It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Set list
Show time: 9:05-11:10
Bad weather forced the Rolling Stones to work the crowd a bit harder tonight.
Storms had lashed the area, and drizzle fell during Sheryl Crow's set.
Thankfully, the rains cleared after she left. But the genteel Bay Area crowd
was wrapped in Arctic-wear and initially didn't seem in the mood for the
usual hand-waving and shrieking that greets the band.
They hit the stage just after 9 p.m. I had scalped a $100 seat in the eighth row, and was glad I wasn't in the stands, which were so far away. The ramp on Keith's end hit a brick wall, and Ronnie's ramp extended into miles of empty seats. Mick was wearing a maroon leather jacket and matching scarf, Keith in black with sunglasses, Ronnie with blue parka and fedora. He always seems the one affected most by the cold. After the opening track, "Brown Sugar," Mick complimented our fortitude, telling us, "You're a hardy group, I tell ya, defying the elements tonight, I tell ya." Truth be told, it turned out to be quite a pleasant evening, so we weren't suffering all that much. After "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," Mick thanked the crew for getting the stage set up the day before in storm conditions.
The anthems "Start Me Up" and "You Got Me Rocking" followed, but they didn't seem to go over that well. Needless to say, they didn't repeat thei Anaheim gimmick and replay the video showing the Anaheim Angels' victory over the San Francisco Giants during the latter song. Mick donned a raincoat (unnecessary, of course) for "Angie" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want," which soothed the crowd before the band kicked things into overdrive with "Midnight Rambler." Mick went to some lengths to get everyone to repeat various "Ows!" and Oohs!" He relishes the pauses in the songs, seemingly taking on another personality. Finally it seemed the show was getting started. A moment of hilarity ensued with Tumbling Dice, when once again he missed his cue, rushing over to the mike to blurt out the first line in one quick breath. Almost gotta wonder if it's an act, or if he's having devilish fun with one of Keith's favorite songs.
Keith introduced "Slipping Away" as a track from "Steel Wheels." It's not often we get a history lesson from him. "Happy" allowed Ronnie a good chance to shine on pedal steel.
After "Sympathy," they made their way to the small stage. I was already in place behind Charlie on Darryl's side, which wasn't as much fun as being on Ronnie's side. Everyone pretty much ignored that quadrant, but I'll try not to take it personally. Gee, I haven't heard "Neighbours" in, oh, four nights.
Sheryl Crow came out for "Honky Tonk Women," hammed it up with Mick, who said afterwards he liked their back-to-back and front-to-front duetting. She and Keith barely acknowledged each other -- possible fallout from a recent interview in which she said Mick was far and away her favorite Stone?
The last few songs, I really noticed Blondie's acoustic guitar, which added some warmth to the proceedings. Overall, a commendable show, with bonus points to the boys for shaking us out of our weather blues.
It seems that the Rolling Stones have acquired somewhat of a checkered past here in the San Francisco Bay Area. With events
that date back to the
on-stage shocking of Keith Richards in Sacramento in 1965 that cut their concert short to the all too infamous disaster of the free
concert at Altamont, the controversy continued with their latest visit here to our fair city. Early on in the week the teamsters union
threatened to stop the construction of the stage set-up due to the fact that they were being replaced by non-union workers to do
their work. Luckily issues were resolved in time but not before throwing a major scare to all fans. Then there was the weather.
The forecast was bleak for the two days the band was going to play in an outside stadium. Heavy rains and storms arrived the
night before the show and continued the next day. It was bad enough for many ticket holders to back out and not show up for the
concert. In an interview on a local news radio show Mick and Keith were quoted as saying the show will go on no matter what.
Sure enough when it came for the curtain to raise, the skies cleared enough to allow for a dry and beautiful night filled with the
new fresh smell of clean air and the music of the greatest rock and roll band of all time.
Some of Mickís first words to the audience between songs were in reference to "beating the elements". With all the scare of a rainy night out in the open I had a good feeling that with the Rolling Stones here to play their music live everything would be all right. And it sure was.
I donít think there could ever be a bad Rolling Stones concert but they do have their own uniqueness. Overall, what I felt about this particular show was although it was performed in a large stadium it had the feeling of a smaller venue. The band all seemed to be relaxed and concentrated on their playing and approached this show with a more intimate feel. I liked how often they stood very close to each other. Mick and Keith did not run off to the side ramps as much as they would in the past. It was a touching sight to see Mick hold Keithís hand and escort him to center stage when it was time for the Keith spotlight of the show. The additional musicians and singers in the band were not overused. They played their parts tastefully. Another visual that will be implanted in my photographic memory for many years is of Keith. As he stood there singing Slipping Away he had his guitar resting on the stage and leaning against his body. It was different to see him sing his vocals without his guitar strapped on. He sang so beautifully and with so much soul that it brought warmth to the cool air and helped make this night unforgettable.
If one were a cynical veteran music writer, tonight's show would be a "standard Stones show". But in fact as always, the Stones wound up making an evening very, very special. The most fundamental greatness of the show was the selection of the venue: rather than the sterile Oakland Coliseum, the Stones were on the water in the city of San Francisco, in Pacific Bell Park, lovely and retro, easily visible as one travels into the city on the Bay Bridge. This is a perfect place for a Stones show, in the tradition of previous San Francisco gigs.
The show-specific shirts were especially nice, with tongues in place of interstate signs and the scale on the map being labeled between 0 and 40 - LICKS that is! Once in the venue past the sales stands, Sheryl Crow kicked into Steve McQueen. Unlike in Anaheim, she wore denim and (thanks to the rain) a leather cowboy hat, making the feel of the opening set very 60s-ish. The set was great, largely in part to a phenomenal band that has played together for years (imagine if those guys would play together for say, 20, 30 or 40 years). The rain came down pretty hard during the opening set, only adding to the evening's atmosphere.
By the time the Stones came on, it was dry and pleasant, not unlike a fall evening in Foxboro or Chicago. Many standards (Brown Sugar, It's Only Rock'n'Roll, Start Me Up) were played early, further making Don't Stop seem spectacularly fresh. With Mick playing a viscous rhythm guitar and Keith adding more to the song each time it is played, Don't Stop is arguably the best song in the Stones' set. We sailed through lovely versions of Angie, You Can't Always Get What You Want, and Tumbling Dice before being treated to the small stage which fired off with a very aggressive version of Neighbors. The small stage set was exactly the same as the Chicago stadium show, adding a bit to the predictability. This was ended with a smoking version of Gimme Shelter, with Lisa sounding better than she has up to now on the LICKS tour. Ron gestured to the skies during this song, hoping that the clouds would open to add dramatic effect to the show. Alas, Mother Nature did not cooperate. Honky Tonk Women was a highlight, as Mick and Sheryl Crow messed with each other throughout the song, with Mick engaging in some major ass-grab for an extended period of time. After Gimme Shelter and Honky Tonk Women, Mick said in a very satisfied manner, "I like that back to back dueting and front to front!" While Street Fighting Man was a bit below the energy at previous stops, Jumping Jack Flash was the best version I have seen so far on the LICKS tour, maybe the crossfire hurricane theme benefiting from the recent weather. Once again, the evening had concluded far too quickly, and it was time to start anticipating Saturday's show. With better weather predicted, the show will definitely have a different feel, perhaps allowing for a little more adventure in the song selection.
Well everybody knows by now the weather situation. After just watching the Stones web page video section, apparently they went right up until 6:30 to decide if the show would go on. Well, it went on, and it was another fine performance. Sheryl Crow came out and did about 8 or 9 songs, in the rain. Yes, the rain started up again, but the winds were not too bad, which would have been the real problem. Sheryl proved to be a true pro by just donning a hat and going on, instead of weeping about the rain. The crowd seemed to enjoy her set and she got a nice hand after she was done, which doesn't always happen for a Stones opening act.
Then after the 45 minute or so break, the skies cleared, and the Stones now familiar drum beat started and the show was on. It was the typical Stadium show set list, with an always beautiful Angie followed by You Cant Always Get What You Want. That is a real nice song to hear live and the crowd really loves it. Midnight Rambler was again a highlight, and it was cool to hear Mick give the "Well you heard about the Boston..." line. It made me feel at home, even though I was 3,000 miles away.
After the intros, which again had Charlie getting the longest hand, along with Ronnie, who the crowd gave a great ovation to, it was time for Keith's two songs. He really has a beautiful singing voice and should sing more back-up vocals during the show. Sympathy came just in time, as the now rain soaked crowd was feeling the chill of the breezes from the bay. The huge fire pots shooting from the stage really helped to take away the chill! Gimme Shelter was another high point, as Lisa again stole the show with her great "Rape, Murder" solo. Gives me a chill every time.
Then Sheryl came back out to join Mick on Honky Tonk Women. They seemed to have a great time performing together and the crowd (women especially) loves this fun song (perhaps due to the video??). Then the last 2 songs, Street Fighting Man and Jumping Jack Flash (no confetti) closed the show all too quickly. A brief pause and the boys are back to give the crowd pleasing sing along of Satisfaction for the encore. Great fireworks display, and in a flash, it's all over.
Sound at Pac Bell was good from where I sat, and it is really a beautiful ball park. Would love to catch a game there sometime. I know you're all waiting to hear Holly's reaction, well, to quote, "It really was awesome. I had a much better time than I was expecting." The Stones have seemed to win over yet another fan onto their side. Too old? No way! Thanks guys!
Thanks to Axel Schumacher for news links.
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2002 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe