It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Hives (warmup) : 8:10pm - 8;45pm The Rolling Stones : 9:45pm - 11:50pm
Is Ronnie Wood really mad? An unprecedented and quite
bizarre outburst highlighted an otherwise mediocre
show at the historic Stockholms Stadion on Friday.
Just after Keith announced he would be playing "Slipping Away" and walked a few steps in Charlie's direction, Ronnie sauntered up to the mike stand, and declared: "We're all allowed a bump in the road."
Keith, taken unawares like everyone else in the stadium, darted around, a look of surprised anger on his face. I thought he was going to stagger over and belt Ronnie, but it seems the anger management classes he's taken since the Osaka Incident paid off. Instead, Keith responded, "Excuse my friend," and kicked into the song, one of a seemingly interminable string of ballads that did little to rouse the impassive crowd.
After he finished, and prepared to play "Happy," he looked over at Ronnie and added: "You all right, Ronnie? If you've got anything to say, let me know, y'know?"
Alas, Ronnie did not take him up on the offer. And no one seemed to know what inspired the outburst. It's certainly historic in itself. I don't recall him ever saying anything into the mike, apart from one or 2 times where he has introduced Mick.
Ronnie earlier missed the entire first verse of "Midnight Rambler" while he was getting a new guitar, and gestured apologetically to his bandmates. Finally he came out with a metallic silver number I'd never seen before. Maybe related to the silver and pink guitar Billy Gibbons gave Keith?
It wasn't Chuck Leavell's night either. Mick forgot to introduce him, and hastily squeezed him in between the Ronnie and Charlie intros. Then, when Chuck was mugging at the camera after finishing his solo on "Honky Tonk Women," the screen instead was showing Mick cavorting about with Lisa, who should remember that back-up singers are just that -- they shouldn't be such spotlight hogs.
One of the best songs on the tour, the revived "Street Fighting Man," was completely wasted on the small stage, and played at a blistering pace.
The hits in the home stretch were greeted with little enthusiasm by the crowd around me on the floor. People started clearing out during "Satisfaction," the penultimate song of the evening. Hard to say if it was the band or the crowd at fault. Mick certainly tried. He made four trips down the ramp to try and whip up the masses, but the effect was short-lived.
I came with my guitar to the Stadion to play some Rolling Stones songs for the waiting crowed and to promote my
own band THE HILL DE GUARDS who are going to play unplugged Stones-Covers at VAMPIRE LOUNGE
(probably Stockholms best Cocktail bar) on Monday 21 july 2003.
So I did The Worst, Slipping Away and Salt Of The Earth. Suddenly a japanese person asked me "do you have a
ticket". I answered "no" and then he said "here, now you have a ticket". This story is nearly similar to Keith Richards
"blind angel from Toronto story" - but this is a true story.
So I became a glad owner of first class Rolling Stones tickets in front of the stage. Some have all the luck.
I have seen a lot of Rolling Stones concerts and the first Stockholm gig was a typical Rolling Stones stadion-show. The Stones began very straight with Brown Sugar and Start Me Up. As we all know, Mick has learned himself to play the 5-string-open-G and he proofed it with Don´t Stop. We had all the luck that the Rolling Stones did "Wild Horses" with an amazing Ron Wood solo-guitar. "You Can´t" came straight and it seems that all the official guitar players did not remember the bridge, however great. In my opinion "Midnight Rambler" was the best song of the set. Back to the roots.
The Keith songs were "Slipping Away" (= my favorite) and "Happy". What to say? Keith prefered to avoid guitar-playing while doing Slippng away. Sympathy was as usual.
The center-stage songs were great performances of "Respectable", Manish Boy" and "Street Fighting Man". "Gimme Shelter" was quite good. "It´s only Rock´n Roll" was a just-for-fun version, a highlight. "Honky Tonk Women", "Satisfaction" and "Jumping Jack Flash (encore)" was buisiness as usual. High-quality-versions.
The first Stockholm concert was a quite good concert. What you don´t have to do is to compare this concert to earlier concerts. There is not a great musical difference between this tour and the Bridges-to-Babylon-Tour. If one likes the Stones, he probably also liked this concert. You got me rocking. This was a day that I don´t will forget. Almost everything was great. Now we are looking forward for the next Stockholm-gigs. One question must be allowed: Is Blondie Chaplin the new Stones´ guitar player? Blondie played acoustic guitar during the half set.
As there was no show in Norway for this tour, lots of fans from Norway are doing the travel to Stockholm for these shows - 8 hours driving if you come from the Oslo area, a lot more if you come from other places in Norway. You could see many red, white and blue flags in the crowd. Too bad they had to make that special Stockholm T-shirt so terribly blue and yellow, simply preventing the thousands of Norwegians in the crowd to love it - and buy it. Still, the Viking tongue looks great; may be I will get to buy it anyway!
When walking to the small stage, they do now have a fixed order. Mick is always first. Then Charlie. Then Ronnie. Then Keith always running late, because he change cloths. Tonight Mick had to wait "for ages" for Charlie. He got impatient and went back on the walkway to meet Charlie. As Charlie was sitting down on his stool, Mick did a friendly look at his imaginary watch on his left arm, as if he was checking how late Charlie was running. With all these smiles and gestures these guys are doing on stage, I am sure they must have two hours of great fun on stage every night.
I have a binocular at home. A small one I never brought to any shows. But for the first time I brought it with me last night, to see if it was of any use. Sure you loose the total picture when you use a binocular. But as I used it a bit on a couple of songs, I realized how compact the band stay on stage on some songs. Like on Midnight Rambler, they stay mostly in front of Charlie, like that was all space they had, and I could actully capture the whole band close up in my tiny little binocular, so close and both Charlie, Ronnie, Keith and Mick are at the very same spot for much of the song. And if Ronnie takes a short walk for some seconds, I just follow him, then back to the rest of the boys. And Keith is walking around some times with his guitar, with the look that tells you all: He just love his guitar, the sounds it makes, the reactions her gets from the crowd, and that is why he say in the press interview published in "Svenska Dagbladet" Friday July 18: His favorite songs played are "Jumping Jack Flash", "Street Fighting Man", "Satisfaction" and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking".
After the show, we got the biggest and most spectacular fireworks I have seen on tour this summer. A perfect ending to a great show!
PS. More special moments on the road? See the "nachos reviews" from the Miami show.
The Hives played 8.10-8.45 and after that It was a long wait... I don't know why but the Stones didn't hit the stage until 9:45. First Keith and Charlie came in, It felt so unreal to really se them live, the Ronnie came and last Mick entered with a green jacket and a green scarf Keith started a very nice "Brown Sugar" which got the stadium to rock.
As usual "Start Me Up" as a second number, my favourite song, which sounded so good! Mick screamed "Start Me Up" and the crowd clapped their hands. "You Got Me Rocking" sounded very well, It was a 100% rocker.
"Don't Stop" was so great! A real classic and at last, It sounded as a real Stones Classic! "Wild Horses" Ok... "You Can't Always Get What You Want" The whole crowd sang loud and It was very welled recieved, Mick was so great this night, and he shaked his butt all the time, a lot different from the DVD:s I can tell you. "Midnight Rambler" One of the biggest tonight, sounded fantastic! Over 10 Minute Butt- kicking classic!!!!! "Tumbling Dice" a crowd lover, Mick entered a small bit of the catwalk.
In the introductions Mick forgot Chuck´, so Chuck where presented after Ronnie. Keith performed "Slipping Away" and "Happy" and he didn't miss a word! He was really on the top tonight. "Sympathy For The Devil" the nights best song! Fire up on the top of the big stage, Mick sang so great and really lived into his part as the DEVIL!
"Respectable" on the b- stage, I was very surprised, but the sad thing about the B- stage was that It didn't sound so great, also Chuck touched my hand on the way back, and Mick was so close, damn! "Mannish Boy" sounded much better than "Respectable" but "Street Fighting Man" was the real top of the B- stage performence, the crowd loved it. "Gimme Shelter" sounded a little loud in the beginning, during to Lisa's hard singing, but it ended great!
"It's Only Rock'n' roll" - Do You Want some more? Mick Asked and Keith started "It's Only Rock'n' roll. Mick talked a lot of Swedish today and It sounded pretty well. On "Honky Tonk Women" the big screen could really do a great job, "It's A Honky Tonk, Honky Tonk, Women" ...."Satisfaction" So fast and loud, just as I wants it. And as the last number "Jumping Jack Flash" and after all the pyro tecnics, I have never seen them before, but now It feels like I have seen them a hundred times, I love you guys, play just as good on Sunday please.
The stadium is the smallest and most beautiful stadium I have ever seen with the stage being higher than the stadium walls (and when do you get to see such a thing ?!?) The show itself was just plain awesome. Best stadium show ever in my book. Great songs, and even though there were no surprises in the setlist (as always lately) every song was played 100 percent more intense and better than ever before. Plus the sound inside the stadium was soo excellent, one found it hard to believe that this was a stadium they were playing because usually the sound at stadiums is quite bad. I'm not gonna go into the setlist because Bjornulf posted it anyway. All I can say is that this was a GREAT show, leaving us craving for yet another two here in Stockholm. One at the Globen on Sunday and one at the Cirkus on Tuesday. I don't have to point out that we are pretty excited, do I :) ?
No matter once the show started......the energy, the pace, the band made it happen despite the occasional lapse.
But the "piece de resistance" of the evening had to be a simply sensational rendition of Midnight Rambler. Started and held at the intro by Keith and Charlie as they teased the audience for what seemed like a good half minute, the guitarist unleashed the song as the band packed tightly in behind.
Not to be outdone as the number reached halfway Mick gave one of his best harmonica solos I've heard - positively revelling in the hyped atmosphere created by his Glimmer Twin. Musicianship to the fore it was very clear he cared, he really cared... Showmanship came later as he engaged the already aroused audience to a tingling climax.
Great song, great playing, never better.
Thanks to Stefan Mellerborg and Björn Kassman for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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