It's Only Rock'n Roll
Various warmups : .... Simple Minds (warmup) : 7:55pm - 9:05pm The Rolling Stones : 10:20pm - 12:20am
The doors opened at 13:30 and the first band started at 14:30. It was a long day before the Stones finally took of at 22:20, I think a lot of people were a bit tired or something because there wasn't that much atmosphere all day. I came early enough so I had a great place, right in front of the stage!
The Stones took off with a raw sounding version of Brown Sugar. The next highlight was Angie, an emotional moment. A great version of Midnight Rambler, it was only blues (but the crowd loved it). Respectable on the B-stage was maybe the suprise of the evening, i think they haven't played a lot of times in this type of show. Gimme Shelter was all about Lisa, who did a very good job and performance. Paint it black came also a bit as a suprise, Keith did the intro on his Strat, wich sounded a bit different. I was very happy to see the video on Honky Tonk Women. Last time in Hockenheim, there was a technical failure during that song!! Satisfaction was pure rock, Keith with a silver Tele with pink inlays... great guitar, great sound, great man, fabulous show. It was a lot more than only rock 'n roll, but we still liked it!!
Simple Minds were good and are a very good opener for the Stones. Their new work isn’t catchy at all but the majority of the people in the field were singing along with their greatest hits. A long time after 10, I guess 10.17… the greatest rock’n roll band on earth started with Brown Sugar followed by Start Me Up. It was very nice to see the Rolling Stones that close again. I stood not far from the first row and I saw Charlie’s face very good. The guys around me weren’t drunk and there was enough space to dance and shake. It was even very easy to take photographs because the Belgian security didn’t bothered at all. Belgium isn’t Germany or Holland for instance. There wasn’t even a special T-shirt although 70 000 people were around. The acoustics at Werchter were not outstanding but it seemed good to me from where I was standing.
It’s normal that the Stones carefully edit their set list to include the songs people actually want to hear. Be aware that the majority of people in Werchter will only see the Stones once. That’s why they enjoyed the spectacle and songs such as Angie, Sympathy, Paint It Black and Satisfaction. The Stones are a must see and they are better than ever. My girlfriend who has never seen them before was not only surprised, I think that she realised that there’s so much to see and to hear during a concert. Music, details, different cloths etc… she was amazed to see Mick jumping and running around. And yes, she also says that Keith is very cool! By the way, thanks Keith in touching my hand. A girl of seventeen next to me was thrilled as well. Her father is already a big Stones fan and I’m sure that since yesterday, others will go and buy some real music. The Rolling Stones, they gave it through!
Previously scheduled for August 2nd, but due to The Stones going to Toronto for SARSstock, rescheduled for september 7th, I finally got to see the boys again at the sacred festivalground of Werchter. This concert was announced as a festival, albeit with the Stones as the top of the bill, so many people also came to see the other bands that performed that night. But unlike at the previous gigs in O'hausen, Leipzig and Hockenheim (with AC/DC), they all stayed for the Stones. Lots of young people have been introduced that night to the world of the Stones, which is a good thing because many left the festivalground with a new religion. (slowly walking the 1 mile to where were had to take our busses back to Leuven (took 90 minutes!), I overheard a lot of conversations from young people, who were still in awe over what they had witnessed that night.)
I arrived around noon and when the gates opened, it was no problem to get FOS, Ronnie's side. Unlike at Keith's side, all went smooth with the wristbands, and after regrouping with my friends, organising our spot and beerruns, I could go look around alittle on the grounds.
Security was very relaxed, so there will be lots of tapes of this show. Here we had security that did the job it is supposed to do at a concert; provide security for the band AND for the crowd. At a certain moment, while standing at the catwalk, a secutity guy was smiling into the camera from one of my newly made friends, but 2 minutes later warning someone not to let someone sit on his shoulders.
Funny thing, people were sitting on the gras near the FOS-entrance, having no clue that they still could get in! Guess they didn't know the FOS-concept and thought that you needed a special pass or so to get in.
Then it was showtime. As a Flemish speaking Belgian, I could appreciate the performance by "De Mens", not that I'm a fan, or even familiar with their repertoire, but a nice opener. As all the other bands would be doing, they also referred to the Stones quite often. (It"s great to be on the same stage as The Stones" and other stuff like that).
To my surprise, Therapy? managed to get this 46 year old Stonesfan to the front row. Must have been the energy and the raw guitars :)
After Therapy, Flanders most successfull group; Clouseau was going to play, but I completely slept through their set, only to wake up just went they did their encores. (didn't really pay attention, because I had to go the the boys room and it was my turn to go for a refill.)
While they were setting up for the Simple Minds, I got a phonecall from a friend at Keith's side, that he had some extra wristbands so I called a couple of people who had been too late to get in into the FOS, to meet them at Keith's side. It took me some 45 minutes to get from Ronnie's side to Keith's side and 45 minutes back, so I was back in when the Simple Minds where about to finish their set :) And then, finally, the lights went out and the familiar intro started.
BAM!!!!! Keith erupted on the stage and we were in for a 2 hour, 19 songs set of the boys! Some people have been "complaining" about the sound, but in my ears, except for some glitches now and then, it was almost perfect. Guitars were very strong, Keith better than all the previous shows I had witnessed, Ronnie concentrating on his playing and (almost) no clowning at all, the steady beat from Charlie and Mick right on top of it (except towards the end were he was either having problems with his voice, or having problems with the mix. We saw him do a run from the extreme right end of this huge stage to the other side, like he used to do on previous tours. We got the full treatment; screen (although they had some problems once in a while), Fire erupting into the sky during SFTD, confetti and the fireworks after the encore.
As I had anticipated, this "mixed" crowd did not respond the way a Stonesfans-only crowd would have, but the atmosphere was still great. The "pockets of Stones fans went wild and even the "younger" generation of non-fans was enjoying the show. Being home now with a bronchitis, I decided that this is the show that will close MY 40 Licks tour. It has been great, even with the ups and downs of performances by different bandmembers, cancellations, traveling long distances, qeueing, nights in front of the PC (resulting in two clubshows), the discussions on this and other boards, meeting fans from all over the world, and so on and so on.......
See you all next tour!!!!
Still high in the sky, we moved a bit back on the festival ground and we find us a good spot to watch the Rolling Stones show. I was happy to stand a bit further away from the stage, because it was a spectacle, a big show with light, fire, smoke, videoscreens moving around.....This to me a bit at the cost of the music, but....nice to see. They are really good, still rocking around at that age...but in between the songs, I think they needed a rest, because it happened a bit too much that there was too much time in between the songs. They started really good, the middle part was a bit weaker (when they played on the second stage, the fire went a bit out of the audience), but towards the end they were brilliant again. I'm really happy I can say now that I (finally) have seen them once!
One more comment, the first row was in fact about 20 meters from the stage!!!! There was a huge VIP zone, which I think also has a big impact on the ambience. Most of the times, those "VIP's' are even not fans in the first place.
Another comment on the Stones side, Mick had a good contact with the audience, even talking some Flemish. I like it when they try to find contact with the people and not just playing their songs. I really enjoyed the evening!! I will catch up some sleep later on....
Thanks to Peter Lacres Iris Nölle-Hornkamp and Joelle Bonnet for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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