It's Only Rock'n Roll
Three Days Grace (warmup) : 6:00 pm - 6:40 pm The Rolling Stones : 7:45 pm - 9:35 pm
Given the chilly temperatures (36 Fahrenheit, 2 Celsius), they could have phoned in a quick and nasty show, but they slotted in seven new songs, including "Angie" and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," and played the holdovers from Friday's show with renewed passion.
"I know this is actually the first night," Mick said, after the second song, "You Got Me Rocking," referring to the fact that the Sunday show was the first one announced. "You guys bought all the tickets first."
The crowd roared in approval. Friday's crowd was great too, but Sunday's was just a bit more enthusiastic. After all, we were all freezing together.
Actually, the show began on a very wobbly note. Keith launched into "Paint It, Black" not long after the video intro had started. The footage was hastily cut, the pyro quickly set off, and the technical guys struggled to rescue the sound, which was incredibly bass-heavy.
After "It's Only Rock 'N Roll," Mick welcomed fans from Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. But when he mentioned those from Winnipeg, people booed. There must be some real antipathy between the two towns. "Even if they're from Winnipeg, they're welcome," Mick added.
"All Down the Line" was a blast. I hadn't heard this in a long time. I'm not sure the crowd was into it, or maybe they were just too cold to thrust their arms into the air. Actually, the secret to staying warm, is jumping up and down and moving around, as Mick showed.
He was still in a joking mood as the band prepared for the next song. He apologized "sincerely" for joking about the town's unfortunately-rhymed name, and promised he'd never do it again (“Regina” falls in the same category as "Mulva," for Seinfeld fans out there). But then he added, "I hope that doesn't make me sound like too much of a pussy." The crowd loved it.
And I loved "Ain't too Proud to Beg." Mick worked the crowd hard on this one. At the end, Keith fell to his knees, but it wasn't in the single motion you'd expect. It took him several stages as he did it gingerly. Arthritis? Some times during the night, he just looked disoriented. Maybe he was in a trance. He didn't seem to laugh much, or joke around with the other guys. If anything, his emotionless face reminded me of Muhammad Ali.
Mick announced the band would slow things down for the next song -- "Angie" -- noting, "I can't stand still for too long." He patted Keith on the back at the end.
Mick then strapped on a guitar -- "joining the freezing finger brigade" -- for "Rain Fall Down," which would have been relevant about seven hours earlier.
After "Tumbling Dice," during which he ran one-third down the catwalk towards the b-stage, he again the crowd "for making us feel fantastic."
Keith didn't say much during his usual set. "Second show. I don't believe this stuff. You guys are too much." He said some other stuff later on, but I missed it.
Down at the b-stage, the police tried to keep fans from rushing to the area, but local security guards overruled them in a few cases. "Under My Thumb" was more or less finished by the time the band got there. During "Rough Justice," Mick moved up and down the stage arms outstretched like a toy soldier, a clever ploy to stay warm. On the way back, he briefly wore a Davy Crockett-style coonskin cap that someone had tossed up.
No complaints about the war horses. A special award to Ronnie for accomplishing his solo during "You Can't Always Get What You Want" despite being in agony because of something in his eye. Oddly enough, Mick almost brought the song near the end when he said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute" before leading the crowd into the sing-along. I thought there might be a disturbance in the crowd, but remembered that I was in Canada and such things never happen.
Mick was on fire at the end, so much so that he (foolishly?) stripped down to a short-sleeved red shirt during "Satisfaction." Hope he doesn't catch a cold. I've got a lot of plane trips and hotels booked.
The antipathy to Winnipeg is a football rivalry and the concert venue was Taylor Field, site of many of those battles. Rest assured that when we're not in that stadium, we're quite tolerant - even hospitable - toward our cousins from Winnipeg.
The band was tight and in good form. The tuning of a guitar prior to the start of the show hinted as to what would be the first song - Paint It Black. I did miss the sly antics of Richards at this show and well . . . time waits for no one . . . Keith is certainly starting to show his years. His guitar rifts in the song Ain't To Proud to Beg did sound a bit off but this was the only glitch in the show in terms of Richards. His work in Jumpin Jack Flash and the other classics was true to form. The stage presentation was also a classic modern Stones theatre event complete with an inflatable tongue and a very impressive movable stage unit that slowly moved to the B stage during the song Under My Thumb.
The close of the concert saw the band riding a vast wave of enthusiasm from the packed house. The audience loved the show and in turn the Stones gave us all something to cherish - classic rock from of course the true greatest rock n' roll band in the world. The show will now be just a memory but what a show to remember.
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Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field - Oct 6 at 9am
Gas (petrol) station across the street of the stadium