It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show time 8:50 - 11:10
It was such a good show, I never got time to miss "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", but by the time they did Satisfaction, I knew it would not come tonight.
The crowd was great. Charlie had dressed in a great yellow T-shirt that matched perfectly his yellow Gretch drum kit.
Stray Cat Blues went into a big mess. When Darryl was doing the bass solo, it just started to float, and it never went on track again. Still I am impressed by the Stones; when a song is in such a chaos, they can still make it great.
Lisa came on stage for the first time on Sympathy For The Devil. She looked great with short hair, and to be honest, I did not really recognize here, looking so different, still the same dressing and same great voice of course.
During Tumbling Dice Mick walked all the way to the B-stage. The crowd loved it. Keith did his set, and very few people took the opportunity to sit down. Charlie tried to break down his drum kit during Thru and Thru; actually he started doing that already when Mick introduced him, grabbing his special large sticks and crashing the drums.
Gimme Shelter was one of the best versions I have heard ever, and it was the highlight of the night. The crowd loved it. Mick and Lisa were so close all through the song. When Lisa did her part it felt like the entire arena took off. And she just kept going, singing a great duet, or rather duelling, with Mick. That's the way to do it. And I hope they will do it again and again.
The rest was just a long run of winning songs. No song could have been taken away to be replaced by Can't You Hear Me Knocking. The show was long, around 2 hours 20 minutes, and the final bow was even longer, it felt, as the boys didn't want to leave tonight.
The Boston fans were so lucky to have their favorite band back in their city so soon after the tour opening here, and they paid back fully to the Stones. Nothing is like a 2nd show in a city, and this felt like another great 2nd show, even ikf it was the 4th on this tour, or at least the 2nd visit for the tour.
Was this the set list they might do for the MSG shows next week? Only time can tell...
PS. The new T-shirts are now listing both Budokan and Yokohama as shows in Japan, and for Europe the new T-shirts are listing Milan, Cologne, Zurich, Madrid, Barcelona, Prague, Belgrade, Zagreb among other cities. Don't trust it, as they have printed T-shirts with non-confirmed shows before, but this is a hint of what might come soon; more shows in Japan and Europe.
The evening had an exhilarating start, with You Got Me Rocking used as the opener (has that ever taken place before?�I don�t believe so). No back up vocals, just a lean, minimalist rock and roll start to the festivities. Start Me Up followed, with the crowd seemingly even more into it because of the incessant commercials on American television with Ford using the song. We should have known at Detroit�s Ford Field last October that when Mick mentioned the automaker�s zero percent financing, a Stones song promotion was soon to be underway! Be it lessons in music or economics, the Rolling Stones teach both well in equally enjoyable ways.
On If You Can�t Rock Me, Ronnie kicked in with piercing leads that were simply amazing in their aggressive nature timed with Mick�s vocals, as Keith laid down the rhythmic foundation. This live version was superior to the Mick Taylor studio work, and was the first hint that both Keith and Ron were hot tonight. The show�s declared theme was Beggar�s Banquet, leading to a lovely No Expectations, followed by an extremely powerful Stray Cat Blues with Mick using a politically and legally correct 19 as the girl�s age in the song (when he says he doesn�t want her I.D., I don�t think he�s carding for alcohol, is he?). Stray Cat Blues had an ultra cool featured bass part with Darryl Jones rising to the standard Keith and Ron had set for the night. Keith came over to play in front of Darryl, Charlie grinned from ear to ear, and it was awesome to see Darryl get a turn as the focal point of the band. Next was an intense Sympathy For The Devil with Keith�s rhythms and leads nothing short of astonishing. Like a master painter putting finishing touches on a canvass, like a chef garnishing a dish, Keith�s touch on each lead and chord was as close to perfect as you�ll ever see with a guitar player. The song concluded with Keith�s quick lead and Charlie�s drumming concluding at precisely the same time. A great ending to a familiar song played with extra grace and style tonight.
Keith�s songs were excellent, with Thru and Thru and Before They Make Me Run getting the complete attention of the crowd. Much to Boston�s credit, I noticed very little of the �Mick�s not on stage� bathroom exodus. The only slightly irritating element of the show was Ronnie coming forward to lead cheers during the part of Thru and Thru where Keith does the �fucking blues� line. It is a wonderfully lonely, bluesy line, and having Ron come forth to mug and wave his arms during Keith�s delivery just seemed kind of silly. But that was indicative of how good the rest of the evening was: Ron was a maniac, running all around, regularly making Keith laugh, and provoking Bernard, Lisa (who has a very nice new hairstyle), and Blondie. Ron also monologued to Charlie during It�s Only Rock and Roll on the small stage, with Charlie smiling and nodding like he was a therapist. While reacting to Ronnie�s clowning by taking the role of the unamused parent, Mick returned the joke on the final bows by lifting up Ron�s shirt and wiping Ron�s mouth. Most important in all of this: in the past Ron�s clowning seemed to substitute for his guitar playing, but tonight it seemed to compliment it. Ron Wood�s playing was great, and he was crazy all over the stage. This was the first Stones show in the 72 that I have seen where I thought how kick -ass some of the old Faces shows must have been.
Other highlights were Bitch with Keith embellishing his leads with extra notes and energy, and All Down the Line where Keith played a rhythm that would make a diesel sound like it lacked a beat. Midnight Rambler was also amazing, where Keith stretched his guitar parts beyond the versions played earlier on this tour and the sing along Boston line was an absolute rush.
While it is easy to get spoiled with the high quality of the shows on the LICKS tour, a night like this in Boston does amaze: Keith animated and all over, simply astonishing in his playing; the new Ron Wood, just as clownish as ever but directing that energy into his playing; Charlie glibly responding to this energy with his drumming; Darryl fitting into this scheme perfectly as on Stray Cat Blues, and Mick working this situation to the max, with the full knowledge and confidence that the band behind him makes not only music for Ford commercials, but the greatest Rock�n�Roll humankind has ever seen.
Tonight they Opened with You got me Rocking Nice Change, then right into Start me Up , If you cant rock me and Don't Stop holding there usual slots. Monkey Man was next I love this song but they should bring Lisa back into this. Then Came Beggars Banquet theme of the Night. NO expectations this is a real stones fan song and I bet only 10% of the crowd ever heard this song but they loved it. It had a beautiful Country twang to it not that funeral sounding of the Studio version, Ronnie great on the Slide. Next: Stray Cat was a big eye opener for a slightly slumbering crowd at this point.
Then came Sympathy and there was no stopping this train. I am not a big Fan of Bitch but I loved it tonight. Gimme Shelter, Gimme Shelter, Gimme Shelter!!!! this was the talk out in the Lobby after the show Lisa Lisa Lisa!!! I could see the goose bumps on people three sections away this was the best version I have ever seen. Every song was on the money tonight. This was an old-ball line up for the arena set-lists not so much what they played but the order they choose and it worked well.
NO Big Surprises It did not bother me or anyone else. I brought some first timers to this show, so to get a strong performance on all the Staples only vindicated me telling them that this would be the best show they ever saw. ( they now want to go to New york with me next week. My Sister Marianne a second string Stones fan 10 shows in her career got her wish Like a Rolling Stone. This works huge on the Small stage and they should use it more. We got 22 songs tonight even with the one encore, some shows have been slighted to 21. As I mentioned earlier I would love obscure all night but I loved everything they gave us tonight. Satisfaction was a blown them away version.
I know the real, real Stones Fans that frequent this site and did not see this show will question my sanity when I say." I live and die for Can't you hear me knocking and I could not shut up about this song to anybody who would listen. Guess what they did not play it and I wanted it Bad, but I will not complain at all this show was that good. Any review to the contrary is meaningless it tells me they were in a different building. These are the songs they played so wonderfully.
1. YOU GOT ME ROCKING 2. START ME UP 3. IF YOU CANT ROCK ME 4. DON'T STOP 5. MONKEY MAN ( BEGGARS BANQUET) 6. NO EXPECTATIONS 7. STRAY CAT BLUES ( BALLSEY) 8. SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL 9. BITCH 10. TUMBLING DICE INTROS 11. THRU AND THRU (KEITH) GREAAAAAAAAT 12. BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN (KEITH) 13. GIMME SHELTER !!!!!!!!! ( THE NUTS) 14. ALL DOWN THE LINE 15. MIDNIGHT RAMBLER 16. HONKY TONK WOWMAN (always a crowd pleaser) 17. STREET FIGHTING MAN (not played with the Beggars set but worked great in this slot) 18. SATISFACTION (specail Note) 19. IT'S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL ( b-stage) 20. LIKE A ROLLING STONE (b-stage) very good 21. BROWN SUGAR (b-stage) 22. JUMPING JACK ( ENCORE)
They kicked off with You Got Me Rockin', which I didn't think worked too well. Mick's manner wasn't too encouraging either. He seemed a bit unengaged. Maybe he was still feeling under the weather. Start Me Up followed, which got the crowd a bit more into the show, but not much more, surprisingly. I was feeling a bit discouraged.
If You Can't Rock Me was pretty awesome. I could finally hear Ronnie's wah wah playing on this tune, and he was great. The transition to Charlie's double time and Darryl's bass solo was on the mark for once. The crowd still wasn't feeling it too much though.
Monkey Man was the first song to start things picking up with the crowd. Mick must've realized he was gonna lose the crowd if he didn't start working a bit harder, and the crowd responded appropriately.
It was a Beggar's Banquet night, which I haven't caught yet, although I was hoping for Sticky Fingers. No Expectations was beautiful, just perfect. Mick sang great and Ronnie and Keith laid down some sweet leads.
Sympathy was the song that put them over the top with the crowd. Best version I've heard in a LONG time, going back to even Steel Wheels maybe. Keith's solo was really great for a change. It seemed extra long, and he stopped for a second, hunched over, and let loose with a tight fast flurry of notes at the end. It seemed like he really had to focus to pull it off, lending weight to the rumors that his arthritis is getting to him. Anyway, it hardly seemed to be affecting him tonight. He and Ronnie were soloing throughout the whole song, and they were both bouncing leads off each other like crazy. It was a nice guitar heavy version, and poor ol' Chuck got drowned out, heheh. The crowd went bonkers at the end and the band was obviously pleased. Their spirits and moods improved greatly from that point on.
Stray Cat was brilliant. Mick really put some bite into his lyrics, sounding a lot nastier than the other times I've heard it on this tour. There seemed to be a bit of a stumble with Darrly's bass solo, but they held it together and finished strong.
There was a problem with Keith's guitar during Tumbling Dice, and he went over and leaned against his cabinet, pretending to check his watch and laughing. When they got to "You got to ro...o...oll me..." and Keith's riffing wasn't there, Mick turned around and Keith just shrugged at him. The band kept going without missing a beat and Keith jumped back in no problem.
I finally got to hear Thru and Thru!!! I was so thrilled. Charlie beat the shit outta his drumkit on this one. I thought he was gonna pierce his snare he was pounding so hard. Great to see him in such a fun mood. Keith sounded strong and earnest. BTMMR was dead-on. I must be one of a handful of people on the planet to see Keith do this song twice without screwing up at all.
Gimme Shelter was probably the song of the night, along with Sympathy. Keith and Ronnie again played dual leads throughout, weaving perfectly. There were cool psychedelic effects onscreen. The crowd really liked Lisa alot, even before she started her solo, and she sounded ethereal as usual. I have to say, I've heard this song played so many times, and this was truly one of the best I've ever heard. Ronnie did some crazy solo trick, using all four of his fingers to tickle the bottom string on his guitar really fast. Never saw him do that before.
I was surpised to hear All Down the Line at this point in the set...I got three songs I've been dying to hear tonight (Bitch, Thru and Thru, All Down the Line). Unfortunately, the sound was still a bit muddy throughout the night, and Ronnie's awesome slide work was largely lost in the mix. Damn shame, cuz he was playing like a bastard on this song.
MR was tight as usual, with a much heavier, thicker guitar presence. Keith did some one-hand fret tapping beforehand. The crowd loved the Boston references, even though they're of an infamous nature.
The rest of the night was standard but great. The sound from the B-stage was kinda quiet. LARS was ok, but Mick kinda messed up his harp solo. I have to concur with most people that the song was a fun novelty but should be relegated to the ash heap. Brown Sugar and JJF brought the house down as usual.
This is the second time I've seen a Boston crowd push the band to new heights (1st being NS in '99). It's always an awesome phenomenon to see that transfer of energy between the crowd and the Stones. Overall, a great night, and the 2nd best out of the 4 I've seen on this tour. CYHMK was missed, but MR was fun, especially in Boston.
Still waiting for some new songs to be introduced though. Mixing up the song sequence was interesting at least. They should stick to SFM for the opener though.
But then the opening to Sympathy for the Devil started, and the FleetCenter began to tremble. Everybody loves this song. I was glad to hear Bitch finally on this tour, and they played it well I thought. Mick seemed extra rowdy during Tumbling Dice, walking all the way down the middle walkway, as well as playing to both sides of the stage. He had everybody clapping for this one.
Then another favorite part of the show for me, the Introductions and Keith's 2 songs. Once again, Charlie got the loudest and longest cheers of the night, in fact longer than I've ever seen before. I must admit I got really choked up at this point and was proud of my Boston brothers and sisters to recognize Charlie as being the main man of the band. Keith played Thru and Thru which I am really starting to love. I have noticed all throughout this Licks tour that Keith's two songs are not just bathroom/beer breaks for people waiting for Mick to come back, like it has been in past tours.
Again, Lisa stole the show during Gimme Shelter, which was another chill moment for me. Her solo does it to me every time. I heard All Down the Line at the Orpheum, so that was nice to hear again, and unexpected for sure! Midnight Rambler was great, another favorite of mine, although I figured that hearing that now would mean I would not get to hear Can't You Hear Me Knocking. Oh well. They have played both on only a few shows. Then it was the usual hits the rest of the way that the crowd knows and loves. I found it strange the huge ovation that Like a Rolling Stone got, considering it's not even a Stones song. They left the B-stage, waited a few minutes then back to the main stage for the closer, which comes all too quickly, Jumping Jack Flash with confetti floating all over the place.
Then my last chill moment of the night, the final bows, was the usual, first all the players, then just the four Stones, and then the ultimate chill for me, Mick and Charlie take one final bow before leaving. My 35th Stones show (possibly last ever??) will be the HBO show at MSG. I just hope I can survive it! Thanks guys!
I dont know if the stones inspired the crowd or vice versa, but the boys really put on a fabulous show at the Fleet Center. Keith attacked his guitar in such a twisted way I will never forget. Versions of Bitch , All Down the Line, Street Fighting Man, Midnight Rambler have never been better. I have gained so much more respect for Mick this tour, he is the consumate performer. Woody went nuts for us also, acknowledging us several times and high fiving us on the way to the b stage. The crowd was super this night, especially evident during like a rolling stone, even though I don't like it.
The Stones put on a super show and no one even mentioned that they are pushing 60, and most everyone felt they got their moneys worth, which is saying a lot. See you in MSG
Thanks to Axel Schumacher for great news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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