It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show time: 7.05 p.m. - 9.20 p.m.
Capacity: 50,000 (Full House)
They played loud and furiously, rolling out the epics like "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" and a b-stage rendition of "Midnight Rambler." The pace just would not let up, and they left the best song till last - a rockin' version of "Satisfaction" that was almost 10 minutes long.
The Dome is huge, and the seats on the floor are designed for little Japanese bottoms, so I found myself standing sideways in order not to bump the people around me too much. With the stage about 10-feet high, I missed the eye-to-eye interaction with the lads that I'd enjoyed in Australia. Still, I was pleased with my 10th row seat as I imagine most people in front would not have been able to see Charlie or much of Keith and Ronnie. The ramp stretched for miles on either side of the stage, and Mick skipped along its length during "Satisfaction." Otherwise, it did not get too much use.
I was amazed that the little specks of fans behind me seemed to be on their feet and singing throughout. Mick acknowledged the crowd's enthusiasm when he applauded at the end of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and told us our singalong was better than last time. But I noticed during this song how his voice reverberated around the venue, so the sound must have been pretty bad up high. Down below, it was excellent, and I'm sure the bootlegs that will inevitably be on sale in Tokyo stores on Sunday will reflect this.
Keith did "Slipping Away" for the third time out of 3 Japanese shows. Before he began, he told a fan, "I'll write a letter to my mother and tell her that" -- apparently in response to some laudatory exclamation.
Getting to the b-stage during the tail end of "Sympathy for the Devil" seemed to take forever. The amenable local security guards certainly helped speed the process, and I found myself on Ronnie's side with virtually no one else around. I could hardly hear the songs, and "Midnight Rambler" sounded like a trainwreck, though I imagine it was probably mindblowing to people a little farther back. Keith came over to me side, fell onto his knees and played his heart out. But he seemed to miss a chord and saw me looking quizzically at him. We exchanged "Shit happens" grins, he got back up and gestured to me as he strolled behind Charlie.
The final few songs went by quickly. I'm not a fan of the canned "Gimme Shelter" intro that plays as the band returns along the catwalk, but hey... Keith took his shirt off for "Jumpin' Jack Flash," revealing strong traces of his Australian tan.
Overall, a much better night than Yokohama, indicating just how maddeningly inconsistent the band can be. If the usual rule applies and the second show at a venue goes even better, then we're in for a magnificent night.
Kicked off with Brown Sugar without Bernard's chorus. And You Got Me Rocking was done by no back-up singers. You Can't Always Get was so nice. 50000 people's choir was melting. Started with the counting of Bernard, it was Bitch. Blondie worked well with his maracas on CYHMK. Keith was wearing a jumper jacket in Chinese Style. May be he bought it in Japan's largest China Town in Yokohama. Charlie was a real protagonist on Sympathy For D.
At first I thought second song on B-Stage was Mannish Boy. I guessed wrong. Clearer picture emerged in the next few seconds. It was very bluesy Little Red Rooster. Midnight Rambler on B-Stage was entrancement. I would like to dedicate this song to the memory of Chabo and Jimmy Takahashi. "Those whom the Gods love grow young".
Only Lisa and Chuck entered on the introduction part of Gimme Shelter. Mick said "Lisa's skirt is too short" in halting Japanese at the introduction time. But her performance could live up to the expectations of us. She was hot tonight. I saw streaks of light flashing in the pitch-dark Tokyo Dome when they played Street Fighting Man. Red Confetti on JJF and Fire Works on Satisfaction. Mick no-sided the show in an organdie-striped shirt. This is their 4th time appearance in Tokyo Dome. They would know this venue inside out. Again a wonderful tonight. Let's Make Love, Not War!
Love, peace and The Rolling Stones. A man was waving a banner saying "Keith is The Bomb." That kind of bomb is always welcomed. I'd been completely blown up by the boys and they gave me peace of mind.
Thank you, guys.
PS The guiar pick Kieth threw away hit a woman's head, who was on the seat next to me. She was wearing a bracelet just like one around Keith's left wrist.
In my memories this is the 21st concert for stones in Tokyo Dome. I think this is very surprising fact, considering the stones first appearance in Japan was 1990. Especially in 1990 they played 11 concerts in Tokyo Dome. Is there any other cities which accept a same artist so many times in a short perid? Actually Eric Clapton played over 10 times gigs at Royal Albert hall in London. But capacity is totally different.Tokyo dome has over 50,000 capacity.
The biggest reason of 11times concerts is of course that stones could never play in Japan until 1990 beacuse of drug problem. The second reason is Japanese economy was best situation in 1990. After 13 years passed, our economy is worst status. But enthusiasm of Stones fans never changed compared with before, though the quantity reduced from 11 times to 2 times.
Today's set list was very interesting for the fans who already went to Budokan. We for the first time could hear "don't stop, you can't always , bitch , sympathy ,little red rooster, street fighting and gimme shelter". I am expecting the different and rare songs tomorrow.
I am very glad to hear "Can you hear me knocking" as I heard this last at Mick's solo tour to Jakarta in '89.(riot show) This time, I could have a opportunity to see them next to Centre Stage. Their playing "Midnight Rambler" was impressive. Mick blows hard with his blues harp and jamming with band in the latter part of the tune and it was great in sound.
Also "Little Red Rooster" which I missed from 1990, Tokyo strikes my brain! Ronny's slide play shines. Every action they made on the Centre Stage, I could not believe aged Rockers runs wild like that. (Actually I might be too old to R&R, too young to die.)
Only one thing I wonder about their play is "Satisfaction" Keith plays with silver metalic guitar for this but did not sound hardly hear the sound. Does anyone in the audience agree with this?
Today was a day in my Stones history that i will never forget. My Dome show package included a *back stage tour*. We were taken on to the stage
and were standing in front of the guitars. Each section labeled by name. Then on to the stage - drums !! They asked if anyone wanted to run from one end to the other to see how hard it really is. So - I volunteered. I ran to one end - jumped up and down pointing my fingers and then to the other end and then back to the middle. Then was asked to sing a few lines of Satistfaction. I couldn't. Totally out of breath. It's a
really long run. Mick is incredible. I wanted to take a piture of Ronnie's pedal - Cry Baby. But they told me that they only bring that out on an as needed basis.
Then we walked down the catwalk. I was pretending all the way and slapped the hands of the roadies on my way down. I recognized a lot of the faces. Then on to the B stage. I took a picture of my corner from Mick's perspective. And all the equipment.
I'll send picures when I get home.
The show from the front row Ronnie's side - was just fantastic. Lisa's hair was in a big afro. I missed seeing Charlie though because it was so high up. But the people in the fan group were fun and i was surrounded by the Continental Drift. The Ono's, Toru and Chia, Sonoko (please forgive my spelling)- plus others whose faces I knew but not names. So strange to be so far away and yet feel so at home. Mayumi and Greg were on Keith's side - but we managed to wave to each other from the distance.
The musical highlights were - well, everything !! Sympathy, Rocks Off, Bitch, YCAGWYW, CYHMK and Rambler. Though from the b stage I didn't get the full effect. Security was so very tight, I couldn't make it down there.
This show was so much fun !! The sound was great. The audience was great. Not one person sat down for Keith. No one. Pure joy !!
Then to a great post show - Japanese style. Mayumi ,et al. I never imagined a post show gathering in a tatami room :-) But the joy and the energy and the glow is the same across the Pacific. The back of my jacket made the jumbotron at the end of Satisfaction. 2 stories high !!
Those of you who are considering packages for Europe - it could be the best time you'll ever have.
BONZAI!! Stones Forever!!
"Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up" got the concert off on a rollicking note, as Mick didn't have to work very hard to get the crowd to sing the choruses, which the throng sang very well, indeed. Keith leapt to center stage to lead the band into "Rocks Off", as if he really wanted to get everyone off on Saturday night in the neon-soaked, Japanese entertainment capital, Tokyo. With the former junkie hunkered down in a full-attack position, the killer riff opening the song let everyone know that you don't have to be sleeping to get your rocks off and that Keif was in top form.
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" was simply excellent. Everyone in the Dome loved singing along with Mick, whose gestures and total stage presence showed him to be the superlative British, rock superstar. The backing vocals were magnificent as Lisa smilingly hit the woman's high note in the famous last refrain, like the sweet angel she truly is. Mick and Lisa seem to be exceedingly close, so one can only wonder who Mick was thinking about as he sang "if it's love, it's a bitch." "Bitch" was driven hard and fast tonight with the horn section pumping like a mack truck humping through an intersection. The band really dug deep into the jam session of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", with Blondie putting some excellent rhythmic flourishes onto the underlying canvas of sound. At one point, Mick also hopped in line with Blondie and Lisa and smilingly shook some rhythm-enhancing instrument.
"Tumbling Dice" was triple 7's, turning out to be another great sing-a-long. For those of us who have come to find a sustainable level of stability and healthfulness in our lives, "Booze and pills and powders, you can choose your medicine" provided a nostalgic euphoria; yet the killer riffs gave us a high that's carried into the following week. The midnight rambler stuck his knife deep down our throats, but it didn't hurt. On Saturday night it was a monstrous rendition of a classic ode to sex and violence, as relevant now as years ago. From the distance, the image of the b-stage swathed in white lights amidst the sea of fans was nothing less than timeless. The honky tonk woman was super sexy again and Keith's finger-picking of his yellow Fender Telecaster blown up large on the massive video screen put the finishing, masterful touch on an excellent rendition of a classic tune.
Ronnie's subtle flourishes on "Street Fighting Man" came in loud and clear. The timeless anthem takes on extra significance as the world again finds itself on the brink of another massive war, in principal not unlike that which framed the first performances of the song years ago. Fortunately, love is just a kiss away and the show climaxed with a hard version of "Satisfaction", capped off by an orgasmic explosion of pyrotechnic white bursts and smoke.
Tokyo loves the Rolling Stones and the band loves Tokyo. On Saturday March 15, 2003, at the Tokyo Dome everyone came together, danced, sang and enjoyed a very special upbeat tenderness. Here's hoping that we can all get it on again, together, early next year after the release of the Stone's upcoming studio album.
Thanks to Dean Goodman and Toru Aoki for set list information!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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