It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Darkness (warmup) : - 8:15pm The Rolling Stones : 8:50pm - 10:41pm
The Stones were on fire last night! Having seen them last way at the back at the huge outdoor stadium in Prague, last night's brilliantly close tickets (at a price!) made me realise exactly how much is lost if you are not close up at a Stones concert. You miss the interaction of the band, all the smiles, winks, fooling around, chatting etc, that just contributed to the Stones magic and makes them look as if they're just a group of friends having a laugh (which at the end of the day they are!) instead of the greatest rock and roll band in the world!
From the deliciously familiar opening chords of "Start Me Up" to the end of JJF, the Stones were at their best. They seemed to be loving it and there were many spontaneous solos and hugging between Keith and Ronnie.Mick said that they had been touring for a year now and this was their last indoor show and I think they really gave it everything.
Ronnie was on fine form and in my opinion, stole the show when he pranced and preened centre stage under the spotlight. The set was filled with unexpected treats, my boyfriend Hal was lucky enough to hear two of his favourite songs, namely Paint It Black and Dead flowers (Sticky Fingers was the album of choice) I held my breathe hoping that Keith would sing "Slipping Away" my favourite, as I had never heard it live, and he did, so sweetly and gently.. so a specail experience for us both.
Other highlights for me were a powerful, seemingly never ending rendition of "Can't you hear me knocking" "Brown Sugar" performed on the small, intimate B stage and a beautifully soulful, "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
Mick really whipped the generally responsive crowd up to a frenzy, I didn't stop dancing or take my eyes off the stage for the two hours. On that note, it never fails to amaze me how some people can SIT motionless through a stones concert, or leave to get a beer and a chocolate.. (and these were people who supposedly forked out £150 for their seat) weird..
AN unforgettable concert, the only bad thing being that awful sinking feeling that envellopes you when the lights come up and the music stops...
"Back to the show" as Keith says... The Stones changed the tracklist of last nightís concert compared to Saturday. They Started with Start Me Up and You Got Me Rocking was played just after Paint It Black. The Opener ĎStreet Fighting Maní moved to the B-stage where Little Red Rooster was nice to hear although the sound wasnít crystalclear. It was nice to see that Mick couldnít follow the words on Street Fighting Man and Keith pushed him saying... now you start again with the lines. Brown Sugar, what a song with Bobby Keys in the spotlight. You canít image how much energy I get from this song. The final encore was not Satisfaction but Jumping Jack Flash. I had hoped of 20 songs but 19 was just perfect in this Venue where the Stones played at a moment that I wasnít even born!
No more Licks for me in London but Iíll rock in Amsterdam next week!!!
Start Me Up kicked it off superbly, a nice change to Street Fighting Man (which returned later on the b-stage, apparently punch drunk. Mick missed the cue for the second chorus and it all went horribly wrong, with Keith giving Charlie a "you gotta keep paying attention" gesture). If You Can't Rock Me always takes me back to when I first heard it live in New York, which is a nice memory.
I couldn't help but think of absent Sticky Fingers obsessed fans as they started the featured album slot, and two gems Dead Flowers and then Bitch. You know you are in a good section when you are surrounded by VIP badges and heaving cleavage, but unfortunately it meant that they really didn't give a monkeys about the rarely performed songs and it made me feel like a bit of a geek. However everyone danced all night so I would take that over the "I might tap my foot if it gets really good" brigade.
I've not seen the boys so clearly enjoy themselves during a show either, plenty of smiles, Mick and Keith shaking and kissing hands on the last chord of one song. Favourite bit was Ronnie getting carried away at the end of Can't You Hear Me Knocking - Mick kind of pointed in his direction and laughed and Keith playful cuffed him when he got back to his spot, a far cry from Saturday when Mick did one of this "your not allowed out this far Ron" barges. Knocking was good but Bobby Keys fluffed near the end of his solo, and the curse of multiple shows is making comparisons, and Ronnie didn't match his superb solo from Manchester.
Keith almost got as far as making an after dinner speech prior to his set. "Nice weather we're having - I'm going home tomorrow" then "Slipping Away - I know I am" cue more cheering and clapping. "Stop it, I'm trying to think". God bless that man. Slipping Away was followed by Happy before Lucifer came back on stage. Tell me, is Sympathy for the Devil the right time to go and get your beer? You have to wonder about some people.
However having seemed to be really enjoy themselves they seemed to coast home. It was nothing but familiar songs on the stretch to the b-stage and then it seemed they couldn't raise their game again when they got there. I was so glad they did Little Red Rooster, so much better on the b-stage than the flashy version on Flashpoint, but someone missed a solo, Mick eventually calling for Ronnie to play him something. Brown Sugar got some of the impetus back and then Jumpin' Jack Flash is really just a "good night everybody" when I find myself reflecting on what has gone before and before you know it its all over and you're fighting for one more piece of merchandise before catching the train.
I have had the time of my life watching the mellowed and wise Stones on this tour. My favourite show has to be MSG on 16 Jan simply because it was a great show and it fulfilled a dream to see them play there. Music wise Midnight Rambler on the 18th Jan was amazing, I am still reliving that in my head. Can't You Hear Me Knocking in Manchester also stands out simply because it was Woodie's best solo and Keith was unusually prominent as well, and Mick's harp was superb. So is my rock and roll story going to be that I saw the Rolling Stones a total of (unlucky) 13 times and then never again. Its a bad omen - but not enough to make me want to go to Twickenham again.
The only negative point worth mentioning from the Saturday show was that it was so short. One hr and 45 minutes is not the standard that we have come to know and expect. I put it down to the fact there was no long song on the bill at all. But the songs were great, especially Wild Horses, Street Fighting Man and Paint It, Black.
On Monday night they really cooked! I could not believe how unique it was being so close to the B-Stage. They are standing so lowdown and looking right at you! It was simply amazing to see the interplay, the eye contact, the touching for the cues, and the head nods when they need to know something. Yes, Mick blew the lines in Street Fighting Man, but Keith fixed him up by motioning for him to sing the high part again. Then after a quite long Brown Sugar, Bobbie appeared to say to Keith "that was the best fucking version!" Keith smiled and nodded at him. I could not have agreed more. It was awesome to behold.
Other highlights from both shows were the already mentioned inclusion of Paint It, Black. Following on the heels of Sympathy for the Devil it was a great one-two punch. On Monday, Ronnie's solo on Can't You Hear Me Knocking was wonderfully drawn out. The three movie cameras in the middle of the arena on both nights were sure to be following it closely and I think it deserves to be on the DVD that is soon to be released.
I thought a few weeks ago that Keith was having problems playing his solos. Well, I have to now eat my words, because on the evidence of these two shows there was zero indication that it is the case. He hit them bang on, and along with the characteristic knee bends, falling down motions and exaggerated arm bends, Keith was on top of his game both nights at Wembley. He appeared to really be relaxed and enjoying playing before the hometown crowd. Mick also apologized for changing the date of the first concert, and then on Monday, he said that it was the final indoor show of the tour. He smiled a big grin with that line!
This finishes my Licks concerts - 11 in total. I can't believe that the year has gone by so quickly. Let's hope there is either a continuation in the new year or a brand new tour that follows the expected new album. The band is cooking on all cylinders, not throwing in the towel, and they simply can't leave us now. Thanks to the Stones for the best concert year of my life!
Thanks to Iris NŲlle-Hornkamp for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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