It's Only Rock'n Roll
The set list
Show time 9:15 to 11:20 p.m.
There was no threat of rain, though conditions were still a bit chilly. "Tumbling Dice" was a weird one tonight -- no backup singers. Chuck filled in. Mick began the first chorus a little early before realizing the error of his ways: "You've got to roll me - fever in the funkhouse now." Bernard, Lisa and Blondie came out for Rocks Off, and Mick followed the tune with the observation, "It's nice to be in San Francisco again. We missed you. It was a good night last night and it's going to be even better tonight."
Sheryl Crow came out for an excellent version of "Wild Horses." She and Mick behaved more sensibly this time, no crowd-pleasing cavorting with each other. He purred into the mike afterwards, and said, "Well that was sweet." As he did the previous night, Mick walked down the catwalk for "You Can't Always Get What You Want." I noticed tonight that he began his descent down the stairs while singing "And I went down ..." Midnight Rambler was another opus.
I was pretty shocked that Keith did "Slipping Away" both nights, but I dug his version of "Before They Make Me Run." As with last night, I sped to the small stage from my 12th row seat as "Sympathy for the Devil" was ending, but there was already a small crowd in place. The security people wouldn't let us take photos, which was a drag. Just when I was hoping for a night without It's Only Rock 'n' Roll and You Got Me Rocking, the Stones resurrected them on the small stage, but in this context they were tolerable.
The home run selection featured the usual suspects. The encore, "Satisfaction," stuck out tonight. At the lead-out, Mick donned sunglasses and led the crowd in a half-dozen "hey! hey! hey!" chants. On balance both shows were equally powerful performances, but I'll deduct a few points from Saturday's show because of the set list gridlock.
Review by Anthony GrayboschThere was no Love Train, Mannish Boy, or Heart of Stone. And, thankfully, no Miss You. This was a rock n roll show with almost no letup. The small stage songs were It's Only Rock n Roll, Let It Bleed, and You Got Me Rocking. Keith did Slipping Away and Before They Make Me Run. Sheryl Crow and Mick's duet was Wild Horses. The highlight of the evening for me was Monkey Man. The show opened with Brown Sugar; closed with Jumping Jack Flash and Satisfaction. Nice use of the giant screen during Tumbling Dice. The screen was split into four frames - one for each Stone.
And it didn't end with SFTD. Gimmie Shelter seem to carry it on and JJF may have had new meaning to me. Street Fighting Man sounded right off the sound track of Altamont. Maybe it was the rain and the challenges it presented. The implication in the S.F. press that The Stones had a "checkered past" in the Bay Area. The Stones fought back with their music and "defeated the elements".
I have never seen the Stones meaner and nastier than last night. But I guess that is what makes the Stones the Stones in the eyes of many people. Mick at least was just trying to be as ornery and bad as possible. And it seemed Keith would have nothing to do with it. He played well -- better than I've ever seen him play and made some moves. But that is about all he did and having no part of Jagger playing devil for the night. I view them though some of their lighter numbers and hopefully the show Tuesday night be a little less intense.
The sound might have left a little to be desired but we were sitting on the left field side so that may have been part of it. Couldn't understand Mick when he was talking nor understand what Keith said. But most stadium shows seem to sound similar.
I have a pair of 20 x 50 zoom binoculars where are almost like mini telescopes. With a little practice to hold them steady you can see all kinds of things -- even read the set list written on the Plexiglas on Charlie's drum set so you know what is coming next. Little details such as the water they drink, cigarettes, things backstage. I studied Charlie's drumming quite closely. You cannot say enough for the man -- period. And I love to see him smile with he's introduced. What a wonderful person he has become.
Was disppaointed the they didn't do "Can't You Hear Me Knockin" to hear what everybody's talking about with Ron's guitar work on this song. Maybe Tuesday night?
At the end of the show as we were walking out the entourage of vans went by and then promptly got stuck in traffic. We were able to walk up as far as the stalled cars just as they go moving again. But you couldn't see any of them in the vans because of the dark tented windows. There were more than five vans -- probably about 7 or eight. Could not figure out who would ride in them. It was still an awesome site and I don't think I will ever look at a van quite the same again.
This might be the first time I have seen the Stones in which I thought they might be more business oriented than singers and musicians. But you'd almost have to be. They have a huge business here in which they have to sing once in a while. But about 90 percent of it seems to be tied up in logistics, planning, equipment, personnel and all of the other things that go into moving this massive traveling circus down the road. The Stones as creative artists have built a Frankenstein Monster and seem to have been able to tame it. But what a chore it is. They are absolutely brilliant. They've made the most out of what God gave them.
I came away pretty shell-shocked thinking that we are all very lucky to be able to see something like this -- a group that has been together this long, has instilled in us all these memories and are still together going through all the trouble to put on these shows and play together live in the great city of San Francisco so we call all see it. I think it was a history making night.
Review by Markku Pelanne, San Francisco Bay AreaLast night I was in San Francisco and wondered if I could get a ticket for my wife and me to the Rolling Stones concert in PacBell Park. I went to the box office and bought 2 tickets on the floor for $90 each. We were about 40 meters from the stage!
What a concert!!! The ambiance alone would have been worth the $100. All my superlatives becomes diminutives if I try to describe the stage, the 3 million watt sound system and -- Mick and Keith: the heart and soul of the Rolling Stones. Last time I saw them playing in Helsinki in 1970.
Will there ever be another rock and roll band that play and make music that goes so deep into the hearts of generations and keep on playing together over 40 years.
Now I wait for the Rolling Stones 50 Anniversary World Tour. Then they will be in their 70s.
When Sheryl Crow appeared for Wild Horses, it was a surprise reminiscent of Dave Matthews' participation in this song, yet better. It was very powerful, as Ms. Crow handled her parts very well and Keith was turned up nice and loud on the back up vocals, adding a large measure of energy and character to the song. When Mick romantically put his arm around her for the chorus, it was a far cry from the groping and oddly good-natured sexual assault that took place during Honky Tonk Women the night before. Mick seemed intent on showing his tender side in the presence of a beautiful woman, and it did work.
A few songs really sparkled tonight, the first being Midnight Rambler. The song is always good, but was even more intense tonight as Keith and Ron sawed away for an extended time. When Mick came in with harmonica, it just added to the dizzying sonic wave washing over PacBell. When the slow part arrived, it was extra lazy and drawn out, more dramatic and finer than any Shakespearean theater. Before They Make Me Run was the next standout, as Keith sounded strong and put across the upbeat desperate mood of the song. The chords off that exploded off his Telecaster made the show's concluding fireworks look meek in comparison. I'll take this over Happy any day, or maybe along with Happy omitting a slow song completely. Let Tony Bennett cover Slippin' Away, but life is too short (for us mortal fans that is-NOT Keith) to get the song at almost every show.
The small stage set was more pure rock in overall song selection than Friday as it had It's Only Rock'n'Roll and You Got Me Rocking. Let It Bleed as the middle song was one of the highlights of the evening, with Mick dancing while doing a fine job on rhythm acoustic guitar, and Ronnie playing a transparent lucite guitar that harkened back to the days of BeBop Deluxe. Honky Tonk Women without Sheryl Crow was also nice, as it allowed a little more attention to be spent on the fantastic video that plays during the song. One can only hope that a mpeg of the video be downloadable on the official website!
As always the show ended as if it lasted just an instant. Shuffling out the right field exits of the park, it was cool to see the boats leaving McCovey Cove after having enjoyed the positive externalities of hearing the Stones for free by pulling up in the water next to the park. While these two shows were excellent, they made me even more eager for Oakland, as the people talking on the street and the media coverage make clear this town loves the Stones (dare I say?) even more than New York, Boston, L.A., or Chicago. Why S.F./Oakland didn't get a club gig is a case worthy of Sherlock Holmes. Here's hoping the Oakland show becomes the effective club gig of the stop. San Francisco/Oakland certainly deserve it.
"Midnight Rambler" was the ultimate highlight of the night for me, the best version I've every seen or heard, topping even '69 and '72 versions (!!!), and being the 2 in the 1-2 punch of "Monkey Man"/"Midnight Rambler". Mick really got the crowd riled up during and immediately after this one, saying "everybody say 'ow!'" and having the crowd scream back in response. His moves were dead on--he would BE the 1969 Jagger were it not for the lines in his face!
Believe everything you've read about Ronnie Wood's playing post-rehab; he was absolutely ASTOUNDING and Keith was also in extremely rare form, playing the shit out of "Sympathy For The Devil". When Ronnie was introduced he cooly strutted around the stage like the grand ol' smartass he is! Charlie looked geniunely moved/embarassed by the incredibly thunderous ovation he received, which in turn moved me. Granted, this was the first show I attended where the set was mostly comprised of repeats from shows I'd already seen before (whereas with each of the first 3 there would be maybe 13 or so songs I'd never seen), but "Monkey Man" and "Rocks Off" were very, very welcome repeats, as I hadn't seen them since Voodoo Lounge! However, after reading so much about it, where was "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"?! After such a smoldering "Midnight Rambler", this set could only have been taken up just that extra notch with the presence of not one, but TWO jam songs! They were having such a blast, though, that they turned many of the old war horses songs into jam songs themselves! "Don't Stop" is a pretty average song, but they turned it into pure bliss in its live incarnation!
Sure, Sheryl Crow on "Wild Horses" was just plain awful (get her OFF the stage! she doesn't posess a voice that can hold it's own with Mick, nor is that vocal-acrobatics diva crap with such a subtle melody!!!), but one bad (and it was BAD) song out of 20 is alright, I suppose. Also, a pre-recorded guitar loop of the opening riff to "Gimme Shelter" would be much, much better for them to walk back to the main stage with than the awful new age synth-loop version of the intro we were treated to. Because of the ferocity at which they attacked these songs during this show, they pulled off the amazing twist of tightest Stones playing the most conservative set I've ever seen! There was no "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", no "Hand Of Fate" (I know, I know, it's only in the theaters--this is a mistake), no "Ventilator Blues" or "Soul Survivor" (if they've got 140 songs rehearsed, let alone "all of Exile", as Ronnie asserts, then PLAY THEM!), no "Dancing With Mr. D" (a dream of mine that shall never be realized, I'm beginning to accept) , , , but in the end, as with all Stones shows, it didn't matter what wasn't played, because what was played was with such intensity it didn't matter!
I thought I could die never seeing "Only RnR" again, yet they delivered a version that far surpassed any I had seen before, with Keith and Ronnie taking the song back to its original grit with some excellent guitar playing. "Tumbling Dice" is ALWAYS great, and held true to such, while "You Can't Always Get What You Want", one of the few firsts for me, was built up to a great ending by the Richards/Wood team. All that said, now it's up to them during this peak of musicianship to start sneaking songs like "Hand Of Fate," "Winter" (which is rehearsed, and boy would that be amazing!) and "Dance" (all old personal faves of mine) into the stadium and arena sets and make those sad only-here-for- "Satisfaction"- etc. fans LOVE them, as we all know they could! How 'bout it boys? Oh, and Keith--no need to do a Frank Sinatra with your stage presence during "Slipping Away", my fave of yer ballads this side of "Coming Down Again"; it's not you!
My most recent Stones show (Pac Bell Park, 11-09-02) was disappointing. Not only did the stage seem to be miles away, but it was partially blocked by a tower of giant PA speakers. And if those logistics aren't enough to distract and disappoint, I have to say that I found the band (or specifically Keith) to be a bit lackadaisical. My initial impression was, "Ahh, screw it, they've lost their enthusiasm." But upon reflection, and some discussion with other Stones fans, I realize that the Stones simply play a very different show in a stadium, and one that I don't find particularly rewarding.
When I saw an indoor show on the "No Security" Tour, Keith was a focused, driving guitar player. He was engaged, energetic, intent on pushing each song. That's the Keef that I really enjoy. In contrast, the Keith I saw in cavernous Pac Bell Park was preoccupied with sauntering back and forth, covering the enormous stage, pointing at the crowds,. The sound was bombastic and muddy. I didn't see or feel that palpable effort of Keith chugging away on guitar. And, because Keith IS the Stones for me, I didn't find the show very rewarding.
If I could see the band in small venue, where they were forced to really hunker down and play, I think that would be a far more rewarding experience. What this really points to is the shoddiness of the stadium experience for any concert. It also means, with the Stones, one needs to see them without the vast armada of lights and towers and backing band, in a setting where the band simply plays music.
Thanks to Axel Schumacher for news links.
Thanks to Harold Colson and Steve Lombardo for photos.
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2002 -
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