It's Only Rock'n Roll
Burn (warmup) : 8:25pm - 9:00pm The Rolling Stones : 10:00pm : 11:58pm
How can you do 22 songs in less than two hours? I will tell you - just play them fast and don't let them hang around till forever...
This show was filmed for a DVD release. And because it was the perfect show, it will all be on DVD I think. They had 4 big cameras in the back, a whole area sealed off for all the camera equipment. Also many smaller handhelt cameras in the front - still VERY discrete, so this show is on tape indeed. And during Honky Tonk Women, Mick came out holding his own video camera, the one you can see him using in a great photo shot on page 21 in the latest magazine IORR 48. He was singing and filming us and panning all over the crowd. It will probably be pretty typical tourist video for Mick, kind of hand-held, but it was great fun to watch.
Hand Of Fate. Not a song you get to hear every night. And then everybody singing: "Charlie Charlie Charlie"...
It seemed like every song would get a double ending. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, That's How Strong My Love Is and so on. After "Love Train" with another double ending, and then "Respectable", Mick said: "No More Double Endings". It was great fun to have these songs over and over again, but I knew it had to end eventually.
It was great that they sold around 45 tickets this morning to fans who had waited all night and morning. So if you really want to get into a club show, it really do pay off as I have said before, to be at the place where the club is. Fourtyfive fans know for sure by today.
Ronnie was drinking water, and at one point he had a banana. Got to get some energy you know. The way he did "No Expectations" was just beautiful. What's more, I noticed his great playing on "Before They Make Me Run", and after that song Keith walked over and kissed Ronnie on his forehead, kind and gently, so we knew that Keith was happy with it too.
Then Mick was all over. Fast songs all the way. No ballads. Even "Love Train" was fast, with Mick having a white hat and a purple shirt - the hat flew off halfway through the song off course. Then Respectable, so fast and then Rip This Joint, even faster. Mick had an original blue T-shirt with Paris ghotic letters on the top back, and a small stones tongue also on the back, lower part. Strange design, but for Mick ok of course. Then he changed it in a second between two songs.
Darryl made "Stray Cat Blues" real funky and the whole floor just jumped up and down as the bass was pumping out - for that moment Darryl was in charge, and everybody, even everybody on stage, was staring at him.
During the introductions Charlie went up to the front, smiled, took a great bow, like he is doing this every show, and not may be one time per tour maximum. Then back by his drums, Charlie got the microphone by Mick, and he said something like "... but they don't allow me to sing..." Not that he ever wanted to sing, I think... But he kept the engine running tonight, that is for sure. For a couple of songs I followed Charlie 100% from start to finish, and it is just amazing, fantastic, to see how simple still complete he is drumming.
And to end a club show just like a stadium show, with Jumping Jack Flash - a very short one - I loved it! I planned to watch this show at "rest" from the back of the floor, but I ended up sweating and dancing like crazy to every song. It's really hard to stand still when they play it so great. Even upstairs on the balcony it rocked and rolled - people were dancing and rocking just like the entire floor downstairs. I hope they release this show complete, no edits, no left-outs or changes. Just the complete show. It will be so great to watch again and again. Get it when it is out, and you will see how great this show was!
We arrived in Paris the day before and immediately met up with several friends. After some heavy drinking a short night sleep, and on to the Olympia. Wrist bands were received within one minute, and then the big wait started. We decided to queue at 13.00 Oíclock, but this was a big mistake: if you had arrived at 18.00 you would have gotten the same spot at the Olympia. The hall is incredible: itís fairly small, but due to a large balcony still holds something like 2200 people. The floor had place for about 1000, and due to a rising floor it really didnít matter were you would stand: the view was excellent everywhere, whether it was 5th ot 15th row.
The opener was "The Burn", but I canít recall anything. Then, after a big (big!) wait, the Stones entered blistering with a rousing Start Me Up. It immediately got me: there are no superlatives enough to describe the thunder of Richards and Watts screaming through youíre head at full volume in small club! Jagger looked extra pumped as there were plenty of cameraís filming the concert. But I got me first shock here: Ronnie appeared to be completely loaded, as drunk as one can be. His face in a strange grin, pale as the moon. His solo in SMU was too late and out of tune, and Jagger and Leavell looked quite worried. Next Live With Me, started with a major intro by Keith, but unfortunately too late in the wrong key. He noticed, laughed and grinned to Jones, whom gave it a restart. Again, Ronnie seemed not to know where he was or what he was doing.
Then the first "rarity", Neighbours. It was played fast, and I noticed Keith getting more and more in to it. At solo timing, both Chuck and Mick gave pointers at Ronnie, but he again did not know he is part of the group. Keith immediately filled the gap with an impromptu solo, one of the best soloís of the last 10 years. From this moment on, Keith seemed to be sharper then ever, like he knew he had to fill in Ronís place.
On to a whish of mine: Hand of Fate. Simply said: horrible! Nobody, including Jagger and Leavell knew how the song went. Jagger did the first line, the started to read from the telepromter the next two, and gave up. For the first solo, Mick shouted twice to Ronnie to play his guitar, and Ron answered (you could read his lips!) "what the fuck should I do"! The second solo part was again a mess, with only Keith remembering a bit what to do. A complete mess.
No Expectations was started by Keith, while Jagger should have started it. Keith seemed to be getting sharper and sharper, and started to play really beautiful. Ronís last minute was counted I thought: his head was wobbling above his acoustic lap steel, ready to crash his nose into the body. I noticed Mick talking with Pierre the technician, and after this Ron was out of the PA mix: Mick had apparently ordered Ron to be turned down, and Pierre literally walked towards Ron amp and turned it down. From this point on, magic started. Both Mick and Keith knew they had to carry the show, and we started to witness the sole reason why they are the greatest band in the world: when those two are concentrating and really on, they are these magic Glimmer Twins from the 70ís again.
Worried About You shined from beauty. Jaggerís vocals were howling beautiful, Keithís lines were on the spot. Near the ending Jagger wanted to take it down, but Charlie kept on drumming, making Mick improvise some loud screams; beautiful. Heartbreaker was too slow, and didnít work for me. It's Only Rock'n Roll was rocking the house down, and even I enjoyed this song, which I just heard too many times. Stray Cat Blues was mean and pacing, with Keith really chopping away. Darrylís bass solo is nice, but I still donít think bass soloís are a good thing in Stones music.
Then again one of my wishes: Dance. It was a mixture of the Part 1 and Part 2 versionís, and was incredible. It really grooved, and was rocky and funky at the same time. I loved this one. Everybody Needs Somebody To love turned the Stones into a nasty cheap Las Vegas band, so on to the sole ever best performance of a song by the Stones I can recall ever witnessing: That's How Strong My Love Is. This literally brought tears in my eyes - Mick sang his heart out, being aware of all the cameraís, but also being aware of the fact that the band was on. Keithís line of on a capoed stratocaster were beautiful and on the spot, but again, Jagger was magical here. I have never seen this guy sing so good, like he really had to prove himself. He noticed it too, as he nodded to Chuck a "man, I did it" signal with his face. The song kept going and going, and I really hoped they would never stop. Beautiful.
Going To A Go Go was started by Ron softly, and not everyone recognised it immediately. In my opinion this is one of the great songs from the early 80ís, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. During introductions Mick handed Charlie his mike, and Charlie said "I would like to sing a song, but they wonít let me. Goodnight". Ronnie was introduced as "on banana Ron Wood". Woody eating a banana could mean he didnít drink too much, but had a few too many party cigarettes.
Then on to next highpoint of the night: The Nearness Of You. What a beautiful song, wonderfully played and sung. Only Keithís guitar was a bit too loud and biting, which spoiled it a bit. Before They Make Me Run was the re-entrance of Ronnie: he clearly wanted to show Keith he was back, and he kept on soloing, making the song a 2 minutes longer. Love Train was nice, but again reminded a bit of a bad Vegas karaoke band. It is a bit lightweight I think. But Mick really seems to like singing these soul tunes.
Respectable was bad, but it rocked, which is good. Period. Rip This Joint was a real treat. Keith played it in open tuning instead of open G, the band didnít seem to know the song very well, but Mick kept everybody heading the same direction, and it was played very fast and excellent. Honky Tonk Women was standard, but here it struck me: Stones music isnít meant to be heard in a 60.000 stadium, but in a club! Having the Stones blast at you from 10 meters distance is incredible, and even the most boring hot rocks songs gets a lift and start to rouse again. The same for Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar and Jumping Jack Flash. They were better, faster and meaner than ever!
All in all, this was my best ever Stones concert. With such an amazing set list and Mick and Keith being on and hot at the SAME time, I canít imaging it ever getting any better. No, they are not the Stones of Hampton 1981 anymore, but this sure was damn fine too!
p.s. A big thanks to Duijf, Rik, Hendrik, Angie, Mark, Kariem, Erwin, Lia, Andre, Jeroen and Dirk for two splendid nights in Paris!
p.s.2: and guys, no I will NEVER go to a stadium show again, I promise!
At 10 PM the lights went out and after the Michael Cohl introduction Keith entered the stage and started the riff of Start Me Up; the show has begun! From the very first moment I noticed that Ronnie was 'away' and that became very obvious with his 'solo' during Hand Of Fate. You harldy could hear his guitar and it was also during this song that Jagger had problems singing the right lyrics. They really struggled with this song but that is what the Stones make so great: with all the improvising they finished the song very well and they are getting even stonger with the songs which had to follow. One of the highlights for me was Worried About You: lots of falsetto and Jagger absolutely didn't take care for his voice; awesome!
This song was followed by lots of other rarely played songs like Heartbreaker, Stray Cat Blues, Dance and with my other favourite from the evening: That's How Strong My Love is; this is 100% Jagger and Jagger was 100% during the entire show! After the introductions (Charlie even said that he wanted to sing a song but they don't let him do that!) Keith did The Nearness Of You followed by Before They Make Me Run. Really great to see sing Keith this song with twinkles in his eyes, only a few metres away. This was the first song that you finally could hear Ronnies solo very well and Keith gave him a kiss for that! Still the surprises weren't over: the first time this tour that they played Respectable and after this they did the rarely played Rip This Joint. Honky Tonk Women and Brown sugar was 100% Keith and he did it with all the inspiration he had. The Stones finished at midnight with Jumpin Jack Flash and they left us with lots of unforgettable memories.
Can it get any better than this? Thank you Rolling Stones!
The story goes that as a RS official fan I was too excited and messed my code and used it for Bercy instead of Olympia on the net.
I did not think they would sell more tickets the morning but hoped they would in the evening to undermine the loathable scalpers. I know a lot of people accept the scalpers as part of the fun but I just think that the are plainly taking seats away from people who deserve them. And beware, the scalpers are an organized ring that do the football, tennis etc, being agressive in the opening box offices lines to get tickets in front of normal guys. Looks like the show was either for the real fan who really deserve to be there (the front line slept there), a few lucky ones with Olympia phone lines, morning sale or fan club and all the VIPs out of which many do not derseve to be there. There is not much left for the regular fan.
Anyway, it was fun to talk to real fans, see a few stars (Yannick Noah so cool) and look forward to the DVD and maybe go on to England....
Hand of Fate was done Karaoke style, Mick looked at the teleprompter most of the time, didn't move too much during the verses, so he could read the words. It was good to hear that again after I heard it in 1976, but you could tell they don't do it too often, the song was not perfectly played. Then they brought out the slide guitar, not the white lap steal, but an acoustic one and we got "No expectations". Ronnie had some problems to keep it on the stool he had for it, Mick looked if it still worked, but no problem. Great, a "first" for me.
Then Mick got to the piano and they did a beautiful "Worried about You", two verses in falsetto, then Mick came off and Blondie took over the piano. Mick was on the front spot very often, so we were near him all the time. Heartbreaker did fit perfectly into the setlist tonight, the audience loved it and it was a real strong version, not just a tour de force, but played as it should be played. IORR had Keith all over the place, but I could have done without it in a club. Stray cat Blues followed, with the girl being 16 this time and the bass solo was funky as I never had heard it before and blended perfectly into the guitars coming back in.
Dance had everybody singing "Get up, Get out, get out into something new" (even later in the subway). Mick didn't find his drum first, as it was at the drum podium, but when he found it, he joined in. It was shorter than in Munich, but I loved to hear it again.
Then off to the Blues/Soul set: Everybody Needs somebody to love was nice, That's how strong my love is wasn't as good as in MUnich, Mick didn't push it as far as he did then, saving some of the stronger shouts from the songs. Going to a Go go was nice, but I could have done without it, having had it in 1982.
During the introductions Ronnie came out with a banana that he ate, then threw into the audience. It never fell to the ground as everyone was trying to catch it. MIck introduced him as "Ronnie on banana" and later showed a deeper knowledge of Ronnie's discography, as he uttered: "Now you can SLIDE ON THIS". Charlie came to the middle of the stage to tage a bow, escorted by Ronnie and Keith then went back to his drums and said: "I wanted to sing you a song (pause) but they wouldn't let me (pause) goodnight Paris". SO this is something that we might look at. If they push it more and more in the clubs, he MIGHT sing something by Astoria. ;-)
Nearness of you was beautiful, better controlled than in Munich, as they might have rehearsed it some more, it's a beautiful song and it does fit with Keith. BTMMR was very long, as Ronnie was even more into it today and did long solos.
Mick came back in purple and had a hat on, so I knew this was going to be another "first" for me. Love Train was much better than I thought, it really worked. Lisa and Bernard came out to the front bit as well, cameras tried to get it all on film. I just loved it and joined the singalong (like most of the times).
Respectable was another surpise in the club show set, beautifully done and much more played than torn apart, like they sometimes do. The same can be said about Rip This Joint. Mick tried to sing all the words very audibly, it wasn't done double speed, but in the right speed and it sounded just beautiful.
The surprises were over then, back to the greatest hits. I didn't mind too much, but I could have done without them of would have liked other songs like I can't turn you loose.
It was all over after just about 2 hours. Very long for a club, very short for the night. I could have done with some more. 22 songs is a lot these days, but some short songs made that. If I compare it to Krone, Krone was better. It was perfect show in a perfect surrounding. Tonight was a great setlist, but not as perfect as in Krone. The place was much less working. Yes, there were a lot of double endings to the songs, a lot of spontaneity on stage and a great show. But Krone was just that little bit better.
Looking forward to Cirkus Stockholm now......
Queued ouside Olympia Thursday from 6 am till noon and again from 4 till 5. By then Shelley (don't know her last name, she's the ticket coordinator for the Stones) assured me no tix would be sold that day, maybe Friday. I was back at the Olympia Friday morning at 4 am, was number 9 in queue. I wrote down numbers on people's hands or arms with a cd-marker, to be sure. Around 9 am security came again saying no tickets, go home, and they pulled away the fences of our nice numbered queue. We walked to the entrance and hanged around over there, all numbers in chaos, unordered and loads of people without numbers too. We made a list of the numbers with the names. Around 10.30 am we organized ourselves again in queue, on number, and security came out and grabbed arms and hands to check our numbers and pushed us between the fences at the entrance. My cd-marker had proved itself worthy! I couldn't believe it. I was the 4th to buy a ticket for 56 euros ( :-)). YIHAA!! People thanked me for my number-initiative and I was sooo happy. Shelley congratulated me and she was mad at the security for messing up our nice organized queue earlier on. She was impressed with us working together to form an order and a list! Only 50-some tix, and I managed to get one of them.
Went away to my friends to grab a drink and we went to the queue after noon. Inside, we decided to go back a bit. I was so tired from that week and queueing at the Olympia after 2 hours of sleep twice, travelling to and from Paris and to Paris again, I thought I couldn't hold out on 3rd row for the whole evening. We had a great spot a few steps back, great view on the stage.
What a fantastic show it was. Ronnie was a bit weird indeed. Messed up some solos, didn't know what to do in Hand of Fate (nobody knew exactly, only Chuck; Mick turned to his auto-cue for the lyrics again, but I don't blame him). After Keith's set, Ronnie came back luckily, he woke up, lol. Keith kissed Ronnie on his forehead after his (Ronnie's) solo in Before they make me run.
Those songs! Jagger was soo great this show, he didn't spare his voice, like on Worried and That's how strong. Tears in my eyes. My wish was to hear those songs and I got them, and done fantastically, like only the Stones can. I love them for it. Neighbours, Respectable, Stray Cat, Rip this joint, Nearness, o my God, how wonderful. I thought I was dreaming. Keith really came through, played some fantastic pieces. Charlie coming to the front and saying he wanted to sing. All rehearsed for the DVD (he stood up and stepped down from his drums just before he was introduced, lol), but unique and funny. I felt special. We all did. Audience was great, but in the back they weren't that enthusiastic, or at least they didn't show it that much. So many highlights!
I think I am still dreaming. After Shepherds Bush I was convinced I would never ever see them in a club again, and now I was at the Olympia (without a ticket at first) and it was an amazingly good high-quality Stones-show and I still have Vredenburg left. Olympia was my 30th Stones show and it was the best show for that number!!! Thank you Stones!! And thanks to all friends for the great time in Paris!
The support act was crap ; at 2200 hours Stones time. Start me Up. The best opener one can imagine. Memories flash from De Kuip 1990 . Olympia explodes. All hands in the air ; the wooden floor waving to the beat. Heaven came down to Paris that moment. Great feeling to be there.
Then Live with me ; Keith starts the riff by mistake ; confusion all over the stage. Darryl takes over and so does the band. Woody looks waisted and during Hand of fate he doesn't contribute at all. No Expectations started and nobody, repeat nobody recognized the intro. I really started to be worried as Woody cannot get any decent sound out of his steellap guitar. He sat down with a Drunken/Stoned wasted face. Jagger finished the song and walked back to his (K)organ and packed himself together and gave us the first highlight of the evening. He sings with great falsetto voice loud and clear BAAAAAAABYYYYYYYYYY. What a passion what a voice what a man. Worried About You!!!!!
Mick made very clear that he's the top. Then we got heartbreaker ; great rendition. It's Only Rock'n Roll went OK. Stray Cat Blues, very good, nice basssolo. Then we got Dance, fantastic. Hadn't heard this song for years, but I got up got down and it sounded brandnew! At the end the song turned into an all star bashing party. Then Everybody Needs Somebody To love, I like the rendition on the second LP ; not this Blues Brother horn thing. Then THE Moment: Jagger introduces the song as a ballad. He looks at his offspring on the balcony and he starts singing so beautifully intense and nice that everybody feels: history is written here. This is what it's all about. All the waiting , all the money, all the trouble. All is OK, as it happens ; HERE ; NOW ; OLYMPIA. While writing I get again tears in my eyes. The song was so good . If a cd/dvd will be released I will never play this tune as the memorie of being there, at that moment, during that song, cannot be beaten. THAT'S HOW STRONG MY LOVE IS. A sensational, emotional, overwhelming applause came down. What else can we get ?? Going To A Go Go, lovely; I get mad and try to sing along with Keith's WHAAHAA part (from the 81 single version from Still Life).
Introductions and then The Nearness Of You. sensitive song by Keith, his guitar was way too loud, but nobody did mind. Before They Make Me Run was great. Then Love Train, ok but nothing special for me. Time to Rock Respectable & Rip This Joint (three times slower thanb 72 but Bobby's sax rocked the house down) Greatest Hits time Honky Tonk Women (Why not singing the Paris verse Mick?) Tumbling Dice , Brown Sugar + encore Jumping Jack Flash.
We got 22 songs ; I did very much enjoy the show and still I have mixed emotions. My love for the Stones pinnacles on the wall of guitars. Songs such as Midnight Rambler(every tour), 1981/82 shows with many instrumental parts with saxophone and guitars(Hampton 81). Flashpoint's SFTD, No security's Out of Control ; Such songs are why I like the Stones. Unfortunately I had to find out that FOR ME there was no magic in the guitar playing at the Olympia. Woody's volume was turned down and could hardly be heard. Keith was only capable to play mean "chuck berry" licks.
The Stones didn't play MR or CYHMK (while the intention was to play that song) and because of that I was dissapointed. The evening made clear that Mick Jagger was the master of the evening and there were no runners' up. Chuck and Charlie played well. Darryl could have done better (Octaves in both Stray Cat Blues & Jumping Jack Flash made those songs so special). Lisa, Bernard and Blondie did their thing but didnot add anything to the excitement of the show.
For me the greatest rock and roll band in the world didnot perform in Olympia . The band that I like is dead. Long Live MARVELOUS MICK JAGGER AND HIS ROLLING STONES!
It didn't matter what songs were played only how they were played and they were played played brilliantly, with passion and a great deal of energy.
This was a dream for me seeing them in a small venue and several times during the show I had a tear in my eye. Words fail when I come to describe it, you had to be there and I feel genuine sympathy for those who weren't as it was probably one of those Stones shows that will go down in the annals of time as being in the top five of all Stones shows.
It wasn't just the experience of being in Paris but of being interviewed by French TV after the show, being interviewed by the guys making the DVD for the show (I had to sign a disclaimer), drinking in the bar of their hotel and Bernard and Blondie sitting right behind me, drinking in a bar pre show and meeting some great fans (you know who you are) especially Martin Elliot (who has written a great book called the Complete Recordings). You're getting the picture by now..... And then to cap it all seeing a rhythmn and blues combo play what is for me the best show I have seen and heard in my life.
On a personal note I would like thank
a) The Stones for a wonderful evening on Friday, thanx guys, you've made my year and a dream come true and I'll see you at Twickers.
b) To my French friends for their hospitality, great food , wine and lemon liquer
c) And to my long suffering girlfriend for trying to laminate my Olympia ticket and then ruining it.....
Thanks to Iris NŲlle-Hornkamp for news links.
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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