It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Pretenders (warmup) : 8:35pm - 9:25pm The Rolling Stones : 10:25pm - 12:30am
My ticket said show start 22:00 which means 10pm. That would mean the Pretenders on stage at 10pm, and the Stones on close to midnight. But I thought it was strange, so I walked down the hill a bit earlier, and was there by 6:30pm. The doors had still not opened, but it was like 800 people on the Keith side entrance, which was closest to where most people arrived, and then there were just 200 or so people at the other side. I stayed there, and 15 minutes later they opened the doors. Also, they opened another door, and with less than 20 people on that door I was inside in 5 minutes.
Inside they had the front pit system, but they did not have any special tickets for it. My ticket was 40 Euro, for the floor, general admission anywhere. I was running like crazy to make it inside before they closed it, remembering in 1998 some times the front pit was full in 10 minutes. Well not for Madrid for sure! The Keith side was closed after an hour or so, and the Ronnie side was not full until 45 minutes later, at 8:45pm. By then the Pretenders had been on for 10 minutes already. The lesson from this is simple: If they have such a system other places, then go for the other side if you meet a closed front pit. May be the other one is closing later. And the wristband is the same, so you can go any place once you have it. Tonight it was dark green, same one as in Circus Krone and Leipzig, actually.
The Pretenders played well, a great set, 10 minutes longer than in Bilbao. A new ballad was great. Chrissie Hynde thanked Mick, Keith, Charlie and Bobby Keys. And also Ronnie, as if she almost forgot about him...
It was +35 C in the day, but luckily we got some clouds by 5pm or so, and the temperature dropped to below 30, helping a lot for survival in the heat. And inside we had sun shelter from the venue. The entire Ronnie side was in the shade. Still, the "Mahou" beer, actually from the big brewery one block away, was sold in a big volume, also lots of water, due to the heat.
It was dark when they started. And the venue was pretty full. Just like in Bilbao, the crowd went wild as Keith was on stage, and even wilder when Mick arrived few seconds later. "Start Me Up" was a great sing-a-long song, and as it finished, Mick said Hola Madrid!, and they started "You Got Me Rocking", as the monitors slowly rotated into position from behind the stage, first with Mick on the left one and Keith on the right one, then two more with Charlie and Ronnie. The crowd got loud and they loved seing the Stones in large scale! Then everybody was singing "oe-oe-oe-oe oe-oe", and Mick was singing along too.
"Don't Stop" was mega-popular. Everybody knew it, and everybody was singing along. Ronnie having the camera fixed to his guitar made some great pictures on the screen, great visuals.
"Angie". Thousands of lighters in the stadium lit for the mood. And thousands of people singing "Angie". Mick did not have to sing any words at all for the first verse... Same with "You Can't Always...". Everybody singing along.
The greatest song of the night was for sure "Midnight Rambler". Keith made some excellent guitar playing, and Mick was all over the stage dancing all through the song. He did all the dance steps I have seen before plus some new ones. I did not have time to see any Flamenco shows here in Madrid, but Mick gave me all the dancing I needed. I think the better crowd, the more dancing... And then it was a great temperature of course, still may be +25 C.
The crowd got more quiet during the Keith set. But we got a bonus in "Happy", as Keith decided to do an extra verse. Ronnie was already standing up from his stool, and he had placed his special guitar lying there, when Keith started Happy again. So Ronnie played his bit standing, with the guitar lying on the stool. It was great!
"Street Fighting Man" on the small stage. Just like "Rambler". Lots of dancing again. And an excellent version. Mick, Ronnie and Keith were all over the stage; to both sides, to the back, we got them wherever we were. "Like A Rolling Stone" was another crowd pleaser with a fantastic song-a-long. Then the last five songs I won't even mention, because they were played loud, great, with emotions, and with power. And again Keith is proving that his guitar is the edge and the raw power of the Stones. Like on "Satisfaction" the entire crowd went nuts as he started it up with his famous riffs. Any other song would be "slow" compared to "Satisfaction" tonight.
Just 19 songs, you say? Satisfied for sure, I say!
The band seemed to be as a youg boys although they are in their sixties..... Start me up, You got me rocking...it was a rock ´n roll party. Everybody were singing, jumping, exciting....The stadium was full crowded and the band knew that Madrid was a special venue. Mick said some words in spanish and the show continued with some romantic songs (Angie, You can´t always get what you want). But They wanted a loud show and they get it. Midnight Rambler was amazing. Ronnie and Keith played as if devil was into their bodies...and what can we say about Charlie. Perfect.
Then, Tumbling Dice and Keith solo songs...Happy!!! I thought that he played Slipping Away but I prefer this one. Sympathy for the Devil was very hot.... with the hell´s fire above Madrid. Incredible.l The B-Stage was for Mannish Boy, S.Fighting Man and Like a Rolling Stone. We all in the stadium were a Rolling Stone that night. Gimme Shelter (thank you Lisa), It´s only Rock ´n roll, Honky Tonk, Satisfaction, Jumping Jack....The songs of the life. The life of the people.The people of the Rollig Stones...the greatest rock´n roll band. Thank you Mick, Keith, Ronnie, Charlie. We will never forget you. I hope see you soon in Madrid or whereever.
Thanks to Joelle Bonnet for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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