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It's Only Rock'n Roll

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Tell Me

The Rolling Stones
Rod Laver Arena
Melbourne, Australia
Tuesday Feb. 25, 2003

The set list

  1. Start Me Up
  2. It's Only Rock'n Roll
  3. If You Can't Rock Me
  4. Don't Stop
  5. Rocks Off
  6. Wild Horses
  7. Dead Flowers
  8. Bitch
  9. Gimme Shelter
  10. Tumbling Dice
    --- Introductions
  11. Slipping Away
  12. Before They Make Me Run
  13. Sympathy For The Devil
  14. Honky Tonk Women
  15. Can't You Hear Me Knocking
  16. Satisfaction
  17. When The Whip Comes Down (B-stage)
  18. Like A Rolling Stone (B-stage)
  19. Brown Sugar (B-stage)
  20. Jumping Jack Flash (encore)

Show time: 9:25pm - 11:30pm

Review by Roberto De Tuoni (Holland)

After 2 Superdome gigs which I thought belonged to Keith, tonight the whole band was on fire. We had a tight If you can't rock me, a superb Wild Horses, a thunderous Gimme Shelter. I had one of the best moment of my Stones carreer when, after Slipping Away, I shouted for Before they make me run from my second row place and Keith answered me "You got it out just off of my mouth" and just started playing it. I thought the stage was a bit lower compared to Sydney and permitted me to see the whole Charlie for the first time ever, let apart the club gigs. The crowd was maybe a bit more involved compared to Sydney, though whoever was on the tribune, just sat down most of the concert, even when the Stones were treating them with a mean version of Sympathy for the Devil, but being up front I didn't mind so much. The enthousiasm of all those who were lucky to be upfront in this fantastic gig and being close to my friends made it a special night to remember. We are looking forward to Thursday, 5th concert in Oz.

Review by Leo T. Ishac Melbourne

My main band is Led Zeppelin and of course the recent collaboration of Page/Plant in the 90�s. The Stones take the next peg on my fave bands and you�d have to be a mug to miss any of their Oz concerts especially considering the venues they are playing in this time compared to the large open air stadiums they played to in 1995. The venues this time round are more intimate and the expected sound and experience should prove to be more enjoyable. After last nights performance I�d say the high priced tickets are definitely well worth each and every cent that I paid out.

I went to the show with a friend who�s main band are in deed The Stones and he had a fixed smile on his face all month since acquiring tickets to all the shows and he�s probably still smiling this morning. We arrived early to get a good car spot then take our time to sponge up the atmosphere. As we approached the venue I noticed that there was a strange gathering of people in long lines a short distance from the main steps which I had never seen before at past concerts. It soon became evident that the events of 9/11 and the official stance Australia is taking on Iraq has led to new and tighter security measures being enacted for all major events in this country. What I saw was a new barricade that featured a row of about 8 security people doing Metal Detector checks on each and every person. They were very thorough and obviously took their task seriously as no one got through without a proper body check. Though reassuring to see it was a bit of a feeling of a loss of innocence. The times they are a changin��.for the worse.

Once inside we took our time to get to our seats. At around 8.15pm we were in our position and I started to visually take the whole stage set in. My first impressions were that the stage was very sparse with no elaborate props. Minimal lighting and colour. This I liked, as I personally prefer the music and artist to catch my attention rather than man made theatrical props and distractions. The large visual screens that most acts tend to use these days do help those sitting far back to get a close eye view of the act but I prefer to focus on the live person no matter how small they look at that is a live experience. If I wanted to watch close ups on a screen I�d go and buy a DVD. The only contradiction to this was the camera placed on Ron Wood�s guitar. That was a nice touch and well worth viewing the big screen.

The support act walked out and immediately they went into a riff that sounded very familiar to me. It was Led Zepp�s �The Ocean�. After about 30 seconds of that familiar arrangement they then went into their own song. As they continued to play their set I picked up at least 5 songs where they played other artists riff�s and incorporated them into their own songs. My friend missed what they were playing but I couldn�t help but pick up on traces of Zepp, The Who, Backmann Turner Overdrive and Ac/DC just to name a few. They were good and in fact damn good but I had a small smile on my face watching them virtually play their set with brief references of past bands as well as playing their whole set exactly where they stood. Considering they were less that half the age of The Stones they hardly made any bodily movements. One or two short paces left and right but that was it. I knew that the main act to follow them and who could easily draw a pension were going to cover the whole stage and do so probably 100 times in their set! Jagger and co. would give any other act half their age a certain run for their money to cover the whole stage many times over as they make contact with their audience.

At around 9.32pm The Stones hit the stage and for the next 2 hours we were presented with the consummate Rock �N� Roll act that ever lived and survived and still continues to survive and re-invent itself. The performance was nothing less than note perfect. One could not expect anything less from a bunch of UK lads who had lived and rocked together for so many decades. It was like watching a well-oiled machine. One would be hard pressed to find any flaws or mistakes in the set as this was rock being played at it�s refined best. The raw edge sound that can be heard from their earlier concerts from 1973 are not there anymore. One could be forgiven for comparing this performance and sound to that of an Opera. During an opera performance you have formal structure and precise arrangements and time frames. The Stones played their set in such perfect structure that it was like watching them doing it by the numbers. Their sound was very clinically picture perfect. The fact is these lads are more at ease on a stage and once they are in their environment they take to it like water to a duck. Considering they have spent more time on stage than they have done anything else it�s no wonder that their sets these days can be compared to an opera. Not musically but the formality and professional structure of the performance.

The sound system was excellent as can be expected with any Stones concert and a venue of this quality but if I have to make one criticism it�s this. The sound emanating from the overhead speaker system wasn�t pushing out a defined true stereo sound. The mix was lost a bit and it had nothing to do with the venue. I felt that Jagger�s vocals were lost a bit in the first part of the show and especially the bulk of the set on the main stage. The sound just didn�t �breath� as it should have giving us a bit of clarity of each instrument. It was loud but not too loud and there was a big noticeable difference of sound and quality emanating from the two different stages. The set performed on the main stage was at the correct overall sound level but as I�ve stated already the mix just wasn�t right. However the set performed on the smaller stage was a sharp contrast! The sound level was noticeably louder and probably a touch too loud but the mix was astoundingly much better! This time the mix was perfect and a true stereo sound was being broadcast around the venue, which made this set much more enjoyable. The vocals and instruments were each clearly defined and one wonders why this set sounded so much better than that performed on the main stage. Obviously the sound mix for both stages were set differently by the sound engineer and one wonders why the main stage sound fell down a bit in my opinion. The difference was like night and day to my ears and if I had to make any complaint about last nights experience it would be only that.

Overall it was an exhilarating Stones performance and experience and one that I know will be repeated for the next gig as I count the hours down.

In the press:

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.

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