It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Pretenders (warmup) : ....pm - 6:25pm AC/DC (warmup) : 6:55pm - 8:25pm The Rolling Stones : 9:15pm - 11:20pm
Leipziger Volkszeitung is printing some great pre-show information today, including a Stones characteristics drawing, great one, and also a report about how the stage is being built, including all the technical details of tons, sizes etc, as presented by Jake Berry at a separate press meeting in Leipzig. See links below. The Rolling Stones have 3 stages moving around. The stage being used for Leizig is coming from Oberhausen, and it will move on to Madrid. The city is full of Stones fans, of course, and unlike Oberhausen, there are not so many AC/DC fans to be seen in the city. But there were many at the show... --- IORR/Bjornulf
From the show:
Great show! I just heard The Pretenders from outside. AC/DC seemed to have the same set as in Oberhausen. And Angus did his "strip show" identical as well. It was windy and awfully cold in Leipzig, not really any sign of tomorrow being the longest day of the summer... But the Stones warmed us, and the propane driven flames during "Sympathy" made us warm as well. What a great version of "Rock Me Baby" we got. I was totally paralyzed. Right there and then I forgot all about this unpleasant, cold and dirty field, as I was dreaming my way into the blues club. And right as they finished an additional verse, I just arrived back to the Festwiese. What a trip! And Honky Tonk Women was another great gift. Not a song I am crazy to get, but with Crissie Hynde it is just perfect. She does actually fit perfect both with Mick and with Keith. I just have to get there early to see all of The Pretenders next time... Before show start I said to myself: Never again, no more field shows, but as I walked out into the Leipzig night after the show with a smile on my face I knew how wrong I had been about field shows, as usual. --- IORR/Bjornulf
PS. Walking to the B-stage:
The soundtrack they are playing while walking to the B-stage is "Rose Rouge" by the french nu-house project "St Germain". It can be found on their CD "Tourist" from 2000. Thanks to Henri Huch for this info!
What a concert, what a band! It’s not matter of taste. It’s rock feeling, it’s rock diahronism (not nostalgia), it’s rock soul, it’s rock triumph! The only (but “big”…) problem is that every night the “boys” are playing 20 songs. I need atleast 50! O, yeah, “Honky Tonk Women” with noices of …women. Seems …fair and turns to something like rule: In Madison Square Garden (Jenuary) with Sheryl, now with Crissie. Nice rule.
Fortunally, In Europe Stones are playing in stadiums! I love stadium venues more than arena’s and club’ s shows. It’s amazing to be a “family” with 65.000 people. Rock has nothing to do with agoraphobia. That’ s my opinion. Tell me, when we discover that rock loses itself in big venues? Four dacades from Monterey, Woodstock and Hyde Park ?
Saw them in Munich Stadium (seat, rubbish sound), Circus Crone (forget the Circus as competitor: outstanding, unbelievable…), Berlin Stadium (FoS – sound brilliant) and Leipzig (FoS - perfect) –– Leipzig was definitely the very best show of the remaining three. All together the event of three really good performers is hard to survive. AC/DC gave a really strong support – a show worth to join for itself, but they could’nt steal the show! Stones are fit to top them.
My highlights: Wild Horses – Mick is in great condition with voice, Rock my Baby – 4 guitars, 4 guys which loved to jam! Thru and Thru – heard it first time live, Keith was really so strong tonight.
All together worthwhile to be pressed like a sardine when entering the field. The audience in Leipzig was rather lazy – it was a mix of AC/DC and Stones fans – one didn’t party for the others band I guess. The general organisation with the Front of Stage tickets is not a good idea in my opinion. Last tour front of stage was hard work: waiting 10 am to 4 pm, running as a devil, waiting 5 to 9 for band. Only hard core fans were next to stage. Today half of the crowd in front didn’t run but just bought tickets…
See you in Hockenheim!
Like Bjørnulf I couldn´t see Pretenders, but had to listen to their whole set in a very huge and slow queue outside the ground. This could perhaps have been organized in a better way. It wasn´t the first rock show in Leipzig and with 65.000 coming along one would perhaps have expected a few more open gates. But once inside the way to “front of stage” was very smooth and without any problems from very kind security-people. I was standing “left-side” and was amazed how much free space there was. It seemed that the “right side” was crowded however. But left side was good tonight, because Keith would appear to stay there for almost half of the concert. Well, this may of course not be mathematically correct. Just my impression.
AC/DC played a very good set. It was my first concert with Angus & Co. since the seventies. I always somehow liked this band very much. It´s very simple. But it´s honest. It´s rude, but with nice touch of humour. They played and performed what to some extent could be described as a greatest hits-show. One and a half hour of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap mixed with TNT and other explosives on the Highway to Hell for those about to rock. And they saluted us with their well-known canons. Very much like a 12-year old show I have on video. But still great to watch. They created a great atmosphere up front. Not every Stones-fan got excited, but a majority of us really dug their show. Moved our feet and body. And sang along.
The Stones kicked off a bit routine-like with Brown Sugar and Start me up. Bobby´s Sugar-sax was – like in Olympiahalle – not to be heard as it should. Otherwise the sound was brilliant from the very beginning. Very clear even though it was quite windy. Don´t Stop is really improving these days. And interesting to notice how many cheers it gets. Before they play it ! All Down the Line was just perfect. The pleasant personal surprise for me. Wild Horses next. Time to emphasize how great Mick is singing these days. It´s really possible that he´s never been better. That´s my claim anyway.
YCAGWYW was the next beauty followed by the hilarious wild, funny, energetic, excellent Rock Me Baby. What I hoped for when buying the tickets just after April fools day. Ronnie and Angus duck-walking all over. Keith and Angus with concentrated big smiles. Certainly one of the highlights of this tour never to be forgotten. Hard to follow ? No. They stormed into one of the best versions of Tumbling Dice. After the intros we had a stunning version of Thru and Thru and a solid version of Happy. Already by now Ronnie was once again becoming my hero of the night, but how anyone can seriously contemplate that Keith is having problems these days is simply beyong my belief. He was outstanding at Festwiese. Played all his solos. Very well indeed. Performing Thru and Thru with a feeling that made me feel all alone with him and his song. And JJF was just Keith at his best. Alright he did hit a “new” note at the speed of a split second in the beginning of Satisfaction. And so bloody what ?
Sympathy made us all feel literally warm again. It was getting a bit chilly. I won´t go into details with the whole stage set-up. Should be kept secret for those of you who hasn´t been at an open-air Licks-show yet. The B-stage still seems to be a secret for many people. It´s so unbelievable easy to almost get on that stage without doing anything but to move at the right moment. But the sound ? Well, physics law do indeed dictate that there are differences to what you see and what you hear. I´m not an expert, but it did seem as if the Stones themselves had problems, which they worked out in a rehearsal-manner way. Just counting and Keith dictating “one more time” to the others. It worked, and it was great to witness. No B-stage Midnight Rambler this time, but that´s why I got more shows coming up.
The interval from B-stage back to Gimmie Shelter worked perfectly with Lisa already warming up to start this great song while the boys are walking back. Chrissie Hynde on HTW ? Well, I do prefer Lisa. No hard feelings though. It was still a great version. The three great classics at the end don´t need any further comments this time around. But Charlie´s small dance-steps before the last bows was just another evidence of a band in great shape. It was time to get a beer and a midnight meal. Mick apparently was still partying at his hotel when I passed by coincidence at around two o´clock. Leipzig was still awoke with Stones-fans. 21 hours since my day started in Copenhagen. Still smiling though. Even when I woke up after 5 hours of sleep. That´s why you´ve been reading this.
After AC/DC had kicked ass one was to believe that the Stone might not be able to top that. But, believe me, they did. They started strong with Brown Sugar and Start Me Up, solid versions of If You Can't Rock Me and Don't Stop and a really good version of All Down The Line. Wild Horses was soooo romantic and Mick had the first highlight of the night. You Can't as a great sing-a-long gave the party the rigth feeling. Then Rock Me Baby - for my impression the highlight of that night. What a joy, what a lust for music came from the stage - it was unbelievable. Ronnie clowning with Angus and Mick shouting like in the Seventies. I'm still impressed how much fun millionairs can have on stage.
Tumbling Dice in a great version, so was Thru and Thru. So impressive and bone-hard but melancholic as well. Happy started the "best-of" section I thought. Sympathy gave me right (why do they always leave out the third verse???). But then: Mannish Boy. Never heard that song live. I just loved it. YGMR and SFM rocked the crowd around the small stage. Back to the main stage the Stones avoided the mistake they made in Berlin: they kept rocking as wild. Rarely saw them rocking that much in half an hour. Gimme Shelter with two outstanding singers, Honky Tonk Women with the aweful Chrissie Hynde (she's a good singer but messed up all the way). Very intensive versions both songs.
IORR wasn't that strong but Satisfaction gave the term to anybody on the field. What an intensive and extraordinary version!!! Even better than in Berlin, and that says a lot. The encore JJFlash just blowed my brain out. Mick Jagger - you are the real god among all entertainers in the world. And have you ever seen Keith dancing with his telecaster? Folks, he did! Didn't believe my eyes. What a final of an outstanding, super rock show! I will take that concert in my remembrance for ever: as one of the best - if not the say the very best - show I ever attended.
Now to the concert:
The Intro started and the crowd went wild.Just a few moments later Keith walked onstage and they did a great version of Brown Sugar and also a very good one of Start Me Up.Then a short break.Mick told the audience: "Es ist schön wieder in Leipzig zu sein" (It´s nice to be back in Leipzig) Then the first surprise for me: If You Can´t Rock Me, I´ve nerver heard that song before. Don´t Stop was a good sing-along song. Then the next surprise: All Down The Line in a totally great version. Then they slowed down with Wild Horses and YCAGWYW. They played Rock Me Baby again with Angus and Malcolm. TD and the band introduction were next.
Keith did Thru and Thru (first time for me) and Happy. Mick was back at SFTD with lots of fire. Then down to the b-stage and right into Mannish Boy (great song), YGMR and SFM.
After the b-stage they walked back to the main stage with Gimme Shelter.Keith had nearly fallen down, because he shook hands. Then HTW with Crissie Hynde from The Pretenders. The crowd sang along the whole song.Mick asked: "Wollt ihr mehr?" (Do you want a little bit more?) We got IORR and Satisfaction and JJ Flash as encore.
It was the best field show I´ve ever seen. Maybe they could change IORR to CYHMK. But it was a open air show and we´ve got a stadium/arena mixed setlist.
When everybody had arrived, we took the bus and the tram to the Festwiese and tried to get in. Another queue! They had no idea to get poeple into the site, so it took us nother hour to just move 50 m. I never knew what that line was for, because no-one semmed to properly check our bags. It was just odd, a nuisance. We missed the start of the Pretenders set by waiting in the queue, which did not seem to move at all. This town wants to host the 2012 olympic games? No way! You better start queueing now to get in in time for the opening ceremony. I hated it, honestly.
When we got into the site at last, it took us some more time to go round the field to Ronnie's side, front of stage. We made it to a place somewhere along the catwalk, just halfway between the stage and the b-stage. The weather didn't know if it should stay sunny or not, some drops of rain, but nothing serious. But the wind was bad, really bad. A rather cold and chilly wind got up and stayed on all evening.
We saw the last 15 minutes of the Pretenders. Hmmm, not bad, but also nothing to ramble on about, just a nice support act, although it's mostly Chrissie Hynde, the others don't matter. She introduced one song as being sung for Keith, waiting in the wings, but I doubt that the Stones were actually on the ground by that time...
AC/DC were on next, same set as in Oberhausen, but Angus did not go out as much as he did in Oberhausen. Listening to AC/DC is one thing, seeing them is something else. There is no real action on the stage, bass and rhythm guitar next to the drums, only stepping up for backing vocals and then back to their place, Brian running around and "singing" a lot and Angus dominating it all with his non-verbal communication with the audience. Interesting to watch for the first time, but a bit boring for the second time in 7 days. The AC/DC fans loved it, but I was a bit bored.
After AC/DC, most of their fans moved out of the FoS, giving more room, so we could go to the front a bit more. Lost of pics were taken, as there was not really somebody enforcing the "strictly no pics" rule on the ground.
The Stones were just fine, perfectly played their songs, really good acoustics, not a lot of mistakes. OK; it was a show for the province, rather short, but very well played and everything seemed to fit. Even when they came out you could tell that this was going to be a good one.
I loved "If you can't rock me" being played again for a Greatest Hits show, this song always sends me back to the 70ies. ADTL was another extra that we do not get too often on field shows. Rock me Baby was a bit better than in Oberhausen, Angus being the big star of the song. Even when Ronnie wanted to solo, Angus stepped in and did it, he was everywhere with his fingers, Ronnie just gave in. Malcolm moved a bit more than before, but wasn't really up there to "make show", just solid playing. You could tell that the Stones loved it as well. Thru and Thru was better in Oberhausen, clearer guitar sound, vocals a bit more up to the millisecond, but wasn't bad either in Leipzig. I just loved to hear the song again and Keith seemed to like it as well up there.
Keith re-started Happy after he finished it, so everybody went into another verse, which was lovely to see. And it was good to have Mannish Boy again after hearing it in Munich Olympic Halle. Not playing the Rambler on the b-stage was another surprise. SFM was sharp and up to the point, Charlie just banged away on the drums at the end. much better than in Berlin, were the song got lost somewhere along the line.
Another nice surprise was Chrissie coming out for HTW; but you could tell that this wasn't rehearsed before, she sang her verse and then followed Mick around, tried to copy his moves. He even took her hand at some time, taking her to the right wing of the stage. It all looked shy and reluctant from Chrissie's side, much better than Mrs. Crow or is is Crowe. ;-)
The finale was just that, nicely done, but the confetti avoided us again, as the wind took other directions. The show was perfetly played, a bit short for my liking, but better than in Berlin, although Berlin had got a more interesting setlist. But it all fell into place in Leipzig, in Berlin they had to work hard and got lost at some point in some songs.
After the show we met some folks, had some beer nearby and then made it to our bungalows with the tram and a lot of walking, as there were no buses left. There were lots of folks from the show there and you could hear AC/DC being played even at 3 in the morning, when we went to bed.
All in all: I would have made a mistake by not going to Leipzig and I am glad that I did in the end, but getting in and out of the field and town is just a matter in its own. Be prepared for an ordeal if they ever play Leipzig again.
Thanks to Joelle Bonnet for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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