It's Only Rock'n Roll
I had the time of my life. It rained buckets - before introducing Slipping Away Keith joked about how it should be called Dripping Away!
A few technical problems, a monsoon-like heavy rain, and some muddy
playing made this a somewhat weak concert. But with plenty of tickets
ranging from US$6.50 to US$32, this was an unbeatable experience.
The dusty Bangalore Palace Grounds was broken into 3 zones, based on ticket price. The most expensive 1500 rupee section had the longest line well before the 5:45pm gate opening. People who started lining up around 4:30pm all got some space in the front row. Indians rarely show up early for anything, so the first few rows had a lot of Japanese and Europeans. The reported 16-hour setup period for the stage apparently was not long enough, because the crew were focusing pin spotlights and testing smoke well after the crowd was let in.
The show started about 40 minutes late. The band had some trouble getting started with the music, too. At times, Mick’s mike didn’t seem to be working (either that or he forgot the lyrics). Photographers crowded the foot of the stage for two songs. If you see newspaper photos of the Bangalore audience giving the middle finger, that’s why. And Keith's famous opening guitar licks weren't as crisp as they have been. I heard the same songs 5 years ago in Osaka Dome, and that time I left thinking, "Yeah, these guys can still play." But this time, it seemed like Keith had some trouble waking up. Although I am a big fan, it took me a while to recognize some songs.
Rain started sprinkling shortly after the show began. Fittingly, the downpour really began during "You Can’t Always Get What You Want". Keith and Mick really won the audience over when they stepped out into the rain from time to time. Keith even took his guitar out onto the side stage. The rain added to the energy of the crowd, and actually improved the show, according to many of the people around me. The two cameramen on the foot of the stage really deserve our sympathy - later in the show, huge sheets of water dumped off the roof of the stage. The cameramen looked like they were filming a documentary on waterfalls. Fittingly, Keith introduced "Slipping Away" as "Dripping Away".
Not much else to say about the songs or the playing. The band seemed to rush so that the audience could get out of the rain and go home. Mick even commented on that. (They did their encore almost right away). The audience really responded to the Indian-style bows that each member took. When Keith said, "I really LIKE India," it seemed to be a genuine sentiment. Most Bangaloreans came out just to see the spectacle, and didn't know much about the band (Bryan Adams is a much huger star here, if that gives you an idea). The computer-controlled lights and the risqué animation were well received. But the blow-up girls were gone, either because of the rain or the fiasco in Singapore. And the confetti and fireworks were sort of smothered by the wind and rain. All in all, fans from Europe were happy to see the band from up close, at give-away prices. And the locals had fun dancing in the rain.
The anticipation and excitement about seeing the Stones live had been
building up as soon as it was announced that they would be rolling into
India on their Asia leg of the world tour. A Stones diehard could not
hope to hear better news. Made it a point to get to the concert venue
really early, as I wanted to be as close to the stage as possible. The
show was to supposed to get started around 7:00 pm, so I thought 3:00 pm
was a good time to reach the venue. But it was a rather un-Indian thing
to do to get in so early as the crowd consisted mainly of westerners at
that time. I was wondering whether many people would turn up as the
Stones are not really well known and are not on the favourites list of a
typical college student here. The publicity for The Roger Waters (dubbed
the Pink Floyd show) was going on for months and thousands had poured
into the venue for that. Pleasantly surprised to see the venue getting
packed to capacity by around 7:00.
There were no opening acts tonight and the show would begin at 7:30, the cameraman in front of the stage informed us. The low booming sound around 7:40 pm let us know that the show was about to kick off. The swarms of cameramen milling about in front of the stage were causing a lot of annoyance. I thought they would be there till the end spoiling it for us fans.
That’s when Keith came on view with the riffs of Brown Sugar and all hell broke loose. The adrenaline was pumping and then Mick just lit into the song. Got into an argument with a stupid photographer blocking my view and thankfully the security asked him to get off before it got ugly. The were herded away after a while much to our relief.
As soon as the show started it started drizzling and after a while it turned into a downpour. Not a common occurrence at this time of the year in Bangalore. It did help the dust at the ground settle down and added to the excitement of the show. A pause after a couple of songs and Mick greeted people in Hindi, which was received with a huge roar of approval by the crowd. I particularly enjoyed ‘Start me up’ and ‘Don’t Stop’ which were very well received. What amazed me was the manic energy exuded by Mick. Unbelievably lean and mean when he is nearing sixty. Ronnie was at his playful best, Charlie seemed the wise old sage behind the drums. Keith seemed relaxed and laid-back.
Mick then said that he would sing something romantic for a change and went on to ‘Angie’ and ‘You can always get what you want’. Beautifully done. The downpour began at this time. Rarely does it rain this heavily in the summer and I was getting worried that it might affect the show as the stage was also not spared. Ronnie started sliding around and enjoying the whole experience with the enthusiasm of a little boy enjoying the first summer shower.
Mick now introduced the band. ‘And trying to keep her hairdo intact in this rain is Lisa’ was how he introduced gorgeous Lisa looking resplendent with a lovely bindi on the forehead.
Keith then took to the mike and said ‘It had to rain, didn’t it!! We’ll go through this soon cause you are out there getting wet!’ and started on ‘Slipping away’ saying it should rather be called ‘Drippin away’. I wonder why Keith doesn’t sing more because he has such a fine dry voice for the slow songs. It was lovely.
Mick came onto the stage with a huge overcoat like thing with lights blinking on it to sing ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Was wondering when they would get to my favourites list, when he on came the opening riffs of ‘Honky Tonk woman’ with appropriate cartoons on the screen of a topless woman sliding around on the tongue logo of the Stones. The crowd got wild. From that moment on the Stones went from one favourite to another. The guys just ripped into ‘Street Fighing Man’ and culminated with ‘Satisfaction’ the song which most people in the crowd were looking forward to. At that moment, I didnt want to be anywhere else in the world except being right next to the Greatest Rock-n -Roll band in the world and singing along with Mick to an all time favourite.
But as the cliché goes all good things come to an end, and it had to with this show too, when the guys sang ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ on the encore and took a bow. It was a privilege, which left me wondering whether will we be able to see them again on another world tour. It was two hours of blisss.
Keep rolling boys!!!
Thanks to Johannes for news links!
This page will change over the next few days, as you and other fans send reviews, set lists and reports. Please send your e-mail to IORR. Thanks! For details and great photos from the Rolling Stones and their World Tour get the IORR magazines.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe