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Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: john lomax ()
Date: February 22, 2020 11:09

I love the Stones live and their stage designs are usually the best. However there have been a few bad ones. These are the most disappointing in my view:

1. The original 14 on Fire stage that was used in Abu Dhabi and Tokyo. Imagine being at the Tokyo Dome, which has had all the great stages from Steel Wheels onwards to be faced with this cheap and nasty design.

2. The El Cheapo version of the Bigger Bang stage that went to Australia and South America. This stage looked horrible and as far as I can tell they only bothered to bring half the light show with them.

3. The Urban Jungle stage. Not bad but a bit lame compared to the full Steel Wheels stage

That's it. I love the rest of them.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: Nikkei ()
Date: February 22, 2020 11:19

The 2012-14 Tongue stage wasn't half as great as it probably looked in theory. It was a design that really only made sense in the hours leading up to the show. When the upper lip was deflated, it just looked like a toilet bowl. When they used it in combination with the hexagonal screen ornaments in late 2014, it stopped making any sense altogether.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: jahisnotdead ()
Date: February 22, 2020 16:09

I think it was the Bigger Bang tour stop in Atlanta that had virtually no set at all, just a backdrop with an audience painted on it. I assume that's the El Cheapo John was talking about.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: straycatuk ()
Date: February 22, 2020 16:42

I think they had to redesign the Steel wheels stage for the smaller stadiums of Europe and the fact that most of the shows where performed in daylight or dusk so the Urban Jungle was more visible for that with less lighting.

sc uk

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: TornAndFried ()
Date: February 22, 2020 17:51

The stage used at Altamont was interesting in its minimalist concept but ultimately proved to have some design flaws.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 2020-02-23 11:46 by TornAndFried.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: flairville ()
Date: February 22, 2020 18:31

This was probably the arena stage which was basic but more than served its purpose IMO.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: flairville ()
Date: February 22, 2020 18:32

Reference Atlanta!

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: More Hot Rocks ()
Date: February 22, 2020 19:43

78 or 81

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: muncy23 ()
Date: February 22, 2020 19:59

The Tounge arena stage in 12-13 was not good at all IMO.
The 14-16 Stadium tour was not great. Looked kinda cheap

I thought the Licks tour had BY FAR the best arena stage. Stadium Stage was great too.

No Filter stage is awesome. Perfect for what they are doing!

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: Elmo Lewis ()
Date: February 22, 2020 20:06

More Hot Rocks
78 or 81

I really liked 81

"No Anchovies, Please"

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: mosthigh ()
Date: February 22, 2020 21:24

I thought the Bigger Bang tour had a great stage design, with everything kind of visually playing off the stage itself.

The one tour I thought they kind of goofed, was 2012-13 when they had the huge screen directly behind them, overshadowing them, and sucking their stage energy.
Somewhere along the way they switched to the diamond shaped screen and put it above them. Much better.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: StonedAsiaExile ()
Date: February 23, 2020 05:36

The '81 design was terrible, I thought. With that said, I still believe the '75 Lotus stage was the best ever. Better than anyone else as well. I've seen some 'cool' stage designs but the Lotus was just kicked ass. Simple, brilliant, and eye commanding.

That's just my humble opinion. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: SKILLS ()
Date: February 23, 2020 07:04

1995 Voodoo Lounge blew my mind, i'd never seen anything like it before or since (Life On The Road - has some great pic's of it)

1975 Was unreal, really imaginative and the reality of seeing them in the round must have been fantastic, I love the "From The Vault" release it's exhausting watching at 2hr's 25 min

Bigger Bang show in 2006 with the moving secondary stage was great the crowd went even more nuts when the embankment was basically front row

2014 was nothing special

1978 with the Outdoor shows was interesting, I kind like it

1981 Being a twilight show didn't have any Video Screens except for Seattle's in house system for the Supersonics, like they'd encountered earlier in 1978 at New Orleans. I think they missed a beat here, I understand the early start time was in response to the riot outside in New Orleans in 1978,70,000 nutjobs hocked on Ludes and Coke

1989 Unbelievable, just a meld of late 80's OTT Pomp & Industrial decay

40 Licks was a bit different with the screen technology, but the stage itself was nothing memorable

1997 Bridges to Babylon was a Baroque younger brother with a trick to Voodoo Lounge but set the tone for the future.

So i think that it comes down to 1995 & 1975 for me, they were both visually spectacular.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Date: February 23, 2020 09:15

The stage used at Altamont was interesting in its minimalist concept but ultimately proved to have some flaws.

Haha..thumbs up

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: February 23, 2020 12:31

I just looked back at the stage of the 1964 (see YouTube) "I'm Alright" rendition of the band. Stage? Who gives a damn. Those were The Rolling Stones in full essence! For me the best visual and musical output of any Rolling Stones concert. BANG! It still gives me goosebumps.
But don't get me wrong, I loved the VL stage with its exploding f*llus/dragon (you could really feel the heat!) as well as the BTB stage with it's meteorite impact and the floating bridge a lot.
And yes, the Abu Dhabi stage was a bit of a rip off. But no big deal.
smileys with beer

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: slewan ()
Date: February 23, 2020 17:14

to me all these stage designs are pointless. Put the band on a normal stage, erect some video screens (where necessary) and let the band play. The rest is simply nonsense

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: Sipuncula ()
Date: February 23, 2020 17:36

Most of them have been really good:

1975 Lotus Stage
Voodoo Lounge
Steel Wheels
Bridges to Babylon
1981-82 outside stage with the cool backdrop
The current one with 4 video screens
Anything with a B stage

Some not so memorable:

Urban Jungle
14 on Fire/On Stage, etc. with the toilet bowl pit.
Anything prior to 1975
I don't really like the Bigger Bang stage with the weird behind-the-stage balconies or the Licks Stage with huge thin vertical screens behind them.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: GasLightStreet ()
Date: February 24, 2020 02:36

I thought the BANG stage was their worst ever: a complete abomination.

The 1978 stage wasn't bad considering the technology was still a bit off but it was pretty damn ugly.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: StonedAsiaExile ()
Date: February 24, 2020 02:59

I thought the BANG stage was their worst ever: a complete abomination.

The 1978 stage wasn't bad considering the technology was still a bit off but it was pretty damn ugly.

Ah, yes the '78 stage. Simple. I did like it, nothing to distract you. Just the band.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: JordyLicks96 ()
Date: February 24, 2020 03:30

I guess it'd have to be the Bigger Bang stage for me. There's really not one I truly hate, but the Bigger Bang stage was definitely the weakest they've ever had.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: February 24, 2020 07:02

Here is another vote for minimalist stage. Just a stage, maybe a couple video screens (but it should be in an appropriately intimate venue), with some amplifier stacks and and a drum kit, and let them snarl like a tiger.

Funny about Altamont, post-industrial apocalyptic wasteland way before they had to pay to design a stage to mimic it. Strange world we live in.


Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: rbk ()
Date: February 24, 2020 16:40

The lips and tongue on the baby poop colored scrim in '78 was pretty ghastly. The A Bigger Bang stage appeared to be leftover pieces and parts from Bridges to Babylon, reconfigured. All beat up.

Re: Worst Stage Designs
Posted by: stevecardi ()
Date: February 24, 2020 16:48

1.) 1976 Earl’s Court Lotus Everything that’s been said about the Urban Jungle stage being a downgrade of a grandiose concept that shortchanged their fans of the great show the Americans got is true of this stage. I don’t know if it’s the maze pattern or the the blue and yellow lightbulbs on the outer edge of the stage rather than the neon lights from the ‘75 lotus, but the 1976 Earl’s Court lotus stage is horrible. Just horrible. Especially compared with the legendary and groundbreaking lotus stage they used a year earlier.

2.) 1975 Stadium stage the giant “tent.” I’m just not impressed with this one. Especially given the fact that this was the same tour as the legendary lotus stage. One year later, the Stones used a vastly superior stadium stage in Stuttgart, The Hague, Nice and Knebworth.

3.) Licks Stadium stage this one was just flat. It looks like an attempt to be a grandiose Steel Wheels stage yet minimalist at the same time.

4.) 1981 small stadium stage this is the smaller stage whose scrims were originally destroyed in Buffalo by the high winds. This is the stage that was used in Buffalo, Boulder, San Diego, Seattle, Orlando, Dallas, Cedar Falls, Pontiac, and Tempe. Compare this stage with the biggest one used in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and New Orleans. Despite being just 20 feet shorter, the flag and the car appear “clipped.”

5.) ABB cheap This goes without saying.

6.) 2014/2015 stadium This lead to the great minimalist stage we now have, but it really looks bizarre.


1.) Urban Jungle don’t ask me why I love this stage so much, because I honestly don’t know why. I just do. It’s tied with the steel wheels stage as my all time favorite.

2.) 1976 arena stage check out the videos from Paris 1976 to see the arena stage from that tour. It might not be as memorable as the lotus from 1975, but still a very cool and impressive one nonetheless. Its shape and concept looks like a combination of the 1972 royal dragon and the 1981 arena stage.

3.) 1998 ufo stage this is the arena stage they used in the arena shows of the B2B tour. Was used at MSG, Stockholm, Montreal, Prague, Chicago, Quebec City, and Portland. There seem to be very few pictures of this stage, but it’s a great one if you see it. Very exotic and, for lack of a better term, “organic.”

4.) 1972 Royal dragon that mirror and those spotlights alone were enough to make this stage legendary.

5.) 1973 Pacific stage with the majority of the Australian and New Zealand shows taking place outdoors, the mirror couldn’t be used. So the Stones added a catwalk on top of the amps for Mick to climb up on. A foreshadowing of things to come, and in a good way.

6.) 1969 stripped theater proscenium what the current No Filter stage is in terms of bringing a perfect sense of minimalism to concert spectacle in giant stadiums, the 1969 stage did to the indoors arenas. And just like today’s stage, it did with class.

Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 2020-02-24 17:00 by stevecardi.

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