It's Only Rock'n Roll
Love Bugs (warmu) : 17:00 Kasabian (warmup) : 18:10 Patrouille Suisse : 19:30 Rolling Stones : 20:40 - 22:35
This is my second and probably last show of the Bigger Bang Tour. After the great opening show in Milano, today Dübendorf is the place to be. According to the Swiss media it was the biggest Openair concert in Switzerland ever. Dübendorf is a small village close to Zürich, known for its military airport, where the show took place. It is the fourth time the Rolling Stones played in Zürich (1967, where the Hallenstadion was nearly broken down by fans, Hallenstadion again in 1976 and Letzigrund in 2003). The other shows took place in other venues throughout Switzerland (1973, Bern; 1982, 1990 and 1995 Basel; 1998, Frauenfeld). Today (and yesterday) it was pouring rain all day unfortunately and the forecast didn’t promise much better.
We arrived around 16.30 in Zürich-Oerlikon, parked the car there and took one of the local trains to the venue at Dübendorf. Soon we met Carlo with friends (from Milano) as well and when we entered the place the Love Bugs were already playing their set and we didn’t see or hear anything (but missed nothing). It was a huge field, with many stands for drinks and (junk) food. According to the organization it was a gastronomical highlight, but forget that part of the show. It was still a bit rainy, but finally the sky cleared up and Kasabian took the stage around 18.15 for about 45 minutes. That was a nice support act (only the singer had a very limited vocabulary), hard rocking, and the acoustics were already promising. They sounded very well. Also the rain was gone and it stayed dry the rest of the evening.
At 19.30 the show was stolen by the Patrouille Suisse, the elite of pilots from the Swiss Army. They wanted to do their show, because Dübendorf used to be one of the military airfields in Switzerland. The Swiss audience was very enthousiastic at this point. That was the only positive thing about this audience; they were sooo boring and quiet throughout the show, really a negative point.
At 20.40 the main screen became active and the Bigger Bang video was shown. And from the beginning the acoustics were great, and the band was in top shape. Ronnie didn’t look very healthy, but the man did play very well. So, the show started with Jumping Jack Flash, followed by IORR.
The audience was greeted in Swiss German by Mick Jagger and we got Oh No Not You Again, from the last album. First surprise for me was She’s So Cold, an old favorite of mine and very well played. Fast, loud and crystal clear, at least from the point where we were staying. On the left side of the field, just outside the FOS, yes there was a FOS area, but no special tickets for that.
From now on the show was one highlight after another. We got a beautiful Wild Horses, and Streets Of Love. I never have seen Mick Jagger going out of his mind like that before. It reminded me of the part in Four Flicks on That’s How Strong My Love Is, totally going bezerk. But the audience hardly sang alone with the song.
Next surprise was All Down The Line, great song, also a first time for me. After this point the surprises were gone songwise, but the perfromance was strong as ever, Tumbling Dice and Night Time got good receptions.
The Keith songs were very standard, but good performed (but please change Slipping Away finally for something else). BTMMR was good. Miss You, and the moving of the stage was very nice (but they should leave the videoscreen on during this part, because the B-stage is quite far away). Rough Justice is as good as ever, Get Off Of My Cloud and Honky Tonk Women were very good. Also the sound quality from the B-stage was absolutely great.
The final with Sympathy, Start Me Up and Brown Sugar was great as always. On paper it looks maybe boring to see these songs over and over again, but live it is always great to hear them. We got the typical encores YCAGWYW and Satisfaction. Only during the last two songs the audience became more loud and enthousiastic.
All in all a great show music wise and setlist wise (okay, no Sway or As Tears Go By but enough other nice gems) with about 65’000 visitors (accoring to Swiss Teletext). And if the band is in this condition, they could go on forever (Old Habits Die Hard). One negative point: the Openair setting. No FOS tickets, although there was a FOS area, and the tribunes for seating places were too far from the stage. Further, it is a pity how some people that maybe shouldn’t drink alcohol can ruin the atmosphere in a group…Show: 10 out of 10, location: 6 out of 10 (next time in a football stadium again please), Public: 4 out of 10.
Here are my show highs and lows:
1. Streets of Love - confirming what everyone's already said about this one, it really blossoms live - Mick is so into it, the band (with Keith on acoustic) very tight, Ronnie playing some nice leads in addition to the rather simple ones that are on the studio version. Crowd very responsive.
2. All Down the Line - firing on all cylinders, kicked into high gear, powerful, awesome, nice slide Ronnie!
3. Wild Horses - first time for me seeing it live. Keith a little rusty with the intro, but after that, very nice, smooth, beautiful, sublime.
4. Keith's set - never seen him stronger, really. Even though Slippin is not one of my faves by far, he sung his heart out (in key) and played 2 nice solo's. BTMMR - seeing Keef and Ronnie side by side doing some real extended weaving at the end.
5. Getoffofmycloud - such great, manic phrasing by Mick made this for me. Guitars a little monotonous and I would have actually liked a key solo (a la Love you Live), but still a highlight and actually got even the Swiss folks excited.
6. The overall sound was tremendous - crisp, clear and LOUD - as good as Giants stadium last year. Helps that it was complete open air, but they definitely are touring with the same sound system and crew as they were in the US.
7. The place was PACKED (hear that JB?) See article above for more detail. This was a major event for the country.
Other notables. the new inflatable tongue in classic red and white is a HUGE improvement over that impotent psychedelic tongue they dragged around the States. Also really liked the video accompanying Brown Sugar with the gigantic topless African princess walking around various spots in the world.
Low's. 1. Ronnie's solo on Start Me Up was HORRIFYING! Surprised the Alps are still standing after that one. I don't know what it is with him - he shows flashes of brilliance (see Highs) and then has complete meltdowns. He didn't redeem himself on YCAGWYW, either.
2. Ronnie's solo on Tumblin Dice also sucked. Why doesn't Keith take that one, anyway (he used to)? By the way, both Keef's and Chuck's solos on Honky Tonk Women were great.
3. Seeing Blondie play electric (Les Paul) on BTMMR kind of bummed me out. Why is that necessary?
4. Keith's solos on Sympathy were kind of lame, lacked bite and focus.
5. Feeling like I was on autopilot from Sympathy on... I don't think the boyz are ever on auto (well, maybe Ronnie sometimes). It's the fans like me (and maybe you) who have seen these songs live, and heard them so many times on the radio, that they just don't deliver the impact like they used to. Usually the crowd's exuberance, the woo hoo's and yeah yeah yeah woo's make it kind of fun, but the Swiss crowd was (characteristically) reserved.
In all, it was a very good show. This band is so strong... still. Worth every penny for all the memories and great tunes (even new ones!!) played.
Keep on Rollin!
After two innocuous but rather dull bands, we were treated to an air show by the "Patrouille Suisse" - with some hair raising passages right over the stage. Great way to get us waiting for the main event. The Stones then started their show at 8:40, just after sunset, and it was that goose-flesh moment again when the stage is lit, the crowd roars, Charlie hits the drums, Keith plays the first chords of JJF and Mick is suddenly all over the place. This was the beginning of yet another great, great show (I have seen them eight times in total, this was my first show on this tour).
The set list was more or less the usual biggest hits, plus three songs from the Bigger Bang album but there was also a couple of more rarely played songs : an excellent She's So Cold, with great video clips extracts on the big screen (an idea : when can we get a good DVD compilation of their videos ?), and a just as excellent All Down The Line. Not to forget a fantastic, lived-in, version of Night Time is The Right Time, graced by an almost full moon over the stage.
The B stage part was another higlight. It was fantastic to see them coming towards us as if they were on a float (singing Miss You) and then stopping just a few meters away. When your are so close, the sound gets muddy as what you hear comes both from the small stage monitors and, with a one second delay, from the main stage speakers. I was wondering how they managed to keep track of the rythm, but they certainly did. Also : a great inflatable red and white tongue appeared when the small stage moved back.
Unquestionably, they still have it, they have the best repertoire, the best looks and the best moves of any rock band - ever. And they clearly enjoy themselves. The sound was crisp, the stage was impressive and came alive with great lightning. On the down side, the location, a military air field was big, but not ideal for audience participation as any crowd reaction would dissipate into the air rather than reverberate (it did not help that the tribunes were VERY far from the stage).
So, for some, the Stones may be a money machine by now and may play too many warhorses, but who cares when they can deliver shows with such panache, energy and intensity. Me, I'm grateful to live in this time and age and to be able to see them tour after tour. May this go on.
I was near the back, standing, down on the field. Most of the concert, I couldn't even see the stage. But the video screen quality was so good that it was not a real complaint. The sound quality also seemed genuinely good, I could understand every word, which must be a first for concerts like this.
During the expedition to the b-stage, they were perhaps 30 feet from me, I thought this year the Stone who has worn the best is Charlie Watts, who looks top fit. I had the eerie feeling that he was looking directly at me -- really weird. Mick and Charlie both wore red, maybe because it happens to be the Swiss national color?
Keith looks even more aged, if that is possible. His playing seems as good as ever but his voice is not so great. On the other hand, he seemed to be really into his solo set.
Mick has stopped frantically waving his hands (like someone looking for a towel in the gent's, as I think one British paper put it a few years ago). I think his real love is the stage, the audience and his own person. For some reason I thought Mick's voice also sounded more Shakespearean than ever. He's really an actor.
He's also making commendable efforts with his German. He said, "Gruezi, Zurich," sounding Swiss-English, and mentioned Basel using the French "Bale," but then mentioned French-speaking Geneva using German "Genf." The crowd loved it.
After lost of traffic jams we finally got on site at 6:30 PM, about 4 hrs later then planned and missed the complete support act. As we were late we found a spot at the back and my daughter was finally allowed to sit at the rear so she could see the complete show. I did plan to go upfront, but the sound was soo very good I stayed in the back.
I have never seen the Stones play like this. From the start till the end they were playing motivated, concentrated and had fun. This was not thanks to the audience. I am used to the Dutch type of response and this was, to say it friendly, very quit and not responsive audience. They hardly sang YCAGWYW and did not jump up at those old time favorites. Anyway, I really liked the guitar dual in Tumbling Dice between Ronnie and Keith. Loved the shortcut in Miss You (no sax solo, Ronnie solo, Mick sole etc). Liked a lot the new keyboards intro of Sympathy and enjoyed the screw-up of Mick in She's So Cold.
Finally I was for the first time waiting for Satisfaction! It's my daughters favorite and screaming I can't get no together with my daugther was an unbelievable experience!
Up to Glasgow end of this month!
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Thanks to Sjouke Hoving , Michael Schall and Jochen Schröder for news links.