It's Only Rock'n Roll
This was the second time I had seen the Stones in the past year in Seattle, the last being at Key Arena, an arena show. This was also the first concert I've seen at Qwest Stadium, home of the Seattle Seahawks, and I must say that the venue was pretty good, although the dry weather had a lot to do with it. Sound was pretty good.
I though the band seemed to be having more fun this time around and at this stage of the tour, and they had been in town for a few days enjoying fall in the Pacific Northwest. After Chicago last week, they came prepared for the cold at the opening, but by Spend the Night Together they were warmed up, and that was a great extended version with solid singing both front and back end, and a solid tempo. That was song number 3 in the set on the very same patch of land exactly 25 years ago plus a day. October 16, 1981 I saw them play the Kingdome, where the new stadium now sits. How's that for nostalgia?
Mick announced that "it was only the second time they had played this song" and She Was Hot was a little loose and sloppy, but awesome to hear it! Let It Bleed and Midnight Rambler were terrific, especially Rambler. Mick really had the middle part played out hauntingly to perfection, without cutting any corners.
Keith's commentary was hilarious leading up to You Got the Silver and T&A, almost as if he's becoming as hilarious to himself as he can be for all of us. He sang pretty well on Silver though, and sans-guitar for once.
Under My Thumb was a great, mean, churning engine of a song, just great as they floated to B stage for Oh No and Start Me Up. Some really nice guitar work on Sympathy by Keith again. I think Mick was pushing him along and it seemed to work as he had an on night. Charlie had an on night and was better than usual, while Ronnie seemed a little chilled by the weather.
Brown Sugar and Satisfaction were again, mean, nasty versions with a great driving beat, much like something out of a 1972 tour. Lots of pyrotechnics being outdoors, and good crowd response. All in all, another great show by the never disappointing Stones. Just terrific!
Exactly a year earlier, I was with the Stones in balmy Miami and went for a 3 a.m. swim in the ocean afterwards. Alas, such hi-jinks were not advisable diagonally opposite the country in Seattle on Tuesday, when the Stones delivered a solid two-hour show highlighted by a second attempt at “She Was Hot” and lowlighted by a duet with Dave Matthews, the man who butchered "Memory Motel" in 1998. This time, he took an axe to "Let it Bleed." At least his presence accounted for pretty much every college kid in the crowd. Things were a bit chilly, but Mick didn't mind, at one stage raving that "it's such a beautiful night. I know it's always like this."
As was the case in Arctic Chicago, the Stones played in a sadly underattended football stadium. The Qwest Field, near the former site of the Kingdome where they played in 1994 and 1997, is Texas-sized, topped off with what looks like a giant UFO. The stage was pushed about 30 yards to the center, and the b-stage accordingly almost touched the far end.
Dave Matthews Band's opening set was unbearable - songs that don't know when to end, full of crashing drums and painfully loud brass. El Paso, you have been warned. The Stones came on about 8:55 with "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which quickly got things hopping. Keith's headscarf came off early during "It's Only Rock 'N Roll," temporarily cramping his style as he stooped to pick it up, and walked over to Darryl who helped him wrap it around his neck. After Mick complimented the "beautiful stadium," he and Keith put in some mileage on "Let's Spend the Night Together," playing for the fans in the seats on the sides.
He then welcomed people from Tacoma, Bellevue and Everett and introduced "She Was Hot." He recalled that when they debuted it in Chicago, "it was so cold that our balls froze." Or maybe he said 'bulls" as in the Chicago Bulls. So, it was my first time hearing the tune. Mick barely left the teleprompter and did not let his voice hit the urgent high notes as in the "Undercover" version ("I wish you all the best," etc.) Keith and Ron had fun, and they hugged each other afterwards. Indeed, Keith seemed more sociable with his bandmates this time around. The crowd seemed to appreciate the effort, though it will require a few more workouts. And as to why they resurrected this little known gem, well that's one of the big mysteries of our time.
At the conclusion, a roadie placed a mike stand next to Mick's, so I knew something was up, most likely involving Dave Matthews. But then Mick thanked him for the opening set, and opined that Dave was probably heading back to his hotel in a limo, cradling a hot Starbucks. I thought we'd dodged a bullet, and wondered whether some other local personage like Ann Wilson or -- ahem -- Courtney Love might show up. Mick strapped on his acoustic and launched into "Let it Bleed," and pretty soon Mr. Matthews sheepishly wandered out onto the stage. I was heartbroken. On the plus side, the song was performed pretty briskly, so at least he didn't spend as long as he could have on stage. This guy is so annoying. When he grabs the mike with his right hand, he holds his left hand like he's got cerebral palsy. Goofballs shouldn't become rock stars.
I quickly exorcised the experience from my brain once Streets of Love got started. Mick's plaintive vocal echoed around the cavernous venue. Pretty soon, an ominous Charlie drum solo signaled the start of "Midnight Rambler." Mick got in an extended harp solo at the outset before Keith's crunchy guitar sliced through the air. I don't think there has even been a bad version of this song -- except, paradoxically, on "Let it Bleed." During the breakdown, Mick uttered "Muddy Waters said 'oh yeah.'" Actually, the song almost came unstuck during the extended improvisation. It basically ended while Mick took a swig of water at the drum riser and no one seemed to be playing everything. He eventually reignited it with 'Weeeeelll, you heard about the Boston-" and from there it was a straight shot to the finish line. With a bonus "and it hurts," which he doesn't say that much.
Keith's set included the usual standup comedy shtick. After Ronnie's exemplary work on "You Got the Silver," Keith remarked, "I think I'll keep him on." He pretends to not know what he's doing on stage, and at one stage referred to his "brain damage." He cut an imposing figure, dressed in highwayman black, just like Johnny Cash. The Stones were transported to the small stage while doing "Under My Thumb." As I rushed to the back, I almost crashed into Dave Matthews who was milling around the back. I meant to yell at him, but decided it was more important to get a good slot. That was a crowdpleasing set and several security people were singing along to "Honky Tonk Women," while the home stretch back on the main stage had everyone in the stadium rocking and bopping. During "Paint It, Black," Keith ventured to the ramp on Ronnie's side, mugging for the crowd. But he wasn't paying attention to the song, which ended while he was still out there. He was possibly also absent-minded during "Brown Sugar," failing to walk over to Bobby Keys during the sax solo, as he usually does. But overall, no complaints about the show, apart from an anonymous guest musician with the initials DM.
From the day this show was announced, fans have wondered why an outdoor show
in Seattle in October at Qwest Field, particularly since Safeco Field right next to it has a retractable roof that can be closed if it rains. It didn't rain last night in Seattle, and it was a marvelous evening, both weather- and Stones-wise.
Keith is much more animated than he was two weeks ago when I saw the show in Missoula. No hat, but a big grin most of the night. In response to a very big (even for Keith) applause when introduced, he pleaded "Go easy on me, I had a brain hemorrage, ya know?" He was again showing his self-deprecating wit, and weaving with Ronnie. Much improved performances of Satisfaction, Let's Spend the Night Together, It's Only Rock 'n Roll, and Tumbling Dice.
Ronnie's playing last night was good, especially on Let It Bleed and You Got the Silver. Ronnie too seemed to be in much better spirits than a couple of weeks ago.
Nice to have a return of the guitars.
Charlie was solid as always, and it showed on Midnight Rambler, Paint It Black, and Under My Thumb.
Jagger turned in one of his better stadium-show performances.
For me, the highlights were Let It Bleed and Under My Thumb.
In Montana, the novice crowd's enthusiasm was a defining characteristic of the show. Seattle has seen the Stones repeatedly over the years of touring. This Seattle audience was appreciative to see a return of the Titans of rock music, particularly Keith. The buzz around the stadium both before and after the show was strong fanaticism. Great show.
Jumping Jack Flash - sound a little muffled first, but did straighten out and was a compact, no nonsense, hard hitting version. Nice start.
IORR - I always enjoy this live, no exception tonight
Lets Spend the Night Together - Nice to hear, since I haven't heard it live since Dodger Stadium in LA during the Bridges tour in 1997
She Was Hot - Second time ever performed live says Mick. Talked about playing it in freezing Chicago a week ago. While sounding great, you can tell this will get even better if they keep playing this live. What a treat though, and the first new Stones tune I've heard live for the first time, this evening. Awesome!
Let It Bleed - Dave Matthews come rolling on, after Mick suggested he left to get a hot cup of Cocoa somewhere. As Dave has performed with the Stones many times before, he joined in nicely on vocals only. Love this song live.
Streets of Love - Second new first time live song for me. While I have been reading the rave reviews on this live, I would prefer other Bigger Bang songs.
Midnight Rambler - Awesome. The band were marvelous on this. No one plays mouth harp like Mick, especially live. 12 minutes!
Tumblin Dice - A let down, because it came after Rambler, but also because they overplay this and it sounds tired to me. This is my quick bathroom break song.
You Got the Silver - Keith the crooner only, on my third first time live Stones tune. Great job by Ronnie.
Little T and A - 4th first time live Stones tune for this evening. Not as good as I had hoped. Prefer 1981 live version.
Under My Thumb - 5th first time live Stones tune, and I loved it! Thanks for taking Miss You out, and replacing that with this!!! What a treat to hear live, finally!!!
Oh No Not You Again - Oh no, this Bigger Bang selection comes at the expense of my favorite off this album: Rough Justice! Crushing! I would prefer Oh No or Back of My Hand in the Streets of Love spot, and keeping Rough Justice here!!! Hopefully Rough Justice returns to the set when I attend the Phoenix show in November!
Start Me Up - sounded great in this spot! No nonsense, rocking version!
Honkey Tonk Woman - sounded great as well. I guess I never get tired of hearing this live.
Sympathy - nice, but again: why do they always omit the third verse live??? You guys are not going to offend anyone, even the Kennedy's. Add this verse back in!
Paint It Black - Unexpected bonus. Guitars sounded a little static-y at the beginning. Good version though.
Brown Sugar - nice closer, and 50,000 plus singing, "yeah, yeah, yeah, wooo!"; powerful!
Can't Always Get What You Want - YES, two encores tonight instead of one! C'mon crowd, everyone should know what your favorite flavor is: Cherry Red (okay, maybe it was just my section who missed it, outside of me)
Satisfaction - Keith played like he did for the first time live. Focus, determined, sounded great!
Absolutely enjoyable show. See them if you can folks. The stadium experience is great, with wonderful lighting and effects paired fantastically with the song selection! Great to hear five new songs for the first time live too! I won't get that in Phoenix, but hopefully I'll get one or two new ones. Maybe even the Boston-like special set list, if we're lucky in Phoenix!
Keith was definitely the pirate and seemed to have more energy than what I've been reading from the other concerts. Who was really hot? Ronnie! Wow, he was ferocious on the lead guitar last night. With the light show, fireworks and the show itself, we were dancing all night and wired after the show.
Dave Matthews played a tremendous warmup set and many would have gone there just to see him. He had most of us up dancing during his performance and the only letdown was the Seattle crowd didn't really try to bring him back for an encore.
By the way, we lucked out with the weather. It was a beautiful evening and it looked like the Stones enjoyed the evening. It rained for two days before the show, and when we got up this morning, you guessed it - more of the Northwest's Liquid Sunshine! But, oh what a night.
As a "set list whiner" who has seen too much predictability at the Seattle shows (notably when they did the Stadium show on the licks tour after advertising the arena), I was disappointed when they opened with JJF, IORR, and LSTTNT. But the sound was good and the band had spirit. "She Was Hot" was good but of course I was hoping for Sway or even Monkey Man. How about "Mean Disposition" or "Love is Strong" if they want something more recent?
Then Mick thanked Dave Matthews, who he said was probably on the way home in a limousine sipping Starbucks. Then they go into the best surprise of the night "Let it Bleed" and Dave Matthews comes on to duet. Very good rendition with the churning electric guitar.
SOL did sound better live than on ABB but it is still third-tier. Would have liked Far Away Eyes or Let me Down Slow. Then it was the War Horse parade but Midnight Rambler was a hot blues work out that alone made it worth the price of admission.
Keith doing YGTS in a long black coat was another highlight. Like Satan appeared to tell us of his heartbreak.
A pretty rousing finish, especially "Paint it Black." And Keith really dirtied up the guitar on Satisfaction. My friend and I agreed that this was a "Mick" show in that he was in top form, really into it.
A nice night and good memories from the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.
Having seen the arena show last October in Seattle I was a little hesitant to venture back into a stadium. As soon as the Stones hit the stage I realized that I was seeing them at there best with the great stage, light show, and energy that a large stadium crowd generates. Some highlights for me where a drastically improved Streets Of Love, the B stage where I was about 10 yards from the band straight on when Keith hit the opening to Honky Tonk, Keith's very antimated and energized guitar, and the incomprabel Mick who never ceases to amaze me with his great vocals and stage presence.
I saw my first Stones show in '78 and I can say without a doubt they are still a great band. The 78 & 81 tours where actually a disappointment to me and it has been a pleasure to see the boys actually improve with age. When they decide to stop touring the stadium shows will be a thing of the past. Having seen the Who last week play to only 8,000 fans at Key Arena here, last night speals volumes about the decades old love affair between the Stones and there fans both young and old. Thank you boys for a great ride. If this was my last Stones show it truly did go out with a Bigger Bang !
However, I was there for the Glimmer Twins and when they came charging out with Jumping Jack Flash, we all went wild! The Stones kept thrilling us with hit after hit. During Under my Thumb, the entire band looked like they were on a magic carpet as they drifted to the other end of the arena. Now I know what it would look like to see the Rolling Stones on a Mardi Gras float!
After a couple of songs they drifted back to the main stage where I was standing. When I heard the beginning chords of Sympathy for the Devil I turned around looking for someone I was talking to before the concert began who, like me, was really hoping to hear that one! Who says you can't always get what you want? I hope the Bigger Bang tour can find a way to New Orleans so I can do this all over again! Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie along with the additional musicians on stage with them, mixed with the fireworks and other stage effects gave us plenty of Satisfaction!
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