It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Cranberries (warmup) : 7:10pm - 7:55pm The Rolling Stones : 8:50pm - 11:05pm
As the setlist will tell you, there were no spectacular choices. Actually it was pretty much the same songs as Munich , some of them in different spots, played in the supercompentent way that seems to be typical for this tour. Keith and Ronnie are really nailing it this time, maybe Ronnie quitting the Guiness (or whatever) is helping in this respect. Mick worked the crowd alright, trying to get and shoutalongs goind, though the response seemed a bit muted. Of course I was in the front of stage section (definitely the place to be this year) and didn't really follow what was going on in the expensive seats at the back (sitting, as any St. Pauli soccer fan will tell is, is "für'n Arsch", and that goes double für a rock'n'roll show).
Highpoints for me were Can't You Hear me Knocking (brilliant moment a R&R poetry in there, when, during Ronnnie's solo, Keith was leaning against the stack of amps like only he can , smoking a ciggy and hust giving the impression of being totally at home on this stage - which after some 40 years he probably is - Micks harmonica solo during this one wasn't half bad either).
The small stage Midnight Rambler was also something else, the transitions supersmooth, except the last one, but who's counting...Another great little moment was when they kinda got lost a bit during You Can't Always get What You Want. Some guys went into the bridge while Mick still had a verse to do, it got a little slippery for a minute, Ronnie, standing close to Charlie, seemed to panic a little (maybe it was his fuck up and he was afraid of getting the doover after the show), but Charlie just broke him the greatest of smiles and got everybody back on track in no time. Charlie was definitely good tonight - but he's our darling anyway.
So all in all a solid performance, not one that will make history or even stay in our memories for too long, but still another great night out with the one and only Rolling Stones. (plus I just got back my portemonee that I'd left at the bar where we had a couple too many post show beers and the sun is out and I'm going to hit the lake right after this). Good vibes to all of you out there in Stones land, and many more happy shows.
Musically the evening started off somewhat flat and it wasn't until Rocks Off that things clicked. A warm and wonderfull rendition of Wild Horses and a sing-along to YCAGWYW finally won the crowd over and into it too otherwise there is no way they would have opted to go for Cant You Hear Me Knockin'. Not exactly the killer version but totally good enough so that they will continue to play it outside and not just confine it to the intimate indoors. I just love that one...
The only real fuck-up occured during IORR where the sound from the small-stage was sooo horrendous, the band probably couldnt even hear themselves. As is to be expected, no one panicked and the rest of that set was very decently salvaged. Back on main and onto the final stretch, the band played tightly and cruised-controlled it thru, although You Got Me Rockin' must have caught many off guard aswell.
The rest was stadium standart (not as high as Munich), but all in all a solid show by the only band that still brings me to tears every single time!!!
Not Fade Away
I was so lucky to see the Stones once more and I'm still lucky that I'll see them again in Hannover in August.
After a sightseeing tour on Sunday we were off to the big show at the Olympic Stadium. What from the outside looks like a building that is going to be torn down any minute, is from the inside a historic and ever so great looking stadium. After the Cranberries were done with torturing me (hehe...they aren't all that bad but I prefer having a different opening act each night) the boys came on stage around 8:50pm. Jagger was wearing his cool ass sun glasses again (same one he had at the Munich and Milan stadium show) and Keith was shaking the stadium with the opening chords of Brown Sugar. Me and Philip Bajo (and about 50000 other people in Berlin) were blown away by the sound and energy level the band provided us with. When Mick announced If You Can't Rock Me (first time ever in a stadium) we knew that this was not gonna be the usual standard stadium setlist but an arena-stadium mix, in other words, Berlin was in for a treat. This was ever so wonderfully confirmed when Keith hit the opening chords of Can't You Hear Me Knocking. This one is a rare tune for a Greatest Hits show.
Everything went great and I thought I was witnessing the best stadium show ever, a terrific version of Sympathy (which made me yawn in Munich) rocked the stadium in Berlin, Street Fighting Man and Midnight Rambler on the B Stage...everything was so perfect until the guys came back to the main stage. Charlie and Keith TOTALLY (and i mean that) fucked up the beginning of Gimme Shelter (ever since the Giants Stadium gig in New York they first have Lisa singing to a canned piece of music and then Charlie and Keith start playing replacing the music coming from the tape). This time everything was different....Charlie started drumming completely out of time, then stopped again after a few beats when he realized what he was doing, then started again in time, everbody was waiting for Keith to play the famous riff intro but Keith's guitar was almost not audible. This really made the song horribly weak. Talking about Keith's guitar being not audible...this stayed for the rest of the show...turning hard rocking numbers like JJF into soul-kinda music with tons of brass and almost no guitar. You Got Me Rocking was just the same..Satisfaction kicked ass but not because of the guys but because every last person at the Olympic Stadium got out of their seats and sang along to the most famous song of all time. Well all in all it was a great show but the second part of the show was definitely not as good as the first part.
The Cranberries tried hard, but they couldn't win. Dolores was treated rather badly from some guys on Keith' side of the catwalk: When she went out and danced in front of them, a couple of guys were holding out 5-Euro notes towards here, some even threw them at her. As this was not table dancing, she refused the money and went on with the show. One of these guys was taken out by security later, don't know what for, but never saw him again, which was good.
When the Cranberries had finished, their roadies, after having cleaned the stage, shook hands with most of the Stones roadies, which was a nice gesture. It was their last show, so it was time for them to say goodbye.
When the Stones went on, there was posing as usual, Ronnie barely playing through Brown Sugar, but you could tell it was different this time, as this was the Hauptstadt, the German capital. This time they were playing hard and working hard to make it a good show. Not only the setlist was shuffled around a bit and mixed with an arena setlist, but you also could see the boys tried to stay in time and in tune. Although some accidents happened. "If you can't rock" me made a nice return to the setlist and I was hoping they would drop YGMR, but that was played later. Don't stop had a longer singalong-bit in the middle, we got CYHMK, which was great this time. Nikki had a setlist, but I avoided looking at it, waiting for the surprises. "Rocks off" was much better than in Munich, Wild Horses and YCAGWYW were ok, only a small Ronnie solo there. I aprreciated that they mentioned Daryll and let him do his IYCRM-solo on this stadium as well. Keith was playing hard, Ronnie tried to play most of the times and his solo in CYHMK was better than I heard before.
Keith did Slipping Away, a song I like very much but some others don't want to see played. I don't know why, it's a lovely melody and a lovely song and Keith does some nice guitar work on it.
The b-stage was something completely different: IORR was a bit messy, seems like they couldn't hear real well, as sometimes Keith was playing the chorus and Mick sang the verse, don't know who actually made the mistake. SFM was even more in shambles, the second half was just guitarchords, no real structure anymore to be heard. MR made them come back again, playing together, but this also was a lot of very loud and harsh guitar chords, seems like Keith lost his nerve on that one and tried to put all the pieces together. It would be interesting to hear what it sounds like on the bootlegs.
Charlie couldn't get the rhythm right on GS, but got it going after a false start and Satisfaction was a very long version, repeating the last bit over and over again. During Satisfaction, Keith moved out to the right and the tiptoed his way in front of the monitors for the FoS-section, stepped underneath the stairs and then came down just to greet the front row. They have done that a lot on other tours, but I hadn't seen it this time. He made his way in front of me, walked to the left and then climbed up again. Nice to see, looks like they are getTing in the mood for some audience reaction again.
The show was the bEtter show of the two, as compared to the Oberhausen show, although no Thru and Thru and no Rock me Baby, but also no LARS and no Angie.
Security was very tight, taking people out when they didn't move as security would have liked them to move, no pictures allowed at all. Yes, some stupidos were next to me as well who decided to dance on my toes, but I wasn't too worried by that. After the show was over, we made it to Gerd's car parked nearby to have some beer, before everyone went home to have some sleep.
I decided to go to Berlin. Here is my review. Stones started at about 8:50 with brown sugar. Not very strong, from my place there was a horrible sound. It´s always difficult in a stadium to have a good sound and it´s harder to have a good sound, when the stadium is a building site. Olympia-stadium at the moment is under construction. So the Stones came in the stadium by 2 vans, directly to the stage. Some kind of hard place to play. Weather was fine with some clouds, not too hot.
Here are my personal highlight:
Wild horses, the song I like the most was played on the 6. Then "You can´t always get what you want" was next. Sound
was getting better.
**** Slipping away: perfect and wonderful
**** Sympathy for the devil: the effects of fire and light
**** Midnight rambler on center stage my favorite in this concert I´m talking about the ............... Strong. You got to go.
**** Satisfaction I liked the version
Way back to the hotel. No problems, a nice policeman and a not overfilled tube. But sorry, Olympia-stadium at the moment is not the nicest place for a concert, but Berlin is wonderful. "Let your rock and roll out" was written on T-Mobile-posters for Berlin. So 59 000 did.
Viele liebe Grüße
Thanks to Günter Miculcy, Henri Huch and Torsten for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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