It's Only Rock'n Roll
Start time : 9:05 End Time : 11:00
I've never seen a turnout for an opening act like Pearl Jam got tonight. I'd guess 95-99% of the crowd was in their seats by the time Eddie and the boys took the stage, and they loved them. Pearl Jam played most of their hits, such as "Jeremy," Save You" and "Even Flow," while "Last Kiss," "Better Man," and "Daughter" were total sing alongs. I also thought it was nice that Eddie praised Charlie Watts (for beating cancer) and the band played "Alive" for him.
So Pearl Jam set it up, and the Stones slammed it home. The Stones were absolutely on fire tonight. People have had mixed reactions to "She's So Cold," but I loved it and loved the video that played during the song. Other highlight were Lisa's awesome vocals during "Night Time is the Right Time" and some excellent crowd participation during "Can't Always Get What You Want." Also, I think Pittsburgh was pleasantly surprised to get "Paint it Black," "Rocks Off" and "Get off of My Cloud."
Thank you to the Rolling Stones and Pearl Jam for giving Pittsburgh an amazing night that it will never forget.
The Stones made their customary "Big Bang" entrance a little after 9:00. The sound was OK to pretty good, with crystal-clear vocals and loud, albeit blurred, guitars. The bottom-end (bass) seemed to be non-existent. I don't think I even noticed Chuck in the mix until Honky Tonk Women, much later. PNC Park is an open-air baseball stadium, with a single level around the outfield. This makes for a great view of the downtown buildings, but is not the optimum for rock n roll sound.
The set-list will, I'm sure, be discussed in-depth elsewhere. Pleasant surprises for me were She's So Cold, Paint It Black, Night Time, Rocks Off (!) and Get Off of My Cloud. Another interesting musical moment was Eddie Vedder coming out to duet on Wild Horses. He lended a nice complement to the song. The Stones shuffled the warhorses a little tonight, moving IORR and YCAGWYW into the regular set and playing only one encore, Brown Sugar. Only three tunes from the new album, which was disappointing. I thought these songs sounded as good as anything else they played all night, and the band showed a lot of enthusiasm during them. I closely watched the Pearl Jam fans in front of me (mid-20s in age) and they seemed to really groove to the new tunes. Why only three? I'd like to see the Stones go back to the Some Girls days, and do a long string of new stuff.
The band seemed to be pretty much "on". The guitars were at times a little ragged, a few bum notes were hit, but hey this is the Rolling Stones 2005, what can you expect? Charlie was, well, Charlie. Mick gave perhaps the best performance I've ever seen him give. He seems to have worked out a few new moves, and did his customary marathon running perfomance. Vocally, he was brilliant, putting a lot of feeling into the songs (esp. Night Time), although he kind of took some "rests" here and there, at times not really fully letting loose. OK, by me. He didn't pull out the hat until Sympathy. It was a somewhat dull blue thing, devilish in a way, I suppose. Thanks L'Wren!
I had a great time, even though they clipped me $6.50 for Miller Lite. I can't believe I actually bought and drank that swill! Oh well, it's the Stones!
Our seats were 16th row on the floor, in front of Keith, near the catwalk...great location. Pearl Jam opened with a 14 song set that lasted an hour and had the stands rocking... Lots of Pearl Jam fans. Eddie Vedder was sporting a Plasmatics t-shirt and toting a bottle of wine or champagne all night. Pearl Jam was terrific... One of the best openers I've ever seen, and this was my 21st show.. ranking with Buddy Guy (Orpheum '02) and Elvis Costello (Cleveland '02) Vedder gave many thanks to the Stones and wished the best to Charlie for battling cancer... seemingly, the next song "Alive" was for Charlie...very cool.
A few minutes after 9pm, the Stones hit the stage and blasted through probably the best stadium show I've ever seen. And I don't throw that around without some serious thinking. Very loud and clear, and very powerful right off the top with Start Me Up...and the crowd was into a fenzy immediately. I always bring binoculars, even when I have seats up front... I like to watch each member of the band and take in the excellence of their efforts. Much of my time goes to watching Keith. You Got Me Rocking was tight and rocking - Keith was giving it a lot of extra bounce, and of course, Mick's vocals are just perfect,... as they have been on every show. In fact, I make few comments about Mick's performance because it was superb all night long. She's So Cold was more polished and "together" which gave it great impact. The rhythm playing by Keith was right on, and made this song soar. But of course, it was still full of punk. Mick greeted the crowd with scripted comments about the "Bucs being on a little winning streak, a little too late, but there's always next year" He also commented on it being a beautiful night, feeling like the last weekend of summer. And it was a perfect evening in a stadium that is near perfect, with a view of the city skyline. Mick siad they were happy to be in the great outdoors.
Tumbling Dice was standard, good as usual. Rough Justice kicked ass. Mick's vocal was in-step throughout, the song did get not off the tracks as it does sometimes. Then came our first big treat of the night, Wild Horses... midway through the first verse I spotted someone come on stage and then realized it was Eddie Vedder.. I went nuts! My friends and many people around us did not notice him at first.. but then Vedder stepped up and shared the mic with Mick. What a moment! The duet was spotty at times, mainly due to Vedder's stoned state, but the overall results were fantastic. A moment for the ages. As the song finished, Eddie got hugs from the band and a big kiss from Ronnie... yup, that's right, and it looked to be on the lips! But in that usual way Woody does things... perfectly natural. Before the show, I predicted a Vedder duet, but also deemed it a bit of a longshot. Great that it came true. Another changeup came our way with You Can't Always Get What You Want moved up to the #7 spot in the show. Great crowd participation and Woddy turned in his best solo of the night, maybe of the tour... a blistering fast, rocking solo in the final stretch, a spot where he usually dogs it. I watched him the whole time and he did great.. and hit the break perfectly as they went into the final verse. Way to go Ronnie! Next up, a new twist.. Rock Off gets into the show. Another kick ass version... Keith ripping this one up. Power riffs and again, some speed that made it that much better. I also predicted that song would come up in that spot, after hearing it in soundcheck. The Ray Charles classic Night Time was once again, a huge hit. Lisa Fischer was outstanding and Mick was too, with his super high notes and extended finish.
Band intro brought Charlie out from behind the drum kit to show off his yellow socks with black shirt. A big hit in Pittsburgh, as Mick said they were colors that were very dear to Charlie. Keith took over, saying "Good evening Pittburgh, a perfect night for it... good to be anywhere!" The Worst was fantastic. Bernard Fowler and Keith did their duet while Ronnie and Tm Ries added the flavor. Infamy was funky and soulful, Keith was in step the whole way and still did some improv vocals in the end and was fiery on his guitar solos.
Miss You took the rolling stage right over us and the crowd went wild. Oh Not You Again was top notch as usual. And then another surprise.... fresh from soundcheck, a great Get Off of My Cloud that had a very unique bouncy style to it and new guitar opens. Mick introduced it by saying, "we're gonna do an old one... it's so old we may not remember it". But it was a home run. Cloud on the b-stage was another prediction come true by me! Honky Tonk Women was a little different too. Almost had the feel of Country Honk during the vocal phrasing early on. The stage rolled back to the front for the final stretch run.
The next four songs were high energy the whole way and featured hard work by the whole band, especially Keith and Charlie. Sympathy was on fire and rocked the crowd. Keith did great solo work. Then another gem, Paint it Black... Keith on the open and that famous gesture to Charlie to start the beat... and Charlie let Keith hang for a second... great play. Keith laughed.. and then they were off to rip the song and nail it. Right into IORR, and again Keith was shredding. He continued to add new rhythm fills in many spots. On many shows, this stretch has included Out of Control, which gives everyone a mini-breather in the first half of the song, but on this night it was full steam ahead. Jumping Jack Flash was simply awesome. Keith worked his ass off like I've rarely, if ever seen. In the start, but especailly in the middle and end. And this one was a more extended version. By the end, Keith had a look of total exhaustion and I will never forget that look... He had given his all and just run through four songs like never before. Satisfaction ended the regular set and was also great. Keith made his way over to Ronne during the song and showed Woody how sore his hands were, in between strokes on the guitar. Mick worked the crowd into a mega-frenzy, running all the way to the back of the stadium on the catwalk..a move that is much more exciting on Satisfaction then on YCAGWYW, because of the rocking nature of the song. Brown Sugar as the encore was perfect and Mick made sprints down both wings of the stage, which are very long in baseball stadiums like PNC. He just never runs out of energy. After final bows, I had a clear view of everyone leave the stage. Keith is immediately greeted by Pierre and given a towel and lotion to his tired hands... No time wasted in taking care of those valuable hands.
Other highlights included a great play between Keith and Ronnie all night, clear moments of weaving as both played side by side and communicated with looks, words and instinct. Charlie was powerful and fast tonight, great transitions... and booming bass drum in the final songs. For me the level of excellence and passion all night, along with the Wild Horses duet, setlist twists and surprises and that thunderous performance down the stretch made this a top-notch show..probably the best in a stadium I've ever seen. But we all know, the best show is always the next one you see ! But it will be hard to top the run they made with Sympathy, Paint it Black, IORR, and Jumping Jack Flash... I still cannot get over the performance of those four in a row... if you were there, I think you know what I mean.
Pearl Jam took the stage at about 7:00 and played over an hour. Great songs played to a packed stadium. Eddie Vedder had some kind words about Charlie and thanked him for doing what he had to do to be there tonight. He also thanked the Stones for having them open the show. After the Pearl Jam set, the people around me hoped that they'd see Eddie Vedder again that night and some shared their thoughts as to what song they might do.
The Stones started strong as usual and then after Rough Justice, Keith grabs an acoustic guitar. What's next -- they go into Wild Horses. Shortly into the song, Eddie Vedder comes out. A very special moment -- a lot of mutual admiration on the stage.
The Night Time is the Right Time once again is hot tonight. This time I notice that the crowd erupts when Mick anounced the song. The word must be out.
Keith had trouble with the words on Infamy tonight, said that he forgot the words and the band finished the song instrumentaly.
Mick introduced Get Off My Cloud by saying that they were going to do one that is so old that they don't know if they will remember it. It's my 3 year old son's favorite song, too bad he wasn't at this show. The song came off well on the second stage. Paint it Black was a highlight tonight.
What a night in Pittsburgh.
Thanks to Bernd M. for news link info!
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