shades. Although complaints about the set-list are accurate - not nearly as adventurous as we'd hoped, at least not yet -- this is clearly a tour which aims to strip away the artifice of past extravaganzas and prove beyond ANY doubt that the music is first and foremost in importance. And the music is raw, primal, unforced. This is not a band which is trying to recapture its glory days by rote. There's nothing slick or calculated or forced about it, just a band with no peers delivering the goods. In-your-face openers JJF and Live With Me have all the fury they had in 1969, with the added perk of being in tune -- something which was not always the case with Mick Taylor.

Woody, who was ten feet away from me most of the night, did seem subdued at first. I read this not as a sign that he's burnt out; rather that he's been stung by the constant barrage of unwarranted bitching and whining. He performed at first with eyes closed, focused on his playing. I took advantage of my proximity to cheer him on, and he did indeed come to life as the show went on. AND I noticed that the ovation he got during band intros was tremendous. His stage volume is too low, in my opinion, but that's my ONLY complaint about him. He's overshadowed, but then again he's standing next to MICK JAGGER and KEITH RICHARDS, fer crissakes!

The Glimmer Twins -- the two greatest living embodiments of everything I hold dear in rock & roll -- are both healthy as horses, and not only sound great but LOOK great up close. The lines and wrinkles which leap out of photos are not apparent when they're playing - the music erases them. And the two of them are genuinely enjoying each other's company more than they have in decades. Keith's vocal parts in Memory Motel were the occasion of an hilarious onstage exchange - Keith comes forward to deliver his lines from Mick's center-stage mike, and as always, is greeted by a roar of approval from the crowd. Mick stands off to his right with his back to the audience, his arms crossed, haughtily playing the wounded diva. This was done for the benefit of the band - we couldn't see his expression, but I noticed Woody and Charlie both cracking up. When the song ended, Keith, laughing hysterically, pointed up at the audience and said (I gathered) something like "see, they like me better!" Both laughed, leaning against each other. It was a great moment.

Much has been made lately of the fact that there's an on-stage teleprompter. This is NOT unusual - bands have been using them for years. Funny thing is, neither Mick or Keith ever looks at it! I could read it easily from where I was. I only noticed it being turned on for "Some Girls" and "You Got The Silver", and the boys butchered the lyrics to both of them! In the case of "Some Girls", I think one of the major factors in lyrical revision is the fact that Mick's daughters were there. He didn't deliver the song with the venom which has been described elsewhere. And don't get me wrong about "Silver" - it was ragged, seemed at times ready to fall apart, verses were repeated, AND it was absolutely a major highlight of the show. Keith's other tune was "Before They Make Me Run", and it sounded better than I've ever heard it.

The second stage set is UNREAL. Midnight Rambler is performed NOT as a well-rehearsed set-piece, but rather hinges entirely on Keith & Charlie double-clutching & shifting gears manually. The band keeps constant eye contact with each other. The result is totally organic rather than synthetic -- it's them actually PLAYING THE SONG. Hard to describe but incredible. Worth the price of admission by itself.

Actually the whole night had this organic element. As much as I hoped they would shelve the warhorses, they played the shit out of every one of them. Start Me Up and IORR in particular were great. They are very much a BAND this tour.

A BAD thing about front row seats - I could've taken one great photo per second if not for the fact that two security guys were in my face constantly. I had two disposable cameras with me. When they went to the second stage, I followed, easily got fairly close, and took 15 or 16 photos. Then I waited until they were taking their final bows and got the other camera out. I figured that the security guys would relax since the show was over, and even if they decided to be pricks, they wouldn't get the pictures I'd already taken. I took another dozen photos of the final bows. Charlie had a bright red ring of lipstick on his right cheek from Lisa, a big sheepish grin, and held a single rose in his hand. Several times during the evening I had noticed that Charlie's expression was different from other tours - rather than looking bemused or stone-faced, he had an expression that, without looking the least bit arrogant, made it obvious that HE was driving the plane. He was absolutely MAGNIFICENT all night.

Another bad thing about front row seats --It was actually hard for me to come to grips with what I was seeing. It was UNREAL. I'm glad there are more shows in my immediate future. But rest assured: the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band is still, without any doubt, THE ROLLING STONES.

Review by Jeff Ingraham

All of the reviews I have read have been pretty accurate. The sound was not quite there, but the Stones were. They played great. Sweet Virginia knocked me on my ass. Exhile is definately my favorite album and to hear this song really made me happy. I looked forward to "Silver" all night long, and I was not let down. The sound really cleared up on this one. I was facing the stage, and almost to the back of the balcony. It almost seemed like they just turned the volume up a couple notches a split second after Keith started strumming. That had to be one of my favorites. The greatest hits ending was actually very impressive. I agree totally with the reviews on Tumblin' Dice. It was the best version I've ever heard. Midnight Rambler had to be the best song of the night. This one is really something to see from the b-stage. It was really like a small club atmosphere, despite the fact that there were nearly 18,000 people there.

Here's where my story turns grim. I'm only 21 years old. I've only been a Stones fan for a few years. However, I would like to consider myself a die-hard Stones fan. I've bought over forty cd's, videos, all kinds of bootlegs and so forth. When I pay a ticket broker a fairly good sized hunk of money (keep in mind I'm only 21 so I'm not exactly Bill Gates), I'm going to go to the concert and have a good time. I'm not talking about getting so drunk that I can't see straight, all I mean is if I want to stand for a moment or dance to a song, I'm going to do it. I truly love the Stones. And I realize that seperates me from the passive concert goer. But that doesn't mean that I should have to sit through an entire show that I have been very eagerly awaiting for months. Heres the story: Houselights go on, the video starts. People all over the arena are going crazy as the three cups of flat Miller Lite everyone has had starts to kick in. I'm standing, I'm yelling. Keith comes out with a bone to pick as he starts driving away the opening riffs of JJF. This sounds like every Stones fans dream come true right? That is until a rather large man diagnol from me grabbed the top of my head and shoved me straight down into my seat.

This is the point in which one person ruined my entire night. I don't want to do anything rash back to him, because the last thing on earth that I want is to get kicked out of the show. I think that this is just a case of the Stones concerts becoming a spectacle for people to be able to bragg to their co-workers that they went to instead of being a group of Stones fans there to have a great time and enjoy what I still view as a great show. Some of you may be thinking that I'm just a young punk and that I probably deserved it in one way or another, but the truth is I was standing up for the opening song. Is that weird to some people now? Have the rules changed since a month ago when I last attended a concert? When someone grabs my head at a Rolling Stones concert and shoves me into my seat during the opening song, that is when I want to go outside and make sure everything wasn't red and dusty. Because I thought for sure that I was on Mars. I guess I'm just venting, but I would like some feedback on this issue. Am I in the wrong? Did anyone else notice the people in the first twenty rows sitting down through most the show? I still enjoyed the show, but it was constant bickering and shooting comments back and forth for the rest of the time. All I want to know is what are other peoples opinions on this.

This is the best part however, my friends and I ended up winning the battle. The five people that were seated behind us left as "Sympathy" started to play. The only good thing that came out of what happened was that it's forcing me to go see the boys in Chicago now. You know, because after what happened in Milwaukee, I just have to see them again!!!!

Review by Marv Sutton

I've been a stones fan for 34 years, and this was about my 20th stones show in the past 30 years... and milwaukee continues to be the worst place i've been to see a good concert, even the stones. i got BACK row seats a couple of sections down on keith's side in the lower level so that we could stand, feel, and move for the whole show. fortunately, our section was up and showing their enjoyment, but much of the crowd was less involved.

I agree with earlier reviews of the irritations of sharing this with such a sit down crowd.... too much beer and cheese? for those who do enjoy standing and showing appreciation for such a great show, go down to chi on march 26 or april 12...(detroit three nights after milw was al so a major contrast - good crowd). by the way, this is not specific to the stones in milwaukee, as they hardly stood at all during a tremendous show by john fogerty when he was there a couple of summers ago.

As for the show.... it took the first four songs to get the best sound where we were at, but after that, it was very clear, and a good mix. 'sweet virginia' was when it really kicked into high for us. 'paint it black' was excellent, and 'tumblin dice', not one of my usual favorites, was the best version i've heard, seemingly a little sharper and quicker paced. charlie was really on. it was also great to see bobby back there, as i'd heard that he wasn't with them earlier in the tour. keith sounded as clear as i've heard him. this was my first show of the security tour, and 'silver' more than lived up to my high expectations. he was also outstanding on 'before they make me run' and during 'memory motel'. looking back,however, the highlight for us had to be 'midnight rambler' on the small stage.....what a high!

As my friend who has shared the 30 years with me states every time we leave, they never let us down. I am so appreciative to have more shows to see, and family and friends to share it with. While i missed 'shelter', 'sympathy' was a great way to leave..... 'whoo, whoo...'

The Milwaukee press:

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.

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