It's Only Rock'n Roll
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The set list:
This was the toughest ticket on the tour so far. Sadly many die hard fans cried their hearts out as they could not get a ticket to get in, only to see that many people left the show after just a few songs. They could tell their business associaltes they were out with The Stones last night. Life can be so unfair...
The Roseland Ballroom is an old theatre. Keith called it "a good room" as he performed his set of two songs. Mick seems to be fueled by the special crowds of these small theatre shows, as he went totally berserk when he performed "That's How Strong My Love Is". But let's backtrack a bit...
The Stones had been in New York City all week. As their hotel was just a few blocks away from the Roseland Ballroom on 52nd street between Broadway and 8th ave, they did the rehearsals like 5pm to 6pm, and then left, to return around 8:50pm. Meanwhile Johnny Lang and his band had performed their set as a warmup band from 8pm to 8:45.
It took longer than normal to prepare the stage. By 9:40 the waiting time was over, as they did "Start Me Up". The sound was strong and clear. As it was such a big room with lots of space, the sound could flow freely without bouncing around. Charlie was tuned into almost overload tonigh. I have never heard Charlie that strong and sharp. Ronnie was enjoying himself a lot. I can't believe this guy is doing such great solo playing without even showing any sign of getting tired.
For the opening song Keith had dressed in black. Both jacket and trousers in black. Almost like he was in suit and tie, but the tie was missing. He had dressed up for the ballrom. And he was in such a great mood.
Mick is so fantastic on this tour. Where this tiny little man is getting all his energy from I don't know, but he simply gets better and better. "Hand of Fate" was a pure gift. But the better part was soon to come.
"She Smiled Sweetly" has been one of my favorites for all these years. I have played "Beetween The Buttons" over and over again, and this song was all Mick. The band was playing softly in the background, as Mick sang the song with strong still soft words. Close to the original. I was in heaven. And as they did Neighbours and Dance, I could not help having "She Smiled Sweetly" going on and on and on and on in my ears and my mind. Such a gift. I just hope they can play it more, so that more fans can hear it.
"That's How Strong My Love Is" was the song when Mick would freak out totally. He was chopping out the words like his mouth was a machine gun, he was rushing up and down on the very little space he had available. Then he was so exhausted, that's was what I though, as he moved back to Charlie for a quick sip of water, only to come back even more wild seconds later. Another great song, and no reason to hide this away from the fans. Please play it again in the arenas.
Midnight Rambler was so long and good. Just like in the old days. I could not see how they could fit in "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", but sure they found room for it tonight as well, and as before, this was another highligh. Also, now I know that Ronnie himsef decides when and how it is time to close this song, and tonight this song did certainly not close early.
After Can't You Hear Me Knocking I was so satisfied. Even if I had been to the front on the left side, there was very little pushing around. I could actually enjoy the show a lot, even with open admission and no chairs, very unusual for a Stones show in the States. In my previous up front experiences in UK (Brixton and Shepherds Bush Empire) the pushing was so intense it was hard to fully enjoy the shows. So when Honky Tonk started, I decided I wanted to see the whole band from the mixer, with all the lights and the crowd as a beutiful decoration.
They had even brough in some confetti machines, and as the encore started, it was raining red confetti all over.
Yes. It was a fantastic show. No less. I did not miss "Love Train". I did not miss "Satisfaction". The sound was perfect. Keith thought it was a "good room". Mick said "I liked that one - really cool", as he finished Rambler. All I could see was smiling faces. The New York crowd is so good, and I am so happy to know they will do three more shows at the Garden in January. Hopefully they will give us bits of this great set list then too!
Oct. 1 - 02:30am
Oh yeah...before I forget....to all the celebrities - TAKE YOUR SUNGLASSES OFF AT STONES SHOWS YOU FREAKING WEIRDOS :)))
CYHMK and Stray Cat Blues were not as tight as the Fleet versions but still great. Ronnie played a totally different solo for CYMK yesterday which I didn't like it as much as the MSG solo but this is just from my point of view as a guitarist. Keith did You Don't Have To Mean It, for which Ronnie sat at the piano. I personally prefer this to Slippin' Away, it is the way better song in my opinion. I also liked how the opened with Start Me Up and did NOT play Tumbling Dice and Love Train ! Thanks boys, yesterday I did get what I wanted !! So much more to say really, but I can't find the words to actually describe it.
At roughly 6:00 PM or 6:15 PM the doors opened and they began letting us in a few at a time. We were the third group to be let in. They checked our tickets and wristbands and then we proceeded to the doors where we were each "patted down" by security. At the third set of doors they took our tickets. It was also here, much to our dismay, that we discovered they were letting people who had just picked up their tickets directly into the show! No waiting! No time to ponder it though as we had to make a dash to the stage. I went to the right so that I could spend the evening with Keith in front of me. People in front sat down to rest and hold their spots. Laura and I continued to stand…now we were down to an hour and a half to wait…for the warm-up band, Johnny Lang.
As near as I can tell Johnny Lang started on time (8:00 PM). His first song opened with keyboards and then he went into a, at times, energetic and blistering set. His bass player, probably in his fifties, was very enthusiastic but should wear a shirt under his coveralls. He wasn’t exactly "buff". Johnny Lang can play. I am not a guitarist but it was interesting to see he played a lot with his thumb and fingers (as opposed to using a pick). He seems to be a very talented player. He acknowledged that is was a "privilege" to open for the Stones. Rather quickly he announced their last song and I thought, "what a short set". Little did I know he would go into an extended music battle between himself and his saxophone player. It was musically impressive, but a little long. They finished their set and now we were only 45 minutes away from the "holy grail".
During the break I had to continue to "push" against some "latecomers" who had managed to push their way to the front. Plus, even though I was 4-5 "rows" from the stage and 2-3 "rows" from the little stage extension right in the middle I was behind someone directly in front of me who is taller. Exhaustion was setting in as I began debating whether it was all worth it... would I ever do it again… I’m tired etc. These questions would soon be addressed, and quickly resolved.
The PA on the tour between acts has been playing blues and rock songs that influenced the Stones and in some cases some that they had even covered. Rumor was that once you heard "Mona" the Stones would be out. "Mona" came and went and no Stones yet…roughly two songs later the house lights dimmed and the moment was upon us.
The next thing I know Keith is 10 feet in front of me ripping off the opening to "Start Me Up". A surprising start for me… a song I’ve said I wouldn’t miss in the stadium shows but an absolute awesome wake-up call in this room! They hit it well, allowing silence each time before Keith and Charlie both hit their next powerful notes. I am hearing Keith’s guitar right out of his amps…not through some huge PA system. They go into "You Got Me Rocking", consistent with many of the shows to date. Then the show begins to turn into what I can best describe as an unimaginable (meaning who could’ve predicted?) eclectic set book-ended by classics. Instead of IORR they rip into "All Down the Line" followed by a down and dirty version of "Hand of Fate". I am listening, watching and thinking this place is too small for these guys. This building cannot contain the energy and power they are putting out. Unlike being close at a stadium show you can see all of them close, all of the time here, there is nowhere for them to go. They are all in my field of vision for the entire show. Mick says they are going to "slow it down" and grabs the harp to start "Sweet Virginia". He struggles to get the notes out of the harp and kind of leers in frustration. We’re still in known territory, not on the main highway but not "out there" either…then he introduces "She Smiled Sweetly" and the adventure begins. I am not as familiar with this song as others but watch as he accentuates each chorus. They follow this by plowing through an energetic "Neighbors", not one of my favorites but they must like to play it since it shows up here and there.
Then off the beaten path we go…I can’t recall exactly what Mick says, something about something funky or whatever, grabs the maracas and they tear into "Dance, Pt. 1". Charlie and Darryl are laying down the bottom and the horns are in full swing. Mick is dancing and prancing from one end of the stage to the other. He grabs a drum-like instrument off Charlie’s stand to provide the "eee-eee-eee" sound at the end (I have no idea what it is or how to describe the sound, only that it is on the original). They move into "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" with Mick emphatically pointing and singing "I need you, you, you" to everyone there. Now comes "That’s How Strong My Love Is". Mick is out of control, shaking with energy has he repeats the chorus. Back to the dance groove for "Going to a Go-Go" and then onto Motown for "Ain’t to Proud to Beg". This song was a little strange for Keith. He seemed to be have lost his focus and it didn’t seem like he was playing the same song as everyone else…then again…he might of just been hearing it differently than me.
Mick introduces everyone in the band. Ron sits at the piano and Keith announces he is going to do "You Don’t Have to Mean It". Keith sings heartfully but it seems like the band hits a point where there’re not sure how to get out of the song. Keith is sort of ad-libbing the lyrics at the end and they just can’t find a way to finish. Eventually they do and Keith moves into "Before They Make Me Run". As soon as he is handed his guitar he quickly cranks the knobs on it and off they go. This is very energetic and Keith keeps moving away from the microphone to rip off his chords, loud and powerful. They stumble for a second near the end as Ronnie expects Keith to step to the mike to finish it off, but doesn’t, Ronnie gestures to him and finishes the deed.
Where’s Mick? Is "Love Train" going to be next? Are they going to continue to pull stuff off the shelf? I hear a short note on the harp? It sounds like it could be "Mannish Boy"…that would certainly be consistent with the set so far. Buuuttt noooo…it is "Midnight Rambler", and what a "MR" it is!!! It rocks, it wails, it cranks. Unbelievable…I think it is after they finish this song that Keith and Ronnie both sit down on Charlie’s riser. Mick turns and sees them and gives a look as if to say "why are you sitting down, I’m the one running around?" They get back up and Mick introduces Johnny Lang to guest on Rock Me Baby. Johnny sheepishly comes out guitar in hand. Ronnie and Keith affectionately greet him and he finds a spot over behind Ronnie, seemingly too shy (and respectful) to move toward the front of the stage. Keith plays the first lead and then he and Ronnie motion for Johnny to take over…Ronnie almost literally pushes him out front and center. He finishes, Ronnie takes a turn on lead, Keith finishes and the song is over. Mick makes some reference to "kids" as he moves to the front left of the stage.
Ronnie and Keith stand in front of Charlie as Mick announces "Stray Cat Blues". Ronnie is talking and gesturing to Keith as if to sort out who is going to play what…the song seems to start a little raggedly and continues to grind. They try and wind it up on a pinpoint and don’t quite seem to hit it…sounds similar to Boston Fleetcenter…they just can’t quite nail it at the end.
Now comes the tour highlight that has had everyone buzzing…again Ronnie and Keith are in front of Charlie working out the opening to "Can’t You Hear Me Knocking". They knock the stuffing out of this song…again. Guitars, maracas, horns, Ron’s solo at the end. After they had jammed through "Midnight Rambler" I had wondered whether or not they would skip CYHMK tonight, instead, we were treated to not just one, but two fantastic jams in one show!!
The lights go down and then Keith is right in front of us again. I think he was on his knees as he hit the opening chords of Honky Tonk Women. They rock through it, with Mick putting a special emphasis laying a "divorcee in New York City". I can see for myself the set-up on Keith’s guitar, no top string.
Brown Sugar is next, keep ‘em coming boys. A little more concise than in the stadium shows, not so much emphasis on extending the refrain at the end, but still giving everyone a chance to exult.
Mick says goodnight, and they leave the stage. Then there back and ripping into Jumpin’ Jack Flash. As he as been most of the night, Keith is right in front me churnin’ out the chords. Then it is over, they take their bows, the houselights come on and I realize I have to summon up enough energy to leave. It actually takes me two tries to move through the crowded exit corridor. I am exhausted but "satisfied" beyond belief.
Overall, what a great show and experience. As someone in line said, this is a working band. As such they do not play everything perfectly. But the rough parts contrast with the parts they hit perfectly. And you can read it on their faces. Mick, as the perfectionist, glares or leers when something is not quite right. Ronnie and Keith live looser, sharing a laugh when they don’t quite get it right. They also smile when they know they hit it right. They are loose and tight at the same time. While jamming in the middle of CYHMK Ronnie has an idle moment and tries to light a cigarette. He finds that his lighter will not work and the band moves along while Ronnie goes over to borrow Keith’s lighter off Charlie’s riser to solve his problem. Then right before his solo he is putting eyedrops in his eyes. He his still squinting and trying to get his vision back as he starts his solo.
I don’t remember which song it was on (probably CYHMK) but at one point Ronnie, Keith and Darryl were all over near Bobby Keyes during one of his solos. Ronnie seemed to be trying to distract Bobby into making a mistake. Fortunately Bobby had his eyes closed and probably did not even know they were there. At another point Ronnie found something on the stage he wanted to show Charlie. He is desperately reaching over and around the plexi-glass surrounding Charlie to try and get his attention. He finally does and presses some matchbox size item against the plexiglass for Charlie’s perusal. I mean, this is fun!! This isn’t work for them, although they work hard at it. And that makes it enjoyable for their fans every night.
1972 (MSG), 1975 (MSG), (Missed 1978), 1981 (MSG), 1989 (Philly & Shea), 1994 (Washington, D.C. & Philly), 1997 (Philly), 1998 (MSG), 1999 (Philly) and 2002 (Philly 1st Union).
My admission to Roseland came through Ticketmaster On-Line. When I hit search for tickets and the Purchase page came up, I was not overly excited as this happened with Tower tickets and the purchase never went through. This time when I punched the PURCHASE NOW button, a confirmation screen page came on verifying my purchase of two tickets to the Rolling Stones at the Roseland Theater in New York City. Finally the confirmation letter arrived. I went to Roseland on Sunday Sept 29 with confirmation letter, state issued ID and credit card used to purchase the tickets and left with my tickets, a wristband on my wrist and one on my buddy's wrist.
I arrived at Roseland about 7 P.M. Monday the 30th. The area around 52nd and 8th was policed and barricaded. You had to have wristband and ticket displayed to get near the entrance to Roseland. The ticket was torn upon entering the theatre (no hi-tech scanners here!) I walked past the concession tables hawking Stones memorabilia. On my right was a beer bar and on my left a round column. Past the column, the sound board was proudly glowing. The ballroom dance floor in front of it drew my eyes to the far wall where, bathed in blue stage lighting, was a center stage drum set, mikes, guitar stands and keyboards.
The excitement in the room was palpable and increased with each the entrance of each new guest.
After the opening act, my concern about a crowd crush when the Stones took to the stage grew (reminiscent of 1969 when I was in a rush and found myself leaning on the stage only having to duck under it once in while in order to breath.) It never happened! The crowd left space for each other and even excused themselves when having to walk by you. What a pleasant experience!
At 9:40 P.M., THE BAND came on.
My fellow Stones fans…to me, they haven’t sounded this good since 1981. And performing at top-notch was not the only thing this show had going for it. It is a must that I see the Stones during each tour when ever possible. The past few tours, as good as the band has been musically, I must admit I was bored by the 16 or so standard generic crowd pleasers (Satisfaction, Miss You [UGH!], etc.) that are played at every venue. I go to hear what will be played in the 3 or 4 rotation slots!
What made the show at Roseland was that aside from 4 perennial play tunes (not including Keith’s obligatory 2 tunes…and I happen to like Before They Make Me Run), THIS SHOW WAS ALL ROTATION SONGS! If you were not a true Stones fan, this show was boring! I saw people shrugging their shoulders during She Smiled Sweetly as if saying, “I dunno what song this is… I know it’s not Satisfaction.” My gosh, I never dreamed that She Smile Sweetly would ever be considered for a live performance. And, That’s How Strong My Love is!!!! I can not tell you how long I have waited for a set-list like this one. It is what all of us core fans have been asking for…and they delivered it Monday night September 30, 2002 at Roseland Theater in New York City.
And not just the play-list (they had a great play-list for Steel Wheels) was there, so were the old energetic, hard playing Stones. Not one bad, boring song or performance. At times, I found them to be reminiscent of the ’72 Stones. I swear I saw Jagger doing the Nanker and elbows!
For those who were there because it was ‘the hottest ticket in town’ and left early or were lost as to what the songs were…TOO BAD! This was a Stones concert for the true Stones fan to the Nth degree. I hope this show makes it to home video and that they tailor more set-lists like it!
May all of you have a great time at the shows you have attended, are going to attend and will be attending! And may they all be like Roseland was this past Monday, the last day of September 2002.
After "That's How Strong My Love Is" when the crowd was doing its best at freaking out Keith pointed to Mick in acknowledgement. Keith in his own right was extremely intense in his playing. Two strong examples were first his soloing during "Rock Me Baby". Johnny Lang joined the Stones onstage for this number during which Keith, Ronnie, and Johnny Lang all took solos, Keith taking a second solo to finish the song. The second was at the end of the encore "Jumping Jack Flash" when Keith was squatting near the edge of the stage with his guitar across his knees adjusting the knobs, getting his tone and smiling an open smile. He for a moment seemed lost in his own world gazing at the guitar as one would look on a newborn child. That one moment for me made me realize the true core of the Stones.
Daryl Jones solo at the end of "Stray Cat Blues" was incredible, his fingerwork was as pleasurable to watch as to hear. Ron was very much enjoying himself last night. At times trying to kick Mick in the ass, other times goofing with the audience At one point when someone threw a cigarette onto the stage Ron hung his tongue out and mouthed the words "for me". I enjoyed his playing throughout the show (what I could hear with Keith's amps straight ahead) highlighted by his solo on "Can't You Hear Me Knocking". Midnight Rambler was indeed like the old days in both intensity and raunch. During the beginning of the song Mick took a few energetic tugs at his crotch which floored a few of the women around me. Mick also got Lisa's attention, I believe it was during "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" he walked over next to her and she put her arm around his waist. Mick then holding her hand guided it to his upper thigh and then to his pelvis area. He then removed his hand with Lisa's still remaining in full view. It took Lisa a few seconds to realize what was going on and when she did she was quite embarrassed but laughed it off.
I can't remember after which song but Mick looked over to his left to a small seated area right off the floor where people were sitting (James Taylor among them) and asked them if they would like for him to bring them drinks. Can you believe it, sitting down at a show like last night. Mick really busted his ass and there they sat like books on a shelf. The Stones should make all theatre shows vip free zones. If tickets are given out for free raffle them to the fans who would hold that memory for life. At last night's show there were fans from Japan, France, England, all over the U.S., and who knows where else. It's amazing what some fans will do to see the Stones while other invited guests like Bjornulf says left after a few songs.
IMHO this show topped Tower Theatre for its setlist and intensity, the sound at both was great. For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to Wiltern Theatre or The Joint your in for the memory of a life time. One last note, after the Stones took their final bow and were walking offstage Mick pulled a pair of violet panties out of his pants pocket and handed them to Charlie. Charlie reached out and took them at first not knowing what they were. The grins on both of their faces when he realized what they were was priceless.
I went to the front of the venue, ran into two people I'd met in Europe on the B2B tour. I could see that no tickets were being released in front of the venue. I then decided to go to the rear/side of the theatre to see what was happenin' there, (lucky me, I have my wristband still on).
This is what happened. Soon, the STONES returned to THE ROSELAND, prior to taking the stage, (earlier they had done a sound check). The small assembled crowd cheered and shouted as they entered the back door. I was right up at the front guard rail, and yelled to the Stones, "really sad that some of your diehard fans are left out in the cold, when some VIPS are in, 'and will leave the show early." (I have been counting the numbers of people that leave the venues early. I have no idea if the Stones could hear what I'd said).
Later, someone said that the STONES had taken the stage, (some of the crowd left at that point) but that didn't discourage me, I was there for the duration).
Then, a person came up to me and said: "May I talk to you" I said: "Sure, what is it?" He said: "I'd like to give this to you." I looked down and it was a ticket, "on the FLOOR of THE ROSELAND!" I said: "Why,... who would do this, be so kind?" He said: "I can't tell you." Then I, (the ever inquisitive me) asked: "But, who are you?" (See, I was willing to pay for this ticket and had to make sure it was real)! He only pointed to his "Official Stones Badge." In shock, (at this point) I said: "I need a wrist band too," (but my voice sounded like it was far away). He said: "Yes, you do." (He then took a wrist band out of his pocket and put it on my wrist)! I was thrilled.
I just couldn't believe it! I'm in THE ROSELAND Theatre, "I'm IN, I can't believe this," that's all I could say to myself as I was walking towards the front of the venue. (Better late, than never). I got in as the STONES were going into NEIGHBORS, but I WAS IN!
"THANK you GOD, THANK you Jesus!"
The floor was crowded, everyone seemed to be 7 feet tall around me, but no matter, I was "IN THE SHOW!"
NEIGHBORS was good, it seems to be played quite often now and it's growing on me. DANCE Pt.1 was great, the crowd was really happy and getting wild! Mick had a whole lotta energy tonight and he did a lovely version of EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMEBODY TO LOVE. Man, when the Stones went into THAT'S HOW STRONG MY LOVE IS, I couldn't believe it. Mick was tearing into it like no tomorrow! Then, GOING TO A GO GO was played, I went ballistic, I'd been singin' that one all the day long too, WOW! AIN'T TO PROUD TO BEG was lovely. Then Intros, (which I have to say, the crowd gave everyone a warm welcome, really nice). Then it was Keith's turn, I usually yell out the song I'd like to hear, (just guessing) and see if he plays it, I was just about to yell, YOU DON'T HAVE TO MEAN IT when he said YDHTMI! I couldn't believe this, I really thought he'd do "Slipping Away," and "HAPPY," but Keith is throwing some surprises at us. He changed the lyrics a bit, but both Mick and Keith do this at times. It was great! The night had become a dream come true for me!
The STONES are really mixing up the setlists and we don't know what to expect because I couldn't tell what would be next, but,... it was MIDNIGHT RAMBLER, and it was like they played it on No Security, long and beautiful! Then, Jonny Lang came out for ROCK ME BABY, (nice). STRAY CAT BLUES, man WUNDERBAR! LOVE IT! Then, CAN'T YA HEAR ME KNOCKIN' Thank you, RONNIE is so much better than that MT, can't say it enough! Thank you, thank you STONES!
I also love the interplay between the boys, so much fun to watch, like listening to their studio antics on bootlegs. I have to say that Mick and Keith, Charlie and Ronnie were like gangbusters the whole night! The back- up band was great, Lisa, Bernard, Blondie, Chuck and Darryl, the Horns, just beautiful! The Crew, the confetti guys, good job! Thanks!
They wrapped the show with superb renditions of HONKEY TONK WOMEN, BROWN SUGAR and (my all-time fav) JUMPIN' JACK FLASH! In a flash they were gone, but not the memories. GUYS, you gave this STONES fan one night to remember, forever! (And a big thanks to the person who gave me the free ticket and to the messenger too, thanks again!)
Thanks to Rob G. for supplying links information!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2002 -
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