It's Only Rock'n Roll
Lovebugs (warmup) : 6:15pm - 7:10pm The Rolling Stones : 8:35pm - 10:45pm
Yesterday it was raining, and it was not warm at all. Fall.
Then in the morning of the show day the clouds disappear,
and I realize this band is blessed with great weather on this tour.
In fact there has been no real rain shows at all this summer,
knowing there was a slight drizzle in Hamburg, a shower before
they started in Prague, and light rain during the first two songs
in Zaragoza. But tonight - perfect weather for the perfect
rock'n roll band, we all deserve a proper finish of the European Tour.
The Swiss crowd was pretty silent, until Mick asked everybody to sing on "You Can't Always Get What You Want". They were singing indeed! The sound was good, the band was happy, and I was so happy that I could enjoy this show, then go home after four months on the road. So many great memories.
The B-stage was magic. Then I realized this band do not really want the tour to finish. They rocked like never before on the B-stage. Mick was everywhere. Even Keith came all over 2-3 times. And as they finished, Keith was sitting on Chuck's stool, smiling, looking at us like he did not want to leave, having his jacket half off, half on, as it was indeed a hot Street Fighting Man... But he had to go, Lisa was already far into Gimme Shelter. Keith was shaking hands with everybody on his way back. And did Mick really throw his jacket into the crowd? It would have been the first time I have seen it, and I have seen a few shows. May be it is the "tour over" feeling.
At the presentation Mick said he had to do a lot of thanking. He thanked all the 193 people in the crew. And I would join in and say thank you to each and every crew and band member for making this tour perfect. No cancelled shows. They played them all. Family and friends had to wait for three more weeks while the band and the crew took care of unfinished business, i.e. Twickenham I, Amsterdam II and Benidorm. This is not a band that ignores their fans!
Satisfaction and Jumping Jack Flash lasted forever. My favorites. Confetti. Fireworks. Nobody wants to leave even if the lights have been on for a long time. You will never find a fan at a Stones show that is not happy after the show, that is for sure. That's why they are the greatest rock'n roll band in the world, and that's why we will see them again, on the next tour!
03-Oct-2003:00:30 - IORR/Bjornulf
The support act was a local band from Basel (Love Bugs) that started around 18.00 with their show. They played nearly an hour and then we had to wait very long for the Stones to come. At 20.35 they hit the stage (of course it was already completely dark at this time) with a typical but very solid stadium set list. No real surprises, but the performance was excellent. The usual stadium opener is Brown Sugar, followed by Start Me Up and You Got Me Rocking. Then the "new" song Don’t Stop, which works very well in the stadium. Next song was Angie in the most beautiful version I heard so far... Then came a very long version of YCAGWYW and the highlight (again) of the evening a very hard bluesy rocking Midnight Rambler. This version rambled on for a very long time, with great playing from all. I never heard Charlie Watts beating the drums so hard...
Next song Tumbling Dice was good, I would prefer some other song, but they played it very well. During the Band Introduction it was mentioned that it was the last show of the European Tour and Mick acknowledged all the crew (about 200 people) and followed by introducing the band. Keith played Slipping Away and Happy, both well done. Again, a very long version of Sympathy For The Devil with great fire... On the B-stage IORR, Mannish Boy and Street Fighting Man were played. This was the first time in my experience that the sound from the B-stage was really good.
The show ended with the warhorses Gimme Shelter (great long intro), Paint It Black (first time for me this tour), Honky Tonk Women and Satisfaction. After a short break they came back with Jumping Jack Flash and fireworks... Lisa Fischer and the Stones got flowers from some typical Swiss "Heidi-like" dressed young ladies before leaving the stage. This was the end of the European leg of the Licks World Tour. No real surprises, but if the band keeps on playing like this, we could see them soon again... This was a great Rolling Stones summer.
The stadium was absolutely packed with a bored crowd. Mick's show was great as ever and he did a lot of work tonite. During You Got Me Rocking the band started to play as a band and really got into it. The B-stage was outstanding and Street Fighting Man an absolute highlight. Rock music at its best. Following a great Paint It Black although the crowed seemed to fall asleep. But this wasn't the Boys fault. This show rank above average and they seemed to have a lot fun on stage. And let's never forget Bobby Keys who was playing like hell night after night.
I had a few very special moments throughout this tour: Start Me Up in Chicago, Rock Me Baby in Hockenheim and Street Fighting Man in Zurich. I will never forget these moments of magic ... thank you all.
And the Stones sure played like it was their last show. They were on top form - and I mean TOP FORM! Even Charlie ("I hate rock n' roll") Watts, really looked like he was getting into it. Mick was unbelievable. I first saw the Stones in 1978 and several times since then, and I can tell you this: Mick has not slowed down one bit!
By contrast, when I saw the Stones 'free' concert in Toronto in July, it was a let down. Although Mike tried to put on a show, Ronnie and Keith seemed more interested in just gazing at the massive crowd of 450,000 -- their biggest audience ever. Charlie looked like he'd rather be playing with his jazz quartet.
But not last night. In Zurich the Stones truly kicked ass!
A long extended version of Midnight Rambler that was mind blowing. If there were just one reason to get a recording of this concert, it would be this song. Mick's vocal antics and Keith's brilliant guitar seemed to hypnotize the crowd during the long slow stretch in the middle. And just when it seemed the beat would go on and on, Mick kicked in: "Have you heard about the Boston?" .... Wham! Pure magic.
Mannish Boy on the B stage -- The Stones went straight back to their Blues roots with this supercharged version of the great Muddy Waters hit.
Paint it Black -- Mick transported the whole crowd back nearly 40 years with this hit. The Stones could not have played it better.
Gimme Shelter -- Where did they find Lisa? If she sang any longer she'd steal the show from Mick!
And, of course the great hits at the end. Honky Tonk Woman (although the intro could have been longer), Satisfaction and Jumpin Jack Flash.
On the negative side (hey, I call it like it is) Street Fighting Man seemed a bit cramped on the small B stage and all the "Hoo Hooing" (encouraged by Mick) during Sympathy for the Devil sounded a bit hokey.
So that's it then. Two hours and ten minutes of the greatest rock n' roll band in the world playing one of their best concerts ever. Who could ask for more?
Let's start at the beginning. The opening act Lovebugs was boring as hell (why choose a band like that for the FINAL show ?!?!) It took the roadies only a bit of time to prepare the stage for the Stones but the guys obviously decided to make us wait a little longer so that was the first thing that got me in a bad mood....the stage had been ready for more than 40 minutes, it was dark and everything, yet we had to wait....only God knows why...and probably Mick, Keith, Ronnie & Charlie...
Finally they came on stage and surprisingly Keith did not mess up Brown Sugar but oh my god the sound was terrible during the first 2 songs. The guitars were way too low in the mix and even though I was up front it just didn't sound right, on top of it all it was definitely not loud enough....it really makes you wonder if ticket prices are that high, the guys are filthy rich but the soundpeople are obviously not paid enough to get the sound right at ANY stadium in the States or Europe (there were only one or two stadium shows on this tour I saw that had perfect sound....)
By the time they played You Got Me Rocking finally the sound was pretty good and I started to smile again, kinda enjoying the show, hoping or rather expecting a good setlist. After they played Angie and then You Can't Always Get I realized they unfortunately were not going to take any risks for the final show but rather play a standard setlist. Since Ronnie has a great solo in YCAGWYW let me just say this...they NEVER turn his guitar up as loud as it should be. People always complain that Ronnie doesn't play but it's just not true...
Then we got a real treat...Midnight Rambler....the song itself was not the treat, it was how it was played. So full of energy, I couldn't believe it, the best version of this tour, maybe the best version ever, powerful, brilliant...words can't desbribe it..
I was up there in heaven for a bit when Keith reminded me that this was real life and played Slipping Away for the 80th time or something on this tour, thanks man you know how to bore me. Then he whipped out no.1 crowdpleaser Happy and it was kinda cool since it had a double ending, which added something special to the song and I liked that. But seriously, why rehearse a cool track like You Win Again over and over if you just decide to play Slipping Away again in the end ?!?!
The B Stage sound was good, performance wise they also kicked ass but to my mind the song selection was so ordinary, at least IORR (how many times can ya play that song on one tour....the Guiness Book Of Records will tell us one day LOL) and Street Fighting Man. Mannish Boy was really AWESOME but why not combine this with say I Just Wanna Make Love To You and Little Red Rooster. Those 3 songs on the B Stage, that would be one show I'd like to attend...
Back on the mainstage, the horrible Licks Version of Gimme Shelter (as in no Keith, much Lisa and canned music....WHO CAME UP WITH THAT IDEA ?!?!) but then...Ladies and Gentlemen....a real treat extraordinaire, PAINT IT BLACK. Killer guitars, great drums and powerful vocals. If I had to pick one song of the night, that would have been it. I remember how I liked this song on the 98 tour but the version they play on this tour puts everything previously played to shame. A simple WOW desribes it pretty well...
Rumor had it Tina Turner would be special guest on Honky Tonk Women (since she lives in Zürich), but of course no such pleasure or torture (whichever way you wanna look at it...), Satisfaction, JJF and that was it, the 2003 Licks Tour came to an end. The China shows are not yet confirmed....
During the band introductions Mick thanked the crew for everything they did on this tour. Well let me just add my extra special thanks here. Thanks to the securities for hunting people with cameras (even those with shitty little disposable ones) down like they're freaking assassinators. Let me also thank the soundguys for pretty much messing up the sound at almost every show during at least a few songs. No really, the only people Mick should thank are the ROLLING STONES, for giving us another tour, AND...maybe the Swiss girls who presented the guys with flowers after their final bow...how sweet was that..:)
Without that stadium feeling, I can get no satisfaction!
Thank you Keith, Mick, Ronnie and Charlie. Keep on rocking?
Thanks to IORR photographer Klaus Lauterbach for the great photos. More great photos in high resolution will be printed in the next fan club magazine IORR 49, due out later this month!
Thanks to Beat Kayser, Axel Schumacher, Joelle Bonnet and Dr. Iris Nölle-Hornkamp for news links!
This page will change over the next few days, as you and other fans send reviews, set lists and reports. Please send your e-mail to IORR. Thanks! For details and great photos from the Rolling Stones and their World Tour get the IORR magazines.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe