It's Only Rock'n Roll
Rolling Stones : 8:45 p.m. � 10:40 p.m.
What was threatening to become a disappointing evening with an
unimaginative set list for a market the Stones have milked dry over the
years got a boost around the half-way mark with the additions of
"Connection" and "Just My Imagination."
"What a blast!" Keith excitedly said after performing "Connection," a rare treat for the fairly full stadium.
But then two songs later, he could be seen angrily admonishing Ronnie during "Just My Imagination" on the small stage. Ronnie was doing a solo at the time, and Keith had been warily watching him from close quarters. I guess we'll never know what crime Ronnie committed, and he and Mick just shrugged their shoulders at each other after the song.
Keith also invaded Mick's personal space during an extended harp solo on "Midnight Rambler," though this time it seemed designed to drive his singer to better things.
The show began on a weak note with a barely audible "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and a not-much better "It's Only Rock 'N Roll." On the other hand, two lesbians were making out in front of me. Aaah, gotta love San Francisco.
Mick then said, "It's great to be back in Oakland. I gotta first apologize for messing up your dates." He expressed his appreciation for people changing their schedules for him, especially when they could have been home watching "Monday Night Football." (Thanks Mick, the various itinerary changes have cost me several hundred dollars and a pointless trip to Atlantic City.)
After "Let's Spend the Night Together," Mick thanked "Van the Man" Morrison for what I thought was a dreadful, 65-minute opening set, and he welcomed fans from San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento. He described the next song, "She Was Hot," as "a slightly unusual tune." What's unusual about it for me is the time he spends looking back at Chuck and Bernard to see what's going on.
He strapped on a guitar for what I hoped might be "Sweet Virginia" or "Faraway Eyes," but we got stuck once again with "Dead Flowers." Several times, Mick rushed to the drum riser and blew his nose, throwing his used tissues on the platform, which must give Charlie a minor heart attack. It was an ominous sign given Mick's recent ill-health, and the dropping of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from the encore lineup didn't fill me with confidence.
"Bitch" and "Tumbling Dice" seemed to be performed at breakneck speed. During the latter, Mick missed his cue for the "rank outsider" line after Ronnie's solo. Overall, a solid show, nothing special.
The Rolling Stones playing Oakland stadium. A really old stadium (compared to AT&T) that they first played in 1978. Van Morrison tonight was a great opener. He played a nice set and his band played like they were at the Masonic Auditorium. What a beautiful warm November evening with a full moon. The real surprise was they rocked a full house stadium. How it got full is probably another story from watching late drops on ticket master. Papered it up maybe, you think? Not by the crowds enthusiasm.
�Jumping Jack Flash� is kind of an old opener, yet it still plays well. They switched the set just enough from what they played last year at SBC and the European leg during the summer. Some of the highlights for me was the addition of �She Was Hot.� Keith proved why he can out play Chuck Berry with his eyes closed. This song has some tight breaks from Charlie and vocal back ups from Lisa and Bernard. �Dead Flowers� could have been done on stage at Grand Ole Opry tonight. �Streets Of Love� is quite surprising live, especially the quiet break where Mick sings by himself and takes it back out to the ending with a nice Ronnie solo. His vocals tonight were quite on, I noticed he blew his nose a lot and was spitting. His over all performance was stunning in the physical aspect.
�Midnight Rambler� is always a crowd pleaser, but for a moment Keith stood in front of Mick while he was playing Harp and gave him the biggest shit eating grin I have ever seen. It show�s how much he respects his partner. My guitar licks moment was Keith playing the �human� riff to Bitch on a Les Paul Junior. A big thumbs up to Ronnie Wood for playing more consistent than the last few trips through these parts. Keith Richards set was moving. It was a nice to see him sing �You Got The Silver� without the guitar. Quite a vocal performance etched in my memory. His phrasing and timing is one of a kind. Connection was fun. I believe he forgot the second verse, played a lead then clowned his way back to ending it. Classic Keith makes classic moments of Rock and Rock. Last moment was �Just My Imagination� on The B stage, they played it well tonight and it was funny hearing Lisa do back ups on the other stage. You all know the last four songs and the audience ate those up as well. I came away feeling satisfaction as this was another great night in the bay area with the greatest Rock and Roll band in the world.
It was 37 years ago (fall of 1969) I first saw the Rolling Stones just across the way in what is now the Oracle Arena, the first of two shows that night. To compare and contrast the shows across all that space and time is a mind-boggling undertaking. Many of the songs they performed Monday night had not even been written. Those that had been, and were performed in both concerts, if memory serves ("Under My Thumb," "Midnight Rambler," "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Satisfaction"), were done up Monday with production values that could not even be imagined under the influence of any drug in 1969. But the very core, the rock 'n' roll, the force, the drive, still seems to be alive and well.
Those grandpas still do like rock and roll, yes indeed they do. It showed all over their faces as the foursome took their bows after the encore, with big smiles all around. They may have been partially from relief that Mick's vocal cords held up well throughout a nearly two-hour workout, but no group could put out music of this quality and power for so long without some genuine talent and commitment to excellence. I would conservatively estimate that Mick has sung "Satisfaction" over 4,000 times since it was first written, but in the Monday night encore he somehow infused it with a surprising power and urgency. Is it the song or the singer? After all, it has been named the rock song of the 20th century.
You may rightfully ask, what have they done lately that lives up to the massive legacy they carry out to the stage every night? Most 60-year-olds would be content to, as the cliche goes, "rest on their laurels." But not the Stones. Take "Sympathy for the Devil" Monday, starting with truly devilish dark red lighting and those familiar hard-rocking chords which always herald the start of a mini apocalypse on stage. Jagger then appeared dressed in a dark red fur top hat and coat, echoing slightly his 1969 costume of red, white and blue top hat and scarf. But the overall visual effect was much fuller when compared with other renditions of "Sympathy" I have seen over the decades.
"Sympathy for the Devil" was a new Stones song in 1969, having been released on the "Beggars Banquet" album in 1968. It retains a edgy, dangerous power into the 21st century, and the current presentation fully lives up to its considerable reputation. You almost expect Mick to be cavorting around the stage on cloven hoofs and wearing a pair of horns under the hat. It remains a special part of all their stadium shows for good reason.
I could go on and on, having seen the Stones in five different decades. They do not perform much recent material, but with such a body of excellent earlier work, why should they as long as they do what they do with such passion. I do not think we shall ever see their like again, in this or any century.
A beautiful night weather wise � almost balmy � and everybody was in an energentic mood including The Boys.
There did not seem to be any residual effects of Mick�s voice after having to rest it for four straight days (doctor�s orders). I did see him cough a couple of times at the beginning and going for water but that seemed to slow down as the concert proceeded
Having a close look at the stage and the inner workings emphasized in my mind how much trouble it is for the Stones to haul around this equipment and put on such a spectacular show. They don�t have to do it. They could pack the place with just a small platform, three guitars and a drum set. But oh no, they go all out to put on not just a Stones show but an experience you won�t forget for the rest of your life. Call it a circus, call it a portable Disneyland E Ride or what ever you want, it all puts everything over the top.
Highlights of the evening for me were Midnight Rambler (have never heard it so good), Connection by Keith (very raw), Sympathy for the Devil (Mick and Keith and the lights were all fabulous), Under My Thumb as the stage rolled out (great rhythm and beat). It is a little pointless to single out these songs as the person next to you might think others were ten better.
Having been on the floor I could see the entire crowd looking down and there were 55,000 people up there really into it and focused. I can�t think of any act or any group that could spellbind that many people like that at one time. There are probably a few out there -�but it just brought home the amount of fun, entertainment and enjoyment the Stones have brought to so many people over the years. If doing that is a measure of your life then the Stones have succeeded with theirs.
The show came to a crashing end with lights, fireworks and huge streamers from the five story stage and huge pall of smoke which left people floored. Virtually everybody I talked to after the concert said it was the best show they had ever seen.
Unusual set list, and LOTS of extended guitar solo breaks for both Keith and Ronnie, more than usual, great to hear Ronnie louder in the mix, he was in good form tonight-Keith let him do the guitar part to "silver" and concentrated on his singing, much better than the 1/25/99 version on opening night of "no security". Keith also let ronnie handle most of "connection's" guitar parts, and got a little lost in the verses, calling an early ending out to the band, after which he quipped "what a bunch!
"Rambler" was incandescent tonight, very long version-the boys were having fun on this one and it showed. Keith was pretty upbeat, saying "good evening, oakland, nice night for it (weather was unusually warm and pleasant, even for November in California), and "it's really good to be back, at this point it's good to be anywhere!" The band really seemed to be cranking it up a notch, probably feeling a little pent-up and itchy after an unplanned 4 day break.
Mick extended the length of several of the encore songs, pushing the band and calling out "keep rockin', keep it rockin" Now to what you're probably most curious about: Mick's voice. Very solid until the last 4 songs, a few of which he sang off-key, couldn't tell if his monitors weren't up to the task, or if his throat was just blown out, but he was visibly pissed off through of the encore song, either with himself or the onstage monitors, difficult to tell which (he may have over done it tonight,and did sound like he was oversinging (using too much power, pushing the vocal cords too hard)-early on.
I hope Phoenix works out for him. He also seemed pretty winded (what? Mick WINDED? huh?) which robbed his vocal delivery of some power. Charlie and Keith looked pretty beat at the end, and Darrell and Charlie were congratulating each other on making it through what seemed like a longer than normal set. All together a very enjoyable show (my 7th stones show) though after a year on the road I think the guys are wearing down and need some "time off for good behavior".
Actually the date was for last night but �Sir Mick�s� unfortunate case of laryngitis caused a one night delay. It was extremely nice of Mick to apologize to the crowd and thank us for showing up one day later. He even made a crack about Monday Night Football given that the Raiders were on T.V. at the time. No matter.
The Coliseum was quickly filling to capacity as Van Morrison and his band mixed up a blend of Blues and Jazz for the crowd. His most recognizable tunes (Brown Eyed Girl, Gloria, etc.) obviously got the best reactions from the audience. My son was largely ambivalent toward Van. It was then that I noticed that most everyone in attendance was much closer to my age than my son�s.
After a short break, and a quick discussion on whether 40,000 people will show up to see Green Day perform 30 years from now, the Stones took the stage.
Absolutely amazing. From the unmistakable first notes of Jumping Jack Flash onward, you know that you are watching One Famous Band and an icon on stage. Mick Jagger�s voice sounded just fine to me. The sound system for the outdoor football / baseball arena was clean, and the music sounded clear, if not slightly distorted, non-echo-y, but overwhelming in a good way. Mick�s energy, even after such a long tour, spills out into the arena the size of the Coliseum, making me wonder, how does he do it?
I have to say that during their first few songs, I was mostly spellbound by Keith. He stands there with this (silly) grin on his face. That he later admits to the crowd in all sincerity saying, �It�s good to be here, heck, it�s good to be anywhere!� A bandana loosely wrapped around his head, with a feather sticking out of it, while sporting a full length trench coat. Hey, wait a second. Maybe Keith�s the icon!
The set list was satisfying (ha), if not a bit predictable. I suppose with a Rolling Stones concert you have to play 5 or 6 songs (Jumping Jack Flash, Satisfaction, Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Women, etc), 1 or 2 from the new album (Streets of Love), Toss a couple to Keith (You Got The Silver -- not half bad -- , Connections � uggh -- ) But it was the ones that they pulled out of the bag, so to speak, that I relished (especially, Paint it Black, the chords still echo in my mind as I write this). And too bad for the Drunk Guy behind us that kept yelling �Sweet Virginia� like he was at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. �What song is it you want to hear?��
The set itself was another Monster-In-The-Making. They completely outdid the one from the tour 4 �5 years ago. More video screens, more lights, more stage levels, more of everything � even a moving mini stage. And what they do to the whole thing during Sympathy For The Devil is worth the price of admission! I was half convinced that they were going to burn it down. What a production. Oh, and, did I forget to mention the gigantic inflatable tongue?
It goes without saying that at this point the Rolling Stones have defined themselves beyond Rock �n Roll. They simply in the most elaborate way tour the globe in their �60�s doing what they love.
Last night while looking down on Mick and Co. from our seats near �Mount Davis�, as they ran through their possible millionth rendition of Brown Sugar, I could tell, The Rolling Stones were having an enormously good time. And my son and I were having fun right along with them.
I hope they come back soon.
The set list was just about as good as it gets in an arena. Dead Flowers is always a kick and this time it was just what Ron needed to get his mind off sadder thoughts about his brother. I had told my daughter that no one has as much fun as Ron Wood onstage, but Ronnie was clearly preoccupied for the first few songs. Dead Flowers seemed to bring him back to being his usual playful self. Bitch kept it going. I had missed out on that one the last few times, so I was thrilled to see it make the set. The horns were just fantastic. And Midnight Rambler was great, as always. I get goose bumps when I see Keith walk out with the Les Paul Jr. that he always uses for this song.
Connection! The band got lost a few times, but still, what a treat! I hope Keith keeps this one in there for the rest of you down the line. Lisa, Bernard and Blondie fill it out perfectly. Ah yes, Lisa. Oops. Can�t go there. I was at the show with my daughter�
Under My Thumb was much more subtle than I remember from years ago, and off they go to the B stage. To my 15 year old daughter, the moving stage was the coolest thing ever. She stood on her seat and saw the insanity of the B stage. Now she wants to see them in a smaller venue. Who doesn�t? By the time Sympathy rolled around, she knew where Billy Joe Armstrong and co. learned how to put on a show. We all know which band invented rock theatrics and in Sympathy, we got a fine example last night.
Brown Sugar is one of my favorite songs of all time� as close to a perfect rock song as you can find. Sometimes, it has appeared to me that they have gone through the motions on this one. Not last night. Jagger was suddenly 30 years younger, not just running up and down the stage, but moving like only he can. The whole band picked up on this and just killed. Satisfaction was just that, and I have to thank the guys for another night that I�ll never ever forget. And another 15 year old gets her first taste of just how good it gets.
Sadly I tripped over a curb coming in and fell smack on my kneecap. After the second song, I wanted to find ice. After years of working with BGP, I nevertheless completely forgot that Rock Medicine/Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic did all the "first aide" at concerts. That was an ordeal having to be put in a wheelchair by a paramedic and taken into the bowels of the arena to be seen by a doctor. But they do give good attention and it's done quickly. Only other guy there was holding a pink bucket. The doctor looked at my knee and pronounced it a soft tissue injury and bruised kneecap. He rubbed some holisitc medicine (a placebo??) to keep down the bruising, wrapped it, asked if I wanted crutches or a pain killer and said go back to your seat. If Bay Area concert goers aren't supporting Rock Medicine, they should be. All services are provided free of charge and are given by trained doctors, emergency room nurses and paramedics.
I opted to stand at the top of the stairs and watch the remainder of the show. From there the music didn't roar through my chest and I could protect my knee from taking stairs. The Stones didn't disappoint opening with Jumpin' Jack Flash and closing the show with Satisfaction -- playing a ton of their classics in between. I was disappointed not to hear at least one (my favorite Miss You) from Some Girls. Mick, as always, was energetic and wowed the crowd with his moves. He was dressed in his signature black jeans/black shirt (with sequins) and a red belt, red leather jacket. He did a shirt change towards the end of the show. Keith performed a couple of songs, one very bluesy, wearing one of his long duster-style coats. You could smell pot in the air and I cracked up more than once at the old guys playing air guitar (and there were a ton of us"old" people there). One guy was wearing a Wavy Gravy wig under a Raider's helmet. Security was tight and I saw a few people being cuffed and hauled away. They had an incredible "B" stage that pulled away from the main stage well into the crowd on which they performed several songs. The crowd, all 60,000 (50,000?) went nuts and stood most of the show. The boys were professional and rose above whatever personal problems or thoughts they may have had.
The merchandise stands were packed and seemed to sell out fast. We bought T-shirts, but had to settle for less than what we wanted, watched the encore from upstairs (awesome rendition of Satisfaction) and was home by midnight.
This is the 4th time I've seen the Stones (first time in '72 at the Forum with Stevie Wonder; next time in '74 or '75 at the Forum with Billy Preston; in 1980 at USC football stadium with George Thorogood and Prince (when Prince was booed off the stage and Bill Graham came out and yelled at the LA fans) and this time with Van Morrison -- we missed Van's performance as we were stuck in horrific traffic on 880 trying to exit at 66th--the Colesium needed way more assistance with parking. I much preferred the old Stones where they were more into the rock and roll and less into the high tech (pyrotechnics, large screens, lights, monster sound etc.) That doesn't mean they didn't rock the house last night, I just prefer them more raw. I will now retire from going to concerts at large venues, opting to see them at smaller clubs, if at all. Been there, done that & have too many T-shirts to prove it!!!! Overall, it was an excellent retirement party!
As a veteran Stones concert goer (since Mick Jagger�s birthday at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder as opening act), I try and keep mental track of the tunes that I haven�t heard them play before. On this, their �Victory Lap� tour, it didn�t matter. They rocked the house. Jumping Jack Flash, IORR, Let�s Spend the Night Together � all classics. Streets of Love brought the crowd to its feet � some previous reviewer said the song lagged but this was when the lighters, I mean lit cell phones came out in Oakland.
Ten-minute plus version of Midnight Rambler � are you kidding me? Frickin� awesome. Mick did acknowledge the fact that he was in Oakland more than once, although he did tip his hat to San Francisco and sang one line from �Do you know the way to San Jose? Ronnie nailed the slide on You Got the Silver, Keith was sloppier than usual on Connection and yes he is still glad to be anywhere. Charlie looks and sounds better than he should. This is what coliseum shows are all about � big stage presence, great light show, a crisp sound system and more 40-year old cleavage than Costco on a Saturday afternoon. Highlight for this guy: Paint it Black.
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