It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show time: 9:30pm - 11:25pm
Another great show in Melbourne. As the first Melbourne show was so loud, I had brought earplugs for tonight, but when they did Ruby Tuesday, I had to take out those earplugs for a while!
27-feb-03 - 11:55pm
Many are talking about their disappointment with the setlist. While Ruby Tuesday was great to hear, we've heard it on previous tours, though certainly not a regular. We're still getting that core of about fifteen songs played every show, so there's not much room for surprise. The Stones have said they lose the audience when they play rarities -- but I say how about reaching some sort of compromise to placate the fans that follow you around the world. Some regulars I spoke with said they feel things are getting stale. Let's hope that when they head to Europe they get a little more daring. It hurts to think the boys could be perceievd as boring. Sure, they sound phenomenal, but when you're playing mostly the same songs every single show, it's hard not to. All this said, I still get shivers every time they burst onto the stage!
Following the extremely loud show on Tuesday, I brought earplugs for this show. Sure I should use them for every show, but usually they don't play that loud.
The crowd loved the opening with "Street Fighting Man" and "Start Me Up", but as I was looking around, it seemed like most people were sitting down through the entire show. The people on the floor however were all on their feet all through the show. But you don't have to stand to enjoy a show. To me it sounded like everybody was having a great time.
As "Monkey Man" went on without Lisa, I was sure she had a cold and could not make it for tonight. She might have been off-stage for the first few songs like the set list say, but I did not hear her voice.
Ruby Tuesday was great. The moment I heard the intro my earpluge were gone. I just had to get this song pure and clean, absolutely no degeneration of the sound. They might play it every night, I would not mind. But like with all great songs, it feels like it is over shortly after it is starting.
"You Can't Always Get What You Want". And Lisa is out to sing. Nothing wrong with her voice for sure. May be she was running late. She is changing hair style every night. Tonight she has got the new short hear, the real one I believe, while the Tuesday show featured a large afro style hair, and before that a Tina Turner look.
Mindnight Rambler was to be the 10 minutes song tonight. The band was collected in front of Charlie for most of the song, like that was all the space they had and needed. Ronnie, Keith and Darryl were all shoulder by shoulder playing Rambler. This gives you the club feel even if it is on the big stage. Mick did some great dancing. Even the dancing on Out Of Control is nothing compared to what he did tonight, as he kind of duck-walked and danced his way with great gestures all the way towards us on the far Keith side. Also, he made a lot of eye contact, which is great. He may still throw all his guitar picks onto the stage rather than into the crowd like Keith and Ronnie does, but catching Mick's eyes is great these days.
Mick kept dancing and driving the show hard. It seemed like he never got tired tonight.
"Mannish Boy" on the B-stage was raw and real. And finally we got a true combination that makes Like A Rolling Stone redundant: IORR and Brown Sugar. Again it was hot around the small stage. Mick played to his daughter who was sitting in front of the small stage, and he was even more wild than usual, showing his best bits.
Satisfaction was the encore. And as the final bow appeared, I realized how great the show must have been to everybody in the crowd. Nobody wanted to leave. Imagine 14,000 people standing, making an ovation, crying for more, and as the Stones have just left the building, they simply turn on the lights. Someone should have called them back for another encore tonight. Such a great crowd deserves another encore.
But we will have to wait until Saturday, when the Stones will give us another 20 or so songs before they leave Melbourne for Brisbane.
The Stones just started where they finished last Tuesday, with the same groove and energy, but with a totally different set list. I thought yesterday's was Mick's night. He worked hard to excite a sleeping crowd and deserve any credit as the best front man in rock's history. Anybody else would have got depressed facing the Melbourne crowd, but he jumped, shook his body and came out with some amazing falsetto scream during Monkey man and Rambler. He tried twice to have the crowd singing along during You can't always get what you want, which was the turning point in Sydney, but the reaction was rather pathetic. I was on second row in Ronnie's side, but I felt like in a wax museum, being the only one jumping, singing and wawing my Dutch flag. Keith did a superb TaT and a rocking Happy, and I looked with envy at Keith side of the crowd on their feet having a good time. On Ronnie's side almost everybody was seating down, including a good 2 thirds of the front row! To these people I say: stay home and watch a DVD! For how much I loved this country and the kindness of the people, I suggest a good rock education to the local school system before the Stones come back touring.
I particularly liked the b-stage. I think Like a rolling stone is redundant in a Stones concert. They can do a good version, but Mick doesn't have the sneer and moral authority of Bob Dylan in singing it and they have so many great songs to play in this intimate part of the set, like Mannish boy, which brought some memories back from MSG last September, or IORR, which I think works better on the small stage.
A final line about the Stones behaviour on Stage: having said of the amazing Mick, and not forgetting Charlie keeping the beat like a "deasel drumming", Keith remained a lot at the back and didn't move around as much as in previous gigs (I cannot complain though, having slapped hands with him at the b-stage), but Ronnie made up for it. He was nutter than usual, having a lot of eye contact and chatting with some guys at the side of the stage (the only 5-6 people standing on teh side seats) and with me at the front. Mick got even a bit annoyed at his showmanship at the beginning of Ruby tuesday and Ronnie's response was a funny mimicking of him as soon as he started singing. He might be a nut case, but we love him. In nights like this, being in front of Ron Wood is just priceless.
One cannot compare this Stones performance to those of the early 70’s as that period had it’s own distinct sounds but certainly for a performance in modern times last nights event goes down in my books as the top two concerts I have experienced in the last 20 odd years. And yes, it stands side by side with Page/Plant’s 2nd Sydney gig. It’s hard to explain in words why this performance was so distinct from the 1st night but it was, and for those of us who frequent concerts we all tend to get a feel overtime for those few rare concerts which leave a lasting impression on us. The vibes that came out of that arena from the very start to the conclusion of that show overflowed with a sense that we were indeed witnessing one of those few rare concerts that will be relived many times over in the future. The 14,000 odd guests who were there I’m sure would agree on my assertions.
The group of family and friends that I went with all came away with the exact same conclusion that this set was one out of the box from start to finish. The audience certainly seemed to thoroughly enjoying this show much more than on the 1st night. It had nothing to do with the numbers they played or didn’t play; it was just a feeling that this night’s performance overflowed with that very rare sense of raw, out on the edge rock performances that we very rarely get to see these days. The band did appear more relaxed and appeared to play with more passion and not as precise and structured as on the 1st night. Whereas the 1st night was note perfect and faultless it didn’t lift up to that next level of being rated a long lasting memorable performance, as it appears the 2nd night has. My friends and myself all agreed that the 1st night was certainly a great performance and not surprising considering the professionalism that the Stones exude, but we also fully agree that this 2nd night held our attention and senses as we witnessed the true Greatest Rock N Roll band that has endured decades of changes. We all can talk about which numbers should have been played and which ones should not have been, but in this instance the overall performance left all and sundry satisfied that we got more than what we paid for. Yes, it would have been great to see more encore’s and a longer set but that’s an analysis and reflection we make after a concert has finished but I’m going by the feeling I and others around me had during the actual concert. We all agreed that it was everything we ever wanted and much more.
The sound system this night was again the only area where I’d be a bit critical. This time the sound from the main stage set was a tad louder than on the 1st night. So much so that our chests were thumping as the band rocked away. The mix again was slightly lost because of the volume and the stereo sound was not as clear at it could have been. The vocals weren’t buried in the mix as much as it was on the 1st night but still it could have been improved a bit. However the sound from the small stage was at the precise output level and mix. In all aspects it was picture perfect for a total aural experience. My friends and I all commented and agreed that it would have been amazing to see the whole concert from just the small stage as it would have been more intimate and also the sound was more spectacular. Having said that, the sound overall never distracted us from the total enjoyment of the performance and it’s just a comment made on reflection.
I told my brother and his girlfriend who went to last night’s gig that they were very lucky to have acquired tickets to the 2nd night’s concert and not the 1st as he had only intentions of going to one concert. He missed out on getting tickets for the 1st night, which at the time annoyed him, but he easily managed to buy a ticket for the 2nd gig. What was an initial disappointment has now become a lasting and memorable bit of luck! Of course had he attended the 1st night no doubt they would have been satisfied but if he had heard me rave about the 2nd night then he maybe would have been a bit peeved for not buying that extra ticket.
Once again the Stones prove to their fans and critics why they have endured for such a long time in one of the most unforgiving industries. There are not many bands around who could put out one tenth of a performance as the Stones did on the 1st Melbourne gig and certainly I could count on my left hand only a small number of artists who could deliver a set like that I experienced last night. Many critics keep asking the same old stupid question as to when will the Stones retire. Well, as long as the lads continue to have the same fire and passion for writing and performing great music I’d say to these same critic’s to go and get yourself a job where you could give many 1000’s of people around the world as much pleasure as what The Stones do!
One wonders what highlights Saturday will bring.
The show was awesome. In comparison to the 1995 stadium show, I think the music was much tighter and more professional but I do think the band, and especially Mick, works better on the really big stage in the arenas. Ronnie played noticably better this time and there is no doubt the band is improving with time. They continue to push our perceptions of what a rock and roll band should be and how long they should play.
With such a huge song history, there was no pleasing everyone. I really wanted to hear Miss You but was not at all disappointed it didn't make the show list really. It was a good mix of old fav's, new stuff and some bluesy lesser known numbers (ie. Mannish Boy).
Great stuff. Long may they roll.
Thanks to Jaime Castaneda for photos!
Rod Laver Arena photo by Bjørnulf Vik.
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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