It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show Time - 7.30 p.m. - 9.20 p.m.
Wednesday's show at the Yokohama Arena inevitably did not reach the same levels of general hysteria seen at the Budokan two nights earlier. The set list reverted to a more traditional composition, and the band still suffers from lengthy gaps between songs. There was little Japanese chit-chat from Mick this time too. The sound was turned way down, and Mick's vocals were largely lost in the mix.
This city of 3.4 million is essentially part of greater Tokyo, about 20 minutes by southbound train from the capital, and maybe the Stones were in a hurry to get back to their hotel.
The crowd seemed reasonably lively, and certainly enjoyed the b-stage segment and the "yeah! yeah! yeah! wooo!!" bit of "Brown Sugar." One fan held up a sign that said "CHARLEI" - well, he almost got it right. On the other hand, the Japanese debut of "Don't Stop" received only polite enthusiasm, while "Loving Cup" seemed to wash over the masses.
One thing that's been bugging me this tour, and which I really noticed tonight was the use of off-stage backing vocals from Lisa & Co. during "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" and "If You Can't Rock Me." Given that her voice is already sweetened for "Gimme Shelter" one wonders what other trickery they are up to. Is the whole thing on Memorex?
You Got Me Rocking was carried out with full members of back vocals this time. Mick omitted a continuum shout of the last part of All Down The Line. Was it tough? Ruby Tuesday. Good tune. And Keith's voice gained warm reception among people. When The Whip Comes Down knocked out me up to the nines. Brown Sugar on B stage went without Bernard. I liked this style, too. Bobby exchanged a charming glance with Charlie when he stepped into B stage for Brown Sugar. I emphasize that performance on B stage was the moments of felicity.
1. "Street Fighting Man": The Stones jumped on stage and launched into "Street Fighting Man", an anthem many fans were probably hoping for, but the sound was awful. Mick seemed to be leering at the soundboard technicians for help.
2. "It's Only Rock'n Roll": Better than "Street Fighting Man", but the sound was still disappointing.
3. "If You Can't Rock Me": Great, funky groove. Charlie was especially cool on this one.
4. "Don't Stop": Very good.
5. "Monkey Man": Fun song, but a bit disappointing in comparison to the video clip at rollingstones.com.
6. "You Got Me Rocking": Good.
7. "Ruby Tuesday": Excellent. The sound was very clear and Mick seemed like a poet as he stood at the front of the stage singing this classic tune with Keith several feet behind him on his left-hand side contributing harmonies.
8. "Loving Cup": As a huge image of the cover of the original Exile on Mainstreet album dwarfed the band and stunned the crowd, Mick strapped on an acoustic guitar and drifted into "Loving Cup". The song sounded great and resonated with the essence of the Stones' timeless mythology.
9. "All Down the Line": Couldn't hear Ronnie's lap-steel slide guitar but the Stones rocked it hard and fast. One of the best songs of the night.
10. "Tumbling Dice": The crowd seemed to like it a lot, but this rendition of "Tumbling Dice" probably wasn't too special for diehard fans.
intros: To a thunderous roar, Ronnie strutted sarcastically to the front of the stage and, smiling, saluted the crowd with his right hand while clutching a cigarette between the fingers of his left. Charlie got a huge ovation and his ear-to-ear smile showed his warm-hearted feeling to the audience. The masterful drummer almost came to the front of the stage to take a bow. Bobby got the second biggest ovation. Nobody introduced Mick and it would've been nice if the other half of the Glimmer Twins had done so.
11. "Slipping Away": After about 20 seconds Keith stopped playing his guitar and just held it propped against the floor with his right hand as Blondie backed him on acoustic guitar. The former junkie sang with a lot of heart and a timeless smile on his face.
12. "Happy": "Slipping Away" was a bit melancholy but the mood turned completely around when Keith launched into his trademark tune. It was hot and fiery.
13. "Sympathy for the Devil": Some of the best video effects on any Stones tour turned this into a really exciting song, as if Mick's classic lyrics weren't enough.
14. "Start Me Up": Good rendition of a great song.
15. "Honky Tonk Woman": Would have been one of the best songs of the night even without the large-breasted, Japanese animated sexpot straddling a wet, red tongue. After the song, two women sitting in the stands were shown on the screen. The one on the left looked as though she had no idea about cunnilingus; the one on the right looked as though she might be experienced, but she was a little embarrassed to show her enthusiasm, only managing a faint smile and lackluster stare.
16. "Satisfaction": Sounded great! The Stones played it hard and fast, just the way most people probably like it.
17. "Mannish Boy": Charlie was all smiles as the band dug heavily into the groove. Darryl played the simple riff with bravado. One of the best songs of the night, and it showed the Stones as masters of hard, electric blues.
18. "When the Whip Comes Down": In a split second the band was locked into a super tight groove, as if they had picked up playing the song from the point at which they had left off the last time they played it. The sound wasn't clear enough to hear the nuances of Keith's riff but it didn't matter, at least not very much. Before the song, Mick caught something thrown at him by one of the fans and the poet demonstrated sharp reflexes in throwing it right back at him. Some fans had handed Ronnie several trinkets, and he smiled as he examined them while walking back to the main stage.
19. "Brown Sugar": Very good. As Bobby swaggered smilingly up to the microphone to take his solo, it almost looked as if he wouldn't make it there in time; but he did.
20. "Jumpin' Jack Flash": The Stones played it well, though it probably wasn't the most noteworthy song of the evening for hardcore fans.
In short, considering that the Rolling Stones were coming off what must have been a massive high at the Budokan, though the Yokohama show was marred by some sound problems, there were enough hot songs and enough heavy petting between the fans and the band to make it memorable for all.
Thanks to Dean Goodman, You Iwaya, Richard Kent and Toru Aoki for set list information.
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe