It's Only Rock'n Roll
Starsailor (warmup) : 7:15pm - 8:00pm Rolling Stones : 8:55pm - 10:50pm
This was a memorable evening in Munich! The Stones
offered a stunning show in the Olympiastadion and
shook away any doubts about whether they can still
live up to being the greatest rock’n’roll band in the
world. I must admit I had my personal moment of doubt
when Mick messed up the lyrics of two songs in a row
toward the beginning of the concert (“Streets of Love”
and “Angie”), but from there on the “boys” went from
strength to strength and really hit the nail on the
head with every subsequent number.
Starsailor were good at the warm up, but couldn’t really stir up the audience a lot. Before the beginning of the Stones concert the four stands at the side of the stage got filled with a couple of hundred lucky fans that could see the band occasionally almost within reach of themselves.
The beginning of the concert itself was traditional for this tour – “Jumping Jack Flash”, followed by “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll”. Mick then sang “Oh No, Not You Again” with a lot of passion (he must really be taking this one personally). After “Let’s Spend The Night Together” came the surprise number of the night – “All Down The Line” - a tight performance by the band. For me it really started rolling after the slow numbers with “Tumbling Dice”.
Looking at the set lists of the tour I had been disappointed that the Stones rarely did one of their blues songs, but I have to admit that their rendition of Ray Charles’ “Night Time Is The Right Time (To Be With The One You Love)” more than compensated for that omission. Everyone on stage was electrifying during this song. Keith’s guitar in particular hit you right in the heart. But the star of the song was quite likely Lisa Fischer, who caused more than a few jaws to drop with a performance that would have made Aretha Franklin in her heyday jealous. Keith was in pretty good shape throughout the night – perhaps not his top, but hardly a trace of any physical problems after his injury. His numbers also went down very well – “This Place Is Empty” and “Before They Make Me Run”.
Mick as usual did a great job of hitting the right nerve with the audience (e.g. saying “I hear that you are the world champions in celebrating” in German; Keith was presented as the “world champion of the guitar”, again in German; and he also didn’t miss to mention that a certain person in Germany has been linked to the song “Angie”).
The Stones always came up with great ways of transferring the band to the small stage, but the moving stage of this tour is certainly the best they’ve done. It’s the only way that most of the fans on the pitch can enjoy the whole band playing just next to them. I’m not sure if it was the closeness of the small stage (I and my wife were barely 10 metres from it) or simply the quality of the performance, but the songs they did on the small stage were the high point of the show, as far as I'm concerned. I was never too convinced about “Rough Justice” on the “A Bigger Bang” album, but tonight it sounded every bit as great as “Start Me Up”. “Honky Tonk Women” was also top, the unforgettable background animation from the last tour being replaced by a giant inflatable tongue.
Speaking of animation, that seemed to be one of the weaknesses of this tour. The opening movie was the least inspiring of the latest tours (a Big Bang, that gives rise to cars and flying airplanes and finally to Keith, who then starts pulling the riffs of JJF), and “Let’s Spend The Night Together” featured a somewhat bizarre series of flashbacks to images of the band members from the 70s. However, they had prepared a very esthetic and erotic video to go with “Brown Sugar”, which largely made up for earlier slips.
Two other personal highlights were “Sympathy For The Devil” (I somehow always forget how great they do this one live – Mick climbed to the upper floor of the stage and really got the audience crazy; Keith’s guitars were very bluesy on this one) and “Paint It Black” (my wife’s favourite song).
Overall, the band are in great shape. Charlie is rock solid as always. Ron looked pretty steady too and although a few of his solos didn’t come out very clean I was never too sure whether it was him or the sound engineer. Keith had it all under control and Mick, except for the occasional lapse in the lyrics, was in full swing and great shape – clearly the owner of the whole show. And there are undoubtedly many more great shows coming on this tour!
After a show in Brno had to be cancelled and my tickets had to be returned, I decided to buy another tickets for Munich show. This time I was successful to attend the third Rolling Stones show in my life. And I have to say that this one has been the best I have ever heard.
The Munich Olympia stadium has a good acoustics, which could be heard even during the set of warm-up band Starsailor. Then we had to wait for about an hour, and at 9 o’clock the bigger bang “outer space” video appeared on the big screen, ended by opening riffs to Jumping Jack Flash.
A set of regular rockers, very tight version of All Down The Line from Exile being the last, followed. They fitted really nicely together as a starting sequence, even if between the birth of Oh No Not You Again and Let’s Spend The Night Together is forty years (!). Then the boys slowed down to first true show highlight, Streets of Love. Mick was really awesome here, nailing that song with great vocals, not to mention Ronnie’s solo at the end. It surely will take time for this song to grow, but for us Europeans, great ballad to hear, and in my opinion better sounding live than on the album.
Another great version of Tumbling Dice, mastered by Keith Richards on guitar, pleased the audience. Here I have to emphasize, that man really rocks on guitar, surely sometimes threws a note where not expected but that’s been a part of the Rolling Stones style since they started. It’s a live rock music, not a studio band. And he played really with passion and energy, never forgetting to make enough riffs and licks when he was feeling they will help the songs going. I have read some negative opinions here on IORR form about his recent performances – as for what I have seen in Munich, he played very well and consistently with his style that all the Rolling Stones fans love for years.
Then we were pleased with Mick’s and Lisa’s duet on “old blues” Night Time, with great catchy chorus. Charlie Watts received a huge ovation during following band introductions.
Keith’s set followed, and he chose a good combination of This Place Is Empty, one of the best ballads on the new album, and fast rocker Before Make Me Run from Some Girls. His vocal performance throughout his set was strong, much better that for example on the show 6 years ago in Prague. During Before They Make Me Run he played a nice guitar interplay with Ronnie. They moved to small stage with Miss You, and played Rough Justice, Start Me Up and Honky Tonk Women here. They kinda messed up the start of Rough Justice, but it is a new song and I was pleased to hear it. During Start Me Up, nice full sound of Keith’s main riff was all over the stadium, accompanied by Mick’s lyrics. Having heard this song a thousand times on various records, I was surprised how well it still works live, despite being a warhorse. The same is with Honky Tonk Woman. A lot of interaction between the boys could be seen on the stage, and this surely helped the show atmosphere.
After the return on main stage, Sympathy started. Mick was awesome on it, he even used his falsetto voice. On the following Paint It Black, he sang with great sense for the song tempo and feeling. Great vocals and both songs full of energy. The regular set was then finished with a cool rendition of Brown Sugar, having Bobby Keys on saxophone playing his solo and Keith hammering his classic riffs.
As an encore, we were treated by a cool version of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, again with Mick’s great vocal performance and Ronnie’s solo in the end. And then, Satisfaction remained, with perfect extended outro showing all the performers on stage creating a sound only the Rolling Stones and their team (backup singers, horn section) are able to do. What to say as a review. It has been a great evening with nice weather, the people and the Stones having fun. The new songs from A Bigger Bang are very good, and fit nicely into the set list. It is great to know the Stones don’t have to rely on warhorses only. Charlie was truly solid and reliable as usual (thank you Charlie!). The guitars were loud and clear, making the songs clearly recognizable by playing both rhythm and melodic lines to their full potential. Mick is a true entertainer of its own level, and his singing skills have only improved through years. The Rolling Stones still know how to do rock music, and nobody plays their songs as they do. They compete first of all with themselves, their unprecedented history and large catalogue of songs to choose from. And they proved their ability to play again, delivering a great show full of well chosen fast and slow songs played with energy and passion. To sum up, very exciting and solid show. Hope that I will have a chance to see them again.
Munich - Our home game.
After Milan we were wondering how things developed.
We arrived at the Olympic Stadium at about 3 p.m.. As the doors were still closed we made a little walk around just doing people watching. Many fans were already queuing at the entrance doors. Doors opened at about 4 p.m. so we went in. Knowing the place by heart we soon found a good place in Pitch A on Ronnies side, must have been around the tenth row. Then the usual game started...
waiting, waiting, waiting......... It was pretty hot down there, no shade until round 6 p.m.. We met Too Tough and had a nice and long talk with him refreshing memories of times long gone by.
Then at 7 p.m. Starsailor started and people stood up. What to say? Well, a typical opening act but we had seen and heard many that were much worse. They did their set unspectacularly.
As always we took part at the lottery for winning on stage seats but never seriously thought of being lucky. Since Fenway Park we thought of doing one of the shows on stage, but the excitement of seeing them face to face always won.
During our talk with Too Tough an sms arrived that we won two on stage seats. After seeing so many shows on this tour and some more to come our decision was made very quick. We had to say goodbye to Too Tough and headed to the meeting point of the winners (41 people).
After numerous instructions by the staff "we entered the stage" at about 8.45 p.m.. The first sign for the rest of the audience that the show would start in a few minutes.
Well, just a few words on the on stage seats. It is a great idea, the view is spectacular and the sound was suprisingly excellent. Seeing the people in the balconies in shows before we thought why aren't they moving, aren't they having fun, they are all so lame. Once being up there we knew why. On each balcony there are five or six security people never stopping to tell you don't do this and don't do that; sometimes not in a friendly way (as we were winners we didn't care much - but for the people who paid this could be another story). Don't lean over the balcony, but nevertheless you have to to see the boys on the stage. But anyways we more or less ignored them and had great fun up there.
So if you are going to attend multiple shows and you can afford it or be a lucky winner you should do it once. But paying for it 450 Euros is much overpriced for what you get. One more thing. If you're up there on Ronnies side just right over the vocal section, esp. Lisa, you get to understand the lyrics of Oh No, Not you again "the moon is yellow, i'm like jello staring down your tits" in the true sense of the words. ;-)))))) Oh, the show....
from jjf to Satisfaction they played great. The sound from our point of view was excellent and this time the crowd in Munich was outstanding. There were several inflatable palm trees in the audience and Keith was introduced by Mick as "Weltmeister im Palmenklettern" (World Champion of palm tree climbers).
All in all an excellent performance not to be compared with Milan a few days ago. We're having a little break now and we'll be ready to rock again for five shows in the UK.
What should I Say? Simply amazing!! This concert was without the doubt the best of my seven Stones concerts I've seen so far.
The band played tight, the crowd was just awesome and the weather was perfect for a Stones concert!
The stadium was up on their feet for almost the entire show apart from the slower numbers. But from Miss You on the stadium was cooking even beyond the final chords. It was hard to make out anybody who was not on their feet. They were shouting "Zugabe!" (encore!) even minutes afters the fireworks went off.
You could see how much the band were enjoying themselves. Keith looked and played great and he seemed to really conentrate on his set. Mick pulled that little extra energy like he always does when the crowd is so appreciative. Ronnie was great and Charlie of course, too.
The stadium wasn't a sellout. There were some block at the very back which were only something like 40% sold, but the field was EXTREMELY packed which is why I guess 60.000 were there at least. Actually I haven't ever seen a stadium field packed to this extent. It was like a miracle that so many people came to see the Stones as there were no advertisements at all in the streets of Munich. I guess I will never understand the Stones management for being so carelessly passive when it comes to promotion. However those empty seats didn't reduce the excitement. Even the people in those poorly filled blocks were on their feet for most of the show. If there is one city in Germany to see the Stones then it is Munich! I hope people trying to watch the concert from the hills outside the stadium bit their asses for being so stingy and missing to see this fabulous Stones show from within the stadium.
I was also pleasently surprised about how many young people attended the show. I had the impression there were more younger people than old veteran fans. A fantastic mix! Especially seeing families with all their children coming to the Stones was great to see.
The sound quality was changing throught the whole show from OK to perfect, but it was never bad (I had seats at the right side of the stage). You could always hear brilliantly what Mick was singing. Sometimes the guitars were a bit buried in the mix for example during All Down The Line, Satisfaction, Rough Justice. I don't mean "Licks-buried" ;-) , but not very high in the mix. However 2 levels better than the Licks sound. The volume was also raised although it could have been a little bit louder.
Highlights were Let's Spend The Night Together, Night Time, Start Me Up, Miss You (!), Sympathy, Paint It Black and Brown Sugar. Well, actually the whole show was a highlight, but those songs stood out the most.
Everybody seemed to be amazed by the show. At least I couldn't hear a single negative word. This is how it should be! :-) Go ahead Stones!!
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Thanks to Josef Massinger for great photos!