It's Only Rock'n Roll
Jason Mraz 8:00pm - 8:40pm Rolling Stones 9:10pm - 11:05pm
That may have all changed last night when the Rolling Stones came to town. They may now go down as the person or persons who have done more to put the fast growing California San Joaquin Valley town on the map.
They put on a sparkling show in front of a packed Save Mart Center on a beautiful Sunday evening and made history that will not be forgotten by the people who attended for the rest of their lives.
We arrived early and before going into the arena walked over to the trucks and busses and met one of the technicians. He told us some interesting tidbits of information about the tour. We did thank him and told him to tell everybody he could how much all this was appreciated and how lucky we were of being able to see the Stones. His response was that he agreed but what impressed him the most was the way we were able to see them. Not just in some small time venues with inferior sound systems – but an all out show in the best arenas with the best sound and equipment available.
The Stones kicked off the show a little after 9:00 p.m. in explosive fashion with Start me Up. Right away it looked like they were going to have a good time and Mick looked like he was really ready to lay down some Stones Classics that people would never forget.
Mick said that "they told him" the Stones had not played Fresno since 1965 …. "can you believe it?" He also that Save Mart Center wasn’t even a gleam in someone’s eye at that time and here they were still playing the same set list. Then a little later he said he thought they might have played there in 1966 but wasn’t sure. The Stones did play various cities in California on three or four separate occasions from about ’64 to ’66. In Fresno they undoubtedly played the old Memorial Auditorium downtown which was a venue of about 3500 people. If it still exists it would be a perfect place for them to play for a small show right now.
Mick was very playful all night long drop kicking and throwing water bottles on the appreciate Fresno crowd.
During the introductions he introduced Charlie as Charlie "Wang Bang" Watts and Keith and Ron tried to drag him to the front of the stage for his accolades but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Tumbling Dice was again one of the highlights of the evening. Always a great, great song.
Keith’s numbers were hot as usual. He too said it had "been awhile" since they were in Fresno. Yes, like 40 years. That is Four Zero
Mick kept up his friendly attitude and joking tone when after a number on the small stage and the crowd was going crazy in front him he yelled out " you maniacs!"
I had been to the San Francisco concert and I thought Rough Justice was better in Fresno. Maybe clearer and – not trying to make a pun – a little "rougher" sounding. It had a very raw edge to it.
Get Off My Cloud get the crowd going in S.F. and got them going in Fresno as well. But that song probably would get anybody going in any city. It just gets the crowd into it with the "hey, you" part.
And of course Night Time is the Right time was fabulous as well – with Lisa in top form. I will have to check the original lyrics of that song and compare to what I heard last night. Thought there might have been a couple changes.
With my high powered binoculars I tried to look for every detail I could. Keith uses the red cup in case anybody is interested and it appears to have an orange colored drink or maybe ice in it. He also smokes Marlboros and usually had one going in the ashtray. The rest of the boys drink mostly bottled water.
Again I noticed the Stones must be trying to jazz up their wardrobe as Ron had a new pair of shoes and Charlie had a flashy yellow colored golf shirt. There is also some writing on the bottom of Mick’s shoes but couldn’t quite read it. It might have been his initials or maybe just a design? But it was something
From my vantage point through the binoculars it was wonderful to see the faces in the background with Mick in the foreground. The different expressions of happiness and awe were something to see.
Jagger was not only warm to the crowd, he was also dynamite. When he did Sympathy For The Devil he let it all hang out – pressing his voice and body to the outer limits. I had the benefit of my powerful binoculars to see every line in his face and the effort he was putting out -- which probably doesn’t translate to video screens. Let me tell you. He gives it everything he has.
I could also see backstage some during the show and on one number Charlie was talking to one of the technicians about something – looked like they were discussing something to do with sound. It just points out that even during the show they are trying to tweak on things and make it better as they go and adjust to the room if possible.
In one interesting moment, somebody threw flowers on stage. Ron picked them up and threw them wildly toward Lisa. Somehow they landed right in her hands and she neatly put them on Chuck’s keyboard. Things are going right here.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want was the first encore number and it gave Ron – who up until then had been pretty low key during the night – a chance to really shine. He jumped to the edge of the stage and went through some incredible guitar riffs reminiscent of Can’t you Hear me Knocking.
And then on the grand finale – Satisfaction – Keith got into the act ripping through his part of the most popular Rolling Stone song of all time.
Not one person left that arena that I saw until well after the Stones had left the building. They had really connected and the Stones had gave them the best they had.
After this concert, it would be entirely appropriate if the city of Fresno erected a monument to The Rolling Stones, the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World, and put it right alongside the Vukovich Memorial downtown for everybody to see as a remembrance to the day the Rolling Stones came to town.
That moving stage was a great touch, bringing them closer to those of us who didn't manage to get in the front rows. I only wish they would have allowed cameras, and they searched us at the door so I didn't dare try to bring one, but the great shots I could have taken...!!!!! I noticed others managed to take some pictures so I hope they will post some here!
Since my first time seeing the Stones (Oct 1964 at the TAMI show) and all the times between, they have never failed to keep it fresh and new. (I imagine they are not as apt to swing on ropes over the crowds now, but the floating stage was just as exciting,and alot safer!!)
I hope they won't wait another 40 years to come back here, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they were still touring many lightyears from now!
And it really was quite a performance. These guys have played a lot of the songs on their set list countless times in concert, yet Mick belts off the tunes with a flair of youth and confidence of age. I thought it was funny that when Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards tried to bring Charlie Watts up to be praised during his introduction, Charlie refused. It just seemed cute that such a solid drummer could be so humble. Mick was kind of the opposite of Charlie during the show, dancing around without the slightest hint of shyness, as if he owned the place- and he might as well have. I was glad to hear Keith sing two songs, and although a local newspaper review said Keith's part was the only weakness of the night, I really liked it. Keith did just sit there and play his guitar and sing, yet it was a nice break from Mick's non-stop running around, and in some ways it felt more intimate than the rest of the concert. So overall I truly loved the concert and I hope I'll be able to see them again.
It was terrific when the whole band got on the tiny stage that lifted up and extended out away from the main stage into the very middle of the arena – that absolutely got the crowd standing up, going ballistic, and singing along with them – especially on Get off of my Cloud.
It was 2 solid hours of non-stop music, and you can’t ask for more than that! The encore of Satisfaction was phenomenal.
On a non-musical note, just wanted to ask others out there whether it was my imagination, or did it seem as if Mick and Keith didn’t even acknowledge the other’s existence on stage? There was no interaction between them at all, really. Also, I was watching through field glasses, and it seemed at one point early in the show that Keith threw something (looked like a guitar pick?) in Ronnie’s face. Ronnie grabbed at his face and kind of reeled back – did anyone else see that?
Well, despite that, they all seemed to be really into the show and having fun.
And it did crack me up when Keith got the microphone and acknowledged that they hadn’t played in Fresno since 1965, and that he might have “known some of your mothers, or even your grandmothers!” And even though the crowd was not overwhelmingly appreciative of his turn at the microphone, I enjoyed the chance to see him do his songs.
Anyway, I do hope there isn’t dissention in the band, because now that I have been initiated into seeing them in live shows, I definitely hope they keep on rockin’ their asses off!
After three wonderful shows in September at MSG, Giant’s Stadium and Albany, I waited with growing excitement for my big ten days.... San Diego (on stage box tics), then my home town, two incredible warm, moonlit nights at SBC Park, (8th row isle on Keith’s side the first night and 8th row isle on Ronnie’s side the second night). The build up got more intense and the Vegas show rocked the very roots of the MGM Grand. Again incredible seats section 10, CC. After that show, I knew Fresno would be the climax (who would have thought Fresno!) And it was with great excitement I put the pedal to the metal for the long drive to the University Inn. These were by far the best seats of the tour so far. Section 121, first row A and as the band exploded onto the stage I knew we were to be carried, (as Mick said after the show) "off the charts". The SaveMart Center was lifted into another dimension and one which will not be forgotten. The intensity never once failed. As Keith says, "All I want is ecstasy..." Well, we all got it tonight!
By the way, I was the one who threw the roses onto the stage - I am glad they crossed the Rubicorn.
Thank you, goodnight and God bless.
He made reference to the near upset by Fresno's States football team the night before of #1 ranked USC, saying "nearly the upset of the century"
The building itself is the smallest arena in Central/Northern California, really intimate with stadium seating- everyone had a great seat and was involved in the show.
This was of import because it appeared to me that the band was dragging a bit on the early numbers- I caught several misstimed chords, Mick ran over andgrabbed Ronnie and tried to get him going early, Keith was looking a bit frayed round the edges- the early sound was loud and really jumbled, the band had just flown in from Vegas and was going to fly out that night, we were out in the boonies that is Fresno- all the potential makings for a clunker of a show.
Oh well, I reckoned, any night with the boys is better than watching the telly-
then the energy of the crowd started to kick in , right about at Tumbling Dice- the good people of Fresno really were giving it up for the band, enthusiastically dancing and howling for every song- in every section, top to bottom- you could see first Keith than Mick then the rest of the band visibly perk up- andrenaline started to flow from the boys and back to the crowd and back to the band- until everybody was whipped into a frenzy- they made their way to the back stage on their rolling platform during Miss You and the back of the arena just erupted- we hustled back from our 9th row center seats and stood just in front of Mick and he was grinning away-all of a sudden once again it was the Greatest Show on Earth and the band played on, with Gett off My Cloud a huge pleaser- back to the main stage during Honkey Tonk Woman- a really tight Sympathy for the Devil- and then Brown Sugar- a song I love but should be tired of seeing them play again and again- can I say it was as tight and exciting as the first time I saw it back in 1975? Maybe the best rendition I have ever seen- we strolled out grinning after JJF, covered in sweat , hoarse, with my friends from Fresno saying" thats the best Rock n Roll show we have ever seen"
Thanks boys you have really done it again- please come back to SF area and play some arenas- how about Oakland- or better yet, how about a little run at the Fillmore - maybe 5 shows- to really drive us nuts!
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