It's Only Rock'n Roll
Before Saint of Me, Mick called attention to the fact that there were extra cameras filming tonight and then said, “So if you go crazy ….” This did in fact seem to get the crowd into the song and it was a spirited version approaching yet not equal to what I saw in Cleveland. The band intros seemed especially loud and long tonight, like a big expression of appreciation for the whole tour if not the entire Rolling Stones’ career. Keith did a fantastic job bursting this sentimental bubble when before his two songs he said, “This may be the last show for a bit, but we’ll be back!” No lifetime achievement awards tonight—we were again reminded as we have been so many times on the No Security tour: this is a working, ongoing band. This point was brought home nicely as Keith did a pair of songs from the Babylon album: Thief In the Night and You Don’t Have to Mean It. One unnoticed treasure of the show is Bobby Keyes’ sax on Thief in the Night: it really gives the song body and allows Keith to roam around as a front man.
On the B stage, the Stones stuck with the favorites theme, doing Get Off of My Cloud for the middle song. Midnight Rambler was as good as ever, and a word to my European friends who haven’t seen it since Steel Wheels: wait until you see this year’s model! It is more rocking, more bluesy, more dramatic than ever from the small stage. Look forward to Midnight Rambler in particular!! The B stage concluded with a comical scene as Keith received a very large basket of flowers on the walkway while going back to the main stage, and then decided to bring it back to Mick, who was busy still running around the B stage taking photographs of the crowd. Mick did not see Keith for a few moments, so Keith had to chase him around the stage while carrying the large basket. Finally Mick was caught and the flowers were delivered.
The last five songs flew by, as the crowd was still riding the crest of the frenzy started on the B stage. Mick worked as hard with the band as he did the crowd, dancing and provoking each member to get into the party even more. When the streamers flew at the end of Brown Sugar the building was a Rock and Roll madhouse. I hoped we might get a two song encore like we did in Oakland, but it was not to be as Sympathy for the Devil closed the show and the tour. A surprise tonight would have been nice, but thinking back to the cancelled shows in January really heightens my appreciation for the band, and the tour. After Bridges concluded in the U.S., no one could really have expected another tour so quickly. Then came the lovely overindulgence of No Security, giving us another chance to appreciate the travel, the excitement, and the music all over again. Seeing those familiar black and yellow stripes along the highway or on an airplane wing will forever remind me of the great times during the last three months.
Start time: 9:35 p.m. End time : 11:40 p.m.
The set list:
I want to personally thank the Stones for the fun times I had attending the concerts, "Thank Ya Very Much"! Great crowds too, overall, a great experience, thanks again to all the Stones and Company!
The local rock radio station really hyped the listeners up on this, the last day, of the NO SECURITY Tour, (I had my doubts though) because they announced that the Stones would pull out all the stops, (since this was the last show) and that we fans were in for many a treat, (songwise)!
Well the "treat" didn't happen, but the show was fine. The "San Jose - One" concert was much better, but there were still happy fans who left the arena after it was all over.
GIMME SHELTER hit it's mark with Lisa and Mick doing a great job of it. MOONLIGHT MILE also was a winner and I figured we would get this one, since we heard I GOT THE BLUES last night.
Keith did THIEF IN THE NIGHT and YOU DON"T HAVE TO MEAN IT, both were really good for a last show version, I'm so glad to have heard YDHTMI once again, thank you, (it was up for a turn anyway)!
The B-stage got GOOMC again. MR was too short for my liking, sometimes though, it just seems longer to me. SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL appeared to be cut short, but perhaps not. I just didn't want the night to end, I guess, and this was the reason for these songs appearing as if they were shorter versions??? Anyone else think so?
A bit of "newsy stuff" from the local classic rock" station, this day and before the last show of the tour: Announcer: "What did you think of the first makeup concert for San Jose"? Man: "I felt that the Stones phoned in the entire show." Announcer: "Why so"? Man: "At one point, Richards took a cigarette break and stopped playing completely. You'd think, that a guy who makes a million a minute, would show more effort then that! For the money I paid, I expect more from him and the rest of the Stones."
That's one person's opinion, but I have seen all of the NO SECURITY shows on this tour and I disagree with the man above, on this particular night anyway, The first show was a lot better than the second one and I hope this person was able to attend both and compare them! I mean, Keith, always has done what the man describes above, I doubt if anyone else took notice of it. Hey, "it's a Keef thing," ya know what I mean?
Thanks again Stones, for The NO SECURITY Tour, much appreciated, thank you for your hard work! You all are simply great!
First, on Monday night the sound was HORRIBLE. I was seated about 2/3 of the way bach in the lower level, near the B stage, and we could not hear hear anything clearly. The opening notes of JJF were muddy, the mix was poor, and we could not believe our ears. After the somewhar unisnpired version of Respectable, I decided to find a place directly opposite the stack of spaeckers suspended on stage right. Louder, but not clearer. I retreated to my original position to wait it out until the Stones would come B stage. Some adjustments se4emed to improve the mix slightly, but by the time we got to Some Girls, I couls not make out the lyrics. The B tsage was an improvement, and the last part of the set was improved, but still far below what you would expect from The Worlds Greatest Rock and Roll Band!!
However, the next night was simply awesome!! It was obvious to me that the sound crew had been working overtime. It looked as if different speakers had been udsed to for the PA, they looked like recycled B to B painted black from the original gold paint. The song selection was outstanding, including a great Bitch, Gimmee Shelter, Moonlight Mile, and a jammed out Midnight Rambler. It was the longest version of the song I had seen on the tour!!. Well, it is sad to see the guys leave the U.S., especially after seeing the first and last shows of the tour. Nice to meet some of you at the Trials Pub, I hope to see my new friends in Europe, especially Imst!!
The lights go down, the video comes on and for the 34th (and last) time in 3 months Keith bangs out the beginning of JJF and we're on our way. Someone made the comment in an earlier review that the show goes by fast when you know the set and it's very, very true. On the positive side, I was glad to get in some tunes I didn't get early in the tour, Bitch and Gimme Shelter. Bitch stomps with the horns blasting it along and Gimme Shelter has been a favorite of mine since it first came out. And Lisa does a great job. Incidentally, this was my first time on Ronnie's side of the stage. And it's amazing how much fun Lisa and Bernard have. They're a show unto themselves!
Without a doubt the highlight for me was my dash for the B stage. At the Sacramento shows, I didn't go for it, but I decided to give it a shot. I left my seat in the middle of Out of Control - Most good things come at some cost. I tried a couple of aisles and was discouraged by security ushers and then I had a clear shot. Somehow I found myself within 15 feet of the stage and amazingly close to the action! What a ball. Ronnie's daughter was right next to me enjoying the show she had seen at every stop and with good reason. The B stage show has the highest energy of the evening! As I said in my Sacramento reviews, Route 66 is a clinic in how to play a rock and roll song. Thank you Keith. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It doesn't get any better. Or does it?
Get Off of My Cloud is a treat, but then there's Midnight Rambler. What can I say? This song drives at high gear and then it goes into overdrive. And when then the get to the slow part, everyone is wrung out. The way this song moves from section to section really does match the drama and intensity of the lyrics. "Did you hear about the Boston... ! " Unreal. Sorry, I'm at a loss for words here. Just fantastic. The song revs up again and then it's over and the band is on their way back to the main stage and I'm on my way back to my seat.
By the time I get there, they've just started Tumbling Dice and we're into the last part of the show. Great high energy hits done great, but for me the peak was the B stage. Great Sympathy and it's over. As you can imagine, I'm still buzzing, my ears are still ringing and I'm so glad I went. Can't wait to see how my pictures come out! Great shows, great tour. The band's in peak form. Those of you who will be seeing the shows in Europe are in for a treat!
"Saint of Me", smoked and "Some Girls" was menacing and PC. "Paint It, Black" took us all the way back to '66. Brian would have been so proud. Once again during the intros, Charlie got the biggest ovation. Everyone knows that he is the glue. "Thief In The Night" was Memphis slow and sweet and Keef sounded so good. "You Don't Have To Mean It" took us to the land of Kingston and Red Stripe beer. "Out Of Control" was really out of control, it sounds better and better.
Some James Brown funk took the fellas to the B stage, "Route 66" was sloed down a notch but it still sounded like a early 60's version of the Stones. I closed my eyes and I was in high school again. "Get Off My Cloud" took me back to December '65 at the Sports Arena. "Midnight Rambler" was mean and when the stage turned a hellfire red glow it got meaner.
After the B stage, it was time for the fossil medley. We have all heard these songs many, many times but on some nights it is like hearing them for the first time and last night was one of them. It is spine tingling hearing the crowd sing along on "It's Only Rock 'n Roll and "Brown Sugar", man it always moves me. Because at that we and Stones are one. Sounds corny but it's true. Last night after Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie took their, the last two to leave were Mick and Charlie. Mick was holding Charlie's hand and Charlie was smiling. Anyway, it was a great show and great tour, wasn't it SHERM? Now I can't wait until the next tour. A million thanks to IT'S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL for keeping everyone hip to what's going on with the Stones. Thanks to the Stones, it has been some 30 odd years.
In the San Jose Arena - where the Sharks glide across a solid slab of ice during the hockey season - a tank-topped and tattooed Sugar Ray, clad in black leather pants and stylish platform shoes was all fired-up about openeing the show for what he called, " The Greatest F.....Rock'n'Roll Band in the World - The Rolling Stones !" Sugar Ray was really into paying his respects to this legendary Band which gave him the gig of a life-time.
Youthful Sugar Ray, built like an all-American pro football star, bounced up and down with an energy and exhuberance that matched a much older Mick Jagger's. Sugar Ray's dream to be a rock'n'roll star came true in a big way and the over-confident front man made sure he shared his good luck with the San Jose fans, to whom he was especially grateful for hearing him out before the Stones came on.
"Come celebrate with us," seemed to be Sugar Ray's motto tonight as he stuffed his mike behind his waistband and strutted about the stage. Sugar Ray had finese and smooth moves, perhaps inspired by Mick Jagger's own James Brownsian on-stage blend of slow-motion Tai Chi and vigorous, all-stops-out step-aerobic routines.
"God bless you guys. Thanks for having us. Take care of yourselves !" were Sugar Ray's sweet parting words. Rock'n' rollers, like the music they make, can be like that: brash, seemingly callous and tender-hearted/ sentimental like the two sides of a coin kids flip up in the air to see who's got tails or heads.
The house lights went on and taped Van Morrison music marked the time til the Stones took the stage. Fans wandered in and out, and up and down the aisles, holding their beers, hot dogs, popcorn, -- their grub and their drinks so much a vital part of their night out with the Stones. Their cigarettes. Their highs, both natural and artificially or chemically induced.
After a while you had the feeling that the Rolling Stones were due on stage any minute. You could feel the excitement mounting. The act they were waiting for was about to make their entrance. Recorded drum rolls signalled that something was up -- something fabulous was coming. The suspense got people edgy in just the right way.
At 9:35 the house lights went out and loud cheering greeted the much-awaited arrival of the band. Keith Richards -- the engine room of the S.S. Rolling Stones - walked straight onto the stage like a pirate walking the gang-plank. Close on his heels, his mate of many many years, the one-and-only, Mister Mick Jagger. The band was sinking its collective teeth into "It's all right, in fact, it's a gas. Jumpin' Jack Flash is a gas, gas, gas. with Mick sporting shades, the very picture of cool, as he sang about "spikes right thru my head," a Biblical reference to the rude crown of thorns Jesus was made to wear, giving Easter its name.
The final show of their North American No Security was underway and Jagger relaxed by slipping off his leather jacket, and in true gypsy cabaret-style, casting it aside. What a trophy it woulda been had it landed smack-dab in the outstretched hands of an adoring front-row fan. No dice. The jacket lay in a heap that a stage-hand quickly scooped up and hung back up on the Mick Jagger ward-robe rack behind stage.
Between songs, Mick apologized to the San Jose fans for having had to cancel the earlier scheduled concerts: I was flat on my back ( with a bout of flu ), he said. I appreciate your coming back. Spoken with true showmanship, and endearingly.
"You Got Me Rocking" was next. Mick was a "butcher cutting the meat." He was a "boxer who had lost his spring." He was a "tycoon drowning in debt." Pretty soon he was down to a poured-on T-shirt and a young man's waist, taking frequent sips to lubricate those full-steam-ahead vocal chords working away non-stop. It was hot inside the San Jose Arena as Mick paused to wipe the sweat off his face with a white terry-cloth towel. He was putting himself through his customary paces and readied himself for the long haul of a given night's show.
After a fast and furious start, the Stones slowed things down with a soulful rendition of "Moonlight Mile," with Mick hitting admirable, emotion-filled high-notes as he strummed an acoustic guitar. "Don't the night passs slow ?" he sang. Well, the trick in a show of this magnitude is to make the night pass rather quickly.
Did the Stones pull it off tonight ? Well, they tried. They did their thing, to be sure. But with the same intensity and feeling of a truly inspired show ? That's another matter. And I'm not writing to clobber the Stones. Let's put it this way. Human limits and capacities stretched to the breaking point even apply to a great band like the Rolling Stones. They are bound by them just like the rest of us ticket-holding arm-chair mortals. At some point, you relax. You don't fight the ocean. You just rock with it and try to come out alive. And that's what the Stones were doing tonight. Why kill yourself ? Why go all out ? Never squander all your fire-power and artillery. Hold some in reserve. Go oout there and do a respectable job and send everyone home satisfied and glad they got a chance to see ya. That seemed like the game-plan tonight. Afterall, the Stones owed San Jose a couple of shows and they were back in town to deliver the goods.
During the show I was struck by how hard it must be to keep things fresh and alive in the course of a 2 hour+ show after another. To their credit, they do really try to give the best show possible, but life being what it is, has its imperfect, down-time moments. And this nothing to get all upset about. It's a formidable challenge for them to make every event feel virginal and gloriously unpredictable. There was no aura of drudgery around what they were doing. The concert came across as a combination of work and play that Herman Melville found in the very best artists. If truth be told, everyone was working their butts off to put on a terrific, memorable show.
"Good night !" Mick says. "You've been great. God bless you !" The house lights go out and the arena is pitch black. Somebody in the audience is pointing a red squiggly laser beam across the empty darkened stage. Fans are cheering and calling out for more. "Sympathy for the Devil" is what they get. "Pleased to meet you, hope you know my name - whooo - whooo - whooo - whooo ."
Back to the Bible: "made sure the Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate." Blondie Chapman is shaking a maraca gourd expertly. " Just call me Lucifer, I'm in need of some restraint." Blondie switches the maraca for a tambourine which he beats close to Charlie's drum kit, keeping great time to the howl of the chorus and the steady pounding bass drum.
The show's over. The house lights come on and all the musicians and performers take their bows. It's 11:45 as Keith descends first into the pit only to reappear clad in a long wizard-like bathrobe, waving good-bye to the fans. Then Mick - Orpheus descending - makes his exit too. Fans file out at all angles, full of memories of tonight's show.
Thanks to Ted Saxlid, D Lipple 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 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe