It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:45 pm Show end : 11:35 pm
Great versions of all the songs tonight especially Shattered. This one really stuck out for us tonight. A little mishap tonight during It's Only Rock 'n' Roll. Mick introduced Ronnie tonight by calling him the "monkey on my back". Keith started his set with "Good to be back - Good to be anywhere" and followed his set with "Bless you all - Good to be back". Mick mentioned during the night that they always play Columbus and that there is a reason for that. He welcomed people from Cincinnati, Dayton and Indianapolis. So the Stones haven't forgotten Indianapolis after all since they haven't played there since 1994.
The Stones are in fine form as they resume the tour. Time to head north of the border. Enjoy the show Toronto.
Mick was quite talkative throughout the set, noting that the Stones have passed through Columbus during every tour, and welcoming fans who came in from Dayton, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. But tonight, they weren’t the biggest draw in town. That honor went to the Ohio State-Iowa college game that took place at the stadium they played in 1997. Mick wondered if the local Buckeyes won (they did, 31-6).
Despite taking place in a college town, the crowd at the Nationwide Arena was definitely older-skewing, but fairly excitable. “You’ve been wonderful, and I don’t say that to all the girls,” he joked after “Start Me Up.” And during the small stage set, he amended the lyrics for “Shattered” to go, “To live in Columbus, you must be tough.”
Beck was a great opening act, kicking off his set with “Loser” and rolling through tunes like “Devil’s Haircut,” “Where It’s At” and the acoustic duo of “Lost Cause” and “Golden Age.” He watched the Stones from a front-row seat in the loge near Keith’s side of the stage, and was largely stoic, but did seem thrilled by “Mr. Pitiful” – as we all were. It was perhaps largely a showcase for the brass section, but a worthy addition to the Stones canon. “Sway” was also a surprise. Mick claimed he did not know what CD it was from. The tempo was different and it ended abruptly.
“Sympathy for the Devil” was unusually dramatic. A fan invaded the stage from the ramp leading into the loge on Ronnie’s side. He fended off one security guy, and was eventually felled after tumbling into the spot deftly vacated by Lisa and Bernard seconds earlier.
The other big surprise tonight was the tribute portion of the set, where the Stones covered Mr. Pitiful by Otis Redding. While it was a welcome change from Ray Charles' Night Time Is the Right Time, it still seems like we have not seen the Marley/Tosh tribute Get Up Stand Up enough. Mick did a nice job on the vocals, more on his own for this song compared to the other two covers played in this spot. Keith added a guitar solo, stamping the song with his style in the same way he does on the guitar parts of the Charles cover.
The four new songs in the set were greeted with enthusiasm from the crowd, especially Back of My Hand, which had more energy (and understanding from the audience?) compared to the Madison Square Garden version. And it was an extra treat that the video screen did not have the obvious overkill of a close up of Mick's hand toward the end of the song, like we had seen earlier on the tour. Keith's song Infamy sounds like it is getting funkier as the tour goes on, and it is fascinating watching it get polished up from the first time at Fenway.
Shattered was played on the B-stage tonight, and it worked very well in that spot compared to She's So Cold or even Satisfaction. For the first time ever I heard Mick personalize the song for a city, changing lyrics to: 'To live in Columbus, you must be tough tough tough tough!'. It was great to get Tumbling Dice back in the set (it was not played in Albany), with Mick ad libbing 'That's what you gotta do girl!' against the 'Got to Roll Me' harmony parts. Another pleasant surprise was Keith taking to the main floor walkway for his solo on It's Only Rock'n'Roll. While Mick has regularly used this path to work the crowd on songs such as You Can't Always Get What You Want, I had not seen Keith use it until tonight. It allowed Keith to be the focus of the crowd, and it had a British pop TV show feel to see the solo being specifically cheered on by the fans on the floor. While Keith's guitar volume was way too low to begin Satisfacton, the show's final song, it did not detract from the spirit of the evening.
The adventurous song selection made this show special, so other gems like She's So Cold and All Down the Line were just part of the set flow rather than stand out rarities. Tonight was a perfect example of why each so is so worthwhile, where the Stones amaze by being versatile, unpredictable, and downright surprising. Do not miss too many shows, because you never know how the Rolling Stones will satisfy their - and your - curiosity.
My biggest disappointment was that Keith’s guitar sounded too low the entire evening (especially noticeable during the opening riff to Satisfaction) and Mick’s vocals never sounded right (he sounded as if he was singing with a clothes pin over his nose – I don’t think he was ill; just poor attention to his vocals from the sound guys). I was sitting in the upper-level, Keith-side, towards the rear.
Much improved over their 2002 performance at the same venue was the sound from the B-stage, which was as loud as that coming from the main stage. (In 2002, the sound was very muffled and those in the upper tier suffered.)
I took 3 friends to the show who had never seen the Stones before and they all enjoyed it. Mick’s showmanship and the overall energy level impressed them, and it was fun for me to see them have a great time.
There's something about the Stones playing in Columbus. My favorite of the arena shows I saw during the Licks tour. My favorite of the stadium shows on the entire B2B tour. The NS tour show being a winner and including Get Off Of My Cloud. I go in thinking even the Stones might have a tough time topping that... but I guess I should know better....
After the new addition to the stage, a curtain backdrop drawing of a crowd, went up, out walked Keith as usual. But instead of the 3 notes to SMU came the opening riff of Brown Sugar. And one of the best live versions I've seen in a long time. This works as an opener - it was compact, more true to the original, no horn section, no confetti or special effects. It came alive, closer to reflecting the great song that it is.
You Got Me Rocking had more zest than I've heard on this tour, with She's So Cold in the 3 spot. After thinking that SSC in Milwaukee and Chicago were the best versions I have ever seen/heard, this one slipped a notch - but that's still not a bad thing. I was hoping they were saving up for the next part of the show... and I turned out to be right.
Dice was the strongest version I've seen on the tour. This is where the week off leading into this show really started to come thru. More energy - just a positive vibe all around, and Ronnie seemed to be more into it than recent plays. Mick got the audience more involved, and even did a little bit of falsetto and ad-libbed a couple of extra words during the ending part.
Rough Justice sounded much more polished, as if they have been peforming it for years instead of a few weeks.
Back Of My Hand would have "normally" been the highlight of the show. A slightly re-worked arrangement, with Mick still playing killer guitar on this one. The timing between Mick, Keith, and Ronnie, during the guitar stretches was one of those musical moments only the Stones can bring. And toward the end, Charlie got louder in the mix and more deliberate... and they all started to rock the song more than I've ever heard. It became a driving blues song. It sounded like the Stones adding their special touch to someone else's blues song. This could have been titled "Back of My Hand II". Like a continuation that speeds up toward the end.
Just as I'm thinking "there's the highlight for tonight!", Mick steps up and does his "We're gonna do this one that we've never done before..." proclamation, introducing Sway!! Granted, not every part of the song went smoothly, but it was Stones history - and the hard core fans were so into it (while some of the crowd stood wondering 'what is this??') it was all magic.
During Sway, Ronnie was solid taking over the lead, even coming up to the front during the opening verse. Ronnie was clearly the force driving at least the first half of the song. After the 2nd instrumental part, the question was answered - how will it end? Sure enough, Mick delivered a reprise of the first couple of lines and then the band ended it. It looked like Charlie enjoyed playing it as well, as he seemed more animated - for Charlie.
The "high" continued as Mick did a charged up intro. He only said "This one is called All Down The Line", but he got louder and there was more excitement in his voice with each word. They were smoking. A totally rocking version that could hold up the studio version any day. It was a highlight when I saw it in Milwaukee 2 weeks ago, but this version blew that one away.
Still on the "high", Mick did his "We're gonna do this one written by someone very special to us". While I'm anticipating the Ray Charles photo to come up on the screen for Night Time Is The Right Time...imagine my shock when a photo of Otis Redding popped up and Mick said "Mr.Pitiful"!! Having been fortunate enough to see this at the Toronto gig in August, and now having been there the only 2 times it has been played so far, I must say this version came off more polished, as if it had been played hundreds of times. Another contender for highlight of the show on a 'non-Sway' night.
The usual Keith set, with Bernard and Keith again arm-in-arm for The Worst, with Keith taking a more relaxed stance during Imfamy, even skipping over a few of the words of the first verse and not even touching the guitar until the 2nd verse. But, as usual, Infamy rocked.
During Miss You, the crowd seemed to get into it early, and Mick picked up on it and kept it strong during the middle part. When it doesn't drag in the middle, this song can still be a solid part of the set list, with this being one of the better versions to come along in a while. This may have been by mistake, but the wide screen above the main stage actually stayed on the Stones even after they arrived at the B-stage - then suddenly went dark. It appears they kept it on longer than they should - but it will be interesting to see if they continue that for upcoming shows.
Out on the B-stage (with no speakers hanging above) for Oh No Not You Again. Once again, Mick got rid of his headset mic that he used on Miss You, and grabbed the regular microphone that was set up at the B-stage. Perhaps he's more comfortable that way. ONNYA was tighter this time around, and Ronnie once again pumped even more energy into it.
Shattered was played at a faster than usual pace, or at least it seemed that way. Mick was all over the B-stage during this one. Maybe it was the Columbus crowd giving it back, but I don't recall seeing Mick in so many places on the B-stage during one song before. Mick also cut out some of the specific NYC references, such as toward then end when he did a couple of "go ahead! go ahead! go ahead!" but never said the "bite the big apple" line.
After a typical Honky Tonk Women, Sympathy came along with more of a dance beat than recent plays. Sympathy was, for me, the highlight of the last part of the show. Keith seemed to be more into it than usual, and I think that made the difference. He and Mick were both out on the ramps and both covered a lot of ground, both just doing their thing. Bernard and Lisa again came out front on the "woo woo0o's", and the energy level was totally up.
But that's not all. During Sympathy, a fan appearantly climed onto the ramp at the far end of the Ronnie side. One report said he made contact with Blondie. I didn't see that, but he was already past in front of where Blondie was standing, so I don't know. A security guard got him and managed to force and then push him off from a ramp or part of the stage to the left of Bernard and to the right of Chuck. Ronnie might have seen that, but I don't know that either Mick or Keith did, as Mick was up front and Keith was out on the ramp on his side. The guy that got on the stage was definitely a big guy, and I was glad that one security guard was able to physically stop him.
After IORR and Start Me Up, it was back to the excitement of a great show. Keith was slashing away during JJF. Ronnie had TD and Sway among his songs to dominate, but Keith took over on JJF. Maybe it was because the mix was not consistent, but I'll say that this was one of the better versions of JJF I've seen in a while. I think that Keith was so into it they extended the guitar finale by another 30 seconds or more. Keith was walking over toward either Charlie or Chuck, and seemed to give a nod as if to say "we're gonna play this one some more!" and the band went right along with him.
Mick came out for the encore wearing a vertical striped shirt I hadn't seen before and got the crowd into YCAGWYW. The crowd shouted the chrous the first time through. Interestingly , before going into the last verse, Charlie stayed with a couple more slower, bluesy, beats, and Keith came in with the guitar, and they added that little stretch and it sounded great, right before Mick went into the last "and I saw her today at the recepppppppt-tion".
As it went with the mix, the opening chords of Satisfaction came out so soft I thought it was a misfire, but they caught it and some may have thought it started later in the riff. Mick all over the place with his final prancing, down the front ramp, out on both sides, jumping up and down, and, once again, making us all wish we can do half of that exercise when we're over 60.
Then it was all over too soon for the sold out and pumped up crowd. Even after the show ended, the noise level continued. I'd almost believe there are still some people there still applauding. And I wouldn't blame them one bit.
A big round of applause go to Beck for providing a very funky and entertaining opening for the night. Perfect!
That being said...."Beck," was fun. I have never seen him perform, but liked the songs he played and thought he sounded very good. Didn't understand the band eating on stage, and the whole 'catering' scene that played out, but to each his own. Happy birthday green jump-suit wearing dude!
Please send your show reviews and comments to:
The reviews will show up here soon! Thanks!