It's Only Rock'n Roll
Photo by Bjornulf Vik
Show start : 8:25pm Show finish : 10:25pm
Photo by Bjornulf Vik
Mick Jagger was complimentary of the oak stage in Hyde Park (simulated trees are part of the stage), saying that maybe it will be left up year round as a tourist attraction, like the London Eye. Jagger then nicely transitioned to comedy, saying the stage could serve as a "treehouse for (London mayor) Boris Johnson to live in". The tree theme prevailed throughout the evening, with Jagger introducing Ron Wood with the lead in, "You can't see the woods for the trees...". And before the encore, the cartoon gorilla and symbol of this tour, GRRRegory is seen romping through the trees of Hyde Park before tapping the video screen from inside as was the standard animation on each stop of the tour.
Emotional Rescue became a welcome staple of this tour, and it was great to see it played on the big stage tonight after it had been omitted from Glastonbury and the show last week. The crowd was definitely into it and for the multitude of more casual Stones fans the reaction was surprise when Mick announced it. Ruby Tuesday was an awesome fit for the mood of the London summer evening, with most of the crowd singing along like it was a traditional anthem (which by now it truly is).
Doom and Gloom was good, but it made me miss the brilliance of One More Shot, with Keith's tried and true backing vocals. It would have been nice if there was rotation in that new song slot for the last three shows in England. Compliments to Keith again for always switching Before They Make me Run and Happy as the last of his two featured songs, as tonight we got a rousing version of Happy. The crowd was hugely receptive and appreciative as Keith was introduced, with the level of enthusiasm and warmth appropriate for the global treasure he is (it seems too limiting to describe him as a "national treasure" even though he was playing London). And when Keith concluded his two songs with, "Gold rings on ya London!", it was a spine-tingling moment.
Midnight Rambler was again nicely drawn out, well timed, and long enough where the song took us from daylight into night, with Mick Taylor's distinctive guitar piercing the dusk. It was also very cool that the song took on new relevance with this week's creepy news that the confessed Boston Strangler's remains were being exhumed for DNA testing! The power of the song, Jagger's harmonica, and Keith and Ron's complimenting Taylor leads me to keep quiet about the fact that Taylor should have been on more songs tonight. But I will still complain and call attention to Mick Taylor playing an acoustic guitar during Satisfaction. That seemed very wrong before, and continued to seem very wrong tonight. Also, for the first time this tour, I saw there was an additional third and final bow with Keith, Mick Jagger, Charlie, and Ron, without Mick Taylor (Taylor stood behind and raised his arms in a gesture of reverence and respect to the current full time four).
For the encore, You Can't Always Get What You Want started with the choir's volume low, but was quickly corrected. Finally, Satisfaction seemed short probably because I just did not want this show or tour to end. Tonight's nineteen songs seemed to go by in five minutes, and it seems like only yesterday that it was May 3 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. What is comforting is the strong rumors of more shows in the fall, so tonight did not at all seem so final like the last of the three O2 Arena shows did back in 2007. And to see Mick Jagger sprint the length of the runway from the middle of the crowd back to the stage during Satisfaction made me think about him turning 70 this month, but it also made me think of the great playing and shows that Willie Nelson is doing this summer at age 80. The Rolling Stones have surprised us for years, so why would 60 and Counting be such a stretch? I already am looking forward to it!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
The running was fast. I am in the front group of 50 or so a few minutes before noon, in the very front center. We see directly into the center stage, and as I see they are testing all the large "train" cameras on stage, they do actually move sideways but not crossing into the center view. Perfect! Making sure I have space to sit down, as I will be in this very spot for 10 1/2 hours. And it is still 8 1/2 hours until the Stones are on stage.
Of the 100 or so fans in the front area around me I am sure at least 1/3 are Italian. A large group of all ages. Many young fans who have never seen the Stones in the 90's for sure. Then fans from Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, The Netherlands, Russia and many other countries. I can't really spot one single native English spoken around, which means these are the hard core fans who spend all day waiting to get up front. But I do know there are tens of thousands of British fans all over...
A long wait is cut short by doing nothing, thinking of the first hour rather than all those others, it is a habit and takes some practice, but waiting one hour or a day or six years for the next show or tour is nothing when you know what is happening soon on this stage.
By 6pm I am on my feet, prepared for the compacting rush. Don't want to be left behind. The last warm-up band is finished around 7:30pm. Then one minute or so, and the push is there. A push into the front where all the former placements are forgotten. Now it is all about getting the best possible position. I try not to push, just slide in where there is space. I am in row 4 or 5, not bad at all. The stage is high and I see everything. Then a short wait where the exitement is building up.
I see Keith is there on the righthand side of Charlie's drum kit. With the guitar, ready. It is now 8:25pm. Then I see Charlie climbing into position behind his drums, green T-shirt. Then Keith walk up front, and a major push in the crowd as if the entire crowd of 65,000 want to take my place. "Start Me Up". Everybody is singing along. Every word. Mick is working the crowd in the heat. The sun is low and goes directly into the Stones and their faces, it will not be below the crowd until 10 minutes or so. They work a crowd that is so easy to work...
"It's Only Rock'n Roll" - The crowd is even singing stronger on this one than on Start Me Up. The show is going great. Then Tumbling Dice. Then surprise surprise - "Emotional Rescue", which does not work as well as it did at the U.S. shows.
"Street Fighting Man" is a jewel rarely played these days. I am thankful for yet another version, but I do notice both the band and the crowd is marked by the heat. Also by the large stage - making a distance for most. Ronnie does not make eye contact like at the arena shows, Charlie is way back in the stage, he must feel a bit behind there, Keith staying a lot with Charlie, so Mick is the lone ranger working the wings and the center walkway.
"Ruby Tuesday" is beautiful. "Doom and Gloom" great rock song surprisingly popular among the crowd, even if it is unknown to many. Then "Paint It Black". With this wild crowd in the front I was afraid I would get the "River Plate" push as PIB started, but this is not Argentina. Paint It Black is popular, but the crowd behave normal.
Keith is having a great set as usual, giving us "Silver" and "Happy". On "Sympathy" Keith does his usual walks into the crowd by the wings and the center walkway, and he is rushing back as if he is about to miss something soon. Also usual for him on "Sympathy". The run back. "Midnight Rambler" with Mick Taylor clocks in at approx 12 minutes. I have had 15 minutes versions this summer, but this is great, they have the curfew at 10:30pm sharp to keep, and they were squeezed into the time slot by the sunset at 8:30pm, so it is not easy to time this summer show vs the sunset and the London rules...
The two encores "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Satisfaction" (with Mick Taylor) are great long versions that last for approx 20 minutes total and are very popular in the crowd. I can see smiles everywhere, both in the crowd and in the band. But it is late, hot and they are all tired. Even I am tired by now. Final bow, this time three times, first the entire band, then the four plus Mick Taylor, then just Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie, with Mick Taylor just behind them enjoying being on stage with his "old" band.
By 10:25pm it is over. I take my red confetti, my memories, walk through the park, then after half an hour or so I walk into the Pride of Paddington pub, order two pints of John Smiths best bitter, and two salted potato crisps, sinking down on the only available chair, drinking the beer, pretty tired, realizing many friends sit just across my table, and for the next hour or so we drink beer, fill up with crisps and share all the great memories from tonight. The perfect finish of a great show. And after two and a half months of Stonesland, I am looking forward to some rest at home. Then more shows in 2-3 months time... Thanks to The Rolling Stones for such a great Summer 2013 tour, and thanks to everyone I met during this tour ... Hope to see you again later this year!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
The Stones began the show a few minutes earlier than Hyde Park #1. Start Me Up was better than last week but this song is not the best opening IMO. Emotional Rescue was a surprise and it was really good to hear this song in Hyde Park. Mick was amazing and the crowd loved it. Emotional Rescue works more in this disposition than in Arenas.
Street Fighting Man was the request song. I voted for it so I was in heaven when I saw it on the screen. This version killed! It was a perfect song to do it here, in Hyde Park front of 70,000 people.
Ruby Tuesday was a very good surprise and they did it perfectly. Here in TIER 1, everyone knew this song and was so happy to hear it. Ruby Tuesday was a little bit different than I heard in the past. I found it more romantic and emotional.
You Got The Silver was so moving. Very different that the 6 other shows I saw in this tour. Keith sang with his heart. He didn�t sing it perfectly but this is what I loved so much. Sometimes, he whispered some words that made this version very moving.
I remember during Miss You, when it was the time to the crowd to sing, generally we are not in time and Mick says �here we go, like this� and he shows us the way to sing. But this time he was so impressed that the crowd sang the �wouh wouh wouh wouh wouh�� perfectly on time.
There were so many highlights tonight like SFM or Ruby Tuesday but THE BEST highlight of the show was Midnight Rambler. The best version I have ever seen in my life. What a performance of the band, and not only Mick Jagger. All of them! Taylor, Keith, Ronnie, Mick, everyone! I was totally speachless during Rambler. I really want to hear this version again and again! This version has to be on DVD. I don�t have other words than AMAZING!
Gimme Shelter was excellent again but it was very very hard to have a version as good as Hyde Park #1 (I think that Gimme Shelter was the highlight of the first Hyde Park).
The rest of the show is perfect. They killed JJF and Satisfaction. And I will never say enough thank you to all the choirs I saw during this tour. They made YCAGWYW so much better than the others past live versions, before this tour. And to be honest, the choir of Hyde Park was in my opinion the best choir of the tour. Every time I see the choir during this tour, I imagine how good will be their memories. They are teenagers and they sang with the Rolling Stones!!!!! It can open doors in their music career.
I loved seing Mick Jagger running from the B-stage to the main stage during Satisfaction. After 2 hours of show and many many energy spent, Mick is still able to have a fast sprint. He is 70 years old. How can it be possible? There will never have another band like that. I am sure about it. The Rolling Stones are the greatest band ever! No doubt about it.
Now I am home with so many amazing memories in my mind. I spent a lot of money since December 2012 but it was worth it! This 50 and Counting was an amazing tour.
They look much younger than 6 years ago. What happened during these 6 years? Us, fans, we are so lucky because I was really not confident to see them again after my last show in 2007.
Photos by Guillaume - Gotdablouse
And it has been a long day indeed, even if this time I was smart enough to bring an umbrella with me, to shelter from the hot sun and mitigate the damage.
Anyway, it was definitely worth it, as I secured a very good spot right in front of the end of the catwalk, very close to the barrier.
While the week before the opening acts have been mostly terrible (Gary Clark Jr. being the best by a long shot), last night's opening acts varied from very good (namely, Vintage Trouble and Jake Bugg) to, let's say, totally unfit to be put in front of a Stones' crowd (like that "the 1975" band, who - despite the name recalling the sevenies - sounded just like some 2010's teenage crap).
As for the Stones, the first three songs of the night sounded very much played by the numbers, but were undoubtely good. Keith Richards tried once more to rip the opening riff of "Start me Up", but was very good on the following two songs.
After that, the concert really took off, and until "Paint It Black" every song sounded more and more exciting; "Emotional Rescue" was un unexpected addition to the setlist, and was very well welcomed by the crowd. Mick Jagger got all the people singing along that number (which had a very nice and infectous groove and was very much fun to listen to), and the whole band delivered.
After that, they played "Street Fighting Man", which was the highlight of the concert. Keith decided to play it quite slow-paced, but in a very powerful way, and the final result was superb. I never cared to listen so carefully to this song as I did last Saturday, and I have to say: what a song is that!!! For a moment I really thought to go to demonstrate on the streets (there are plenty of reasons to do so anyway), but of course not before the end of the concert!
After that, it was turn for a nice rendition of "Ruby Tuesday". It felt really good to listen to that song in Hyde Park. It was beautifully performed by the whole band, and Tim Ries' sax soprano fitted well in it, even if sounded a bit too jazzy to me.
"Doom And Gloom" was once agair really good. Since the start of the tour, this song has been played better and better, and last Saturday it was no exception. I actually think that the playing gets stronger when, after the "special", Jagger drops his guitar and Keith Richards regains full control of the guitar department.
On "Paint It Black" there might have been problems with Keith's monitoring on stage, as the intro sounded really messy, and Ron Wood did his best to carry the song.
I have to say I'm really impressed by Ronnie's body of work in these two concerts in Hyde Part. He looks very focused and healty, and his playing has dramatically improved since the last tour.
"Honky Tonk Woman" sounded also better that on the 6th of July, with Jagger joking about pulling out his '69 dress and finding out that it still fits well on him.
Keith's set was very good, with a great rendition of "Happy"; "Miss You" was fun either, and "Midnight Rambler" has been even better that on the 6th (and that says it all!).
After that, the expected warhorse-run started. All of the warhorses were played in a very lively way, but as I was already exhausted I found hard to keep up with the energy of the band. Anyway, "Sympathy For The Devil" sounded much better than on the 6th of July (especially the first solo), while in "Gimme Shelter" they failed to top the awesome rendition of that previous concert.
Indeed, last Saturday's concert was in many ways better that the previous one, which in my opinion was really good as well. Of course this second Hyde Park date has not been perfect either, with occasional fluffs here and there, but if was awesome nevertheless. I only wished that the guitars could be higher in the mix, and that they would play "Can't You Hear Me Knocking?" with Mick Taylor, but I hope I will have more chance to witness this performance in the future.
All in all, the Stones ended "this leg" (as Jagger says) of the tour on an high note, and they showed once again that, as far as live performing is concerned, they still don't have rivals in the business (either for showmanship and for catalogue of songs). I'm very curious to see how they will handle the (prospective) next leg of the tour, also considering that, despite the very strong performances given so far, they also are human beings (Keith Richards in particular looked very tired)! Of course, I'll be there!
Photos by Josef Massinger
I noticed during the first concert that the stage was quite high with huge walls on the left and right side. Cameras tend besides to hamper the global sight, considering that this show is taped � hopefully for a dvd � but right in the middle you hardly notice the cameras. The Stones fans in the front were relaxed and you could easily lay down and rest during the afternoon and even during the supporting bands. I moved to the third/fourth row once the crowd moved to their final position, ready for the last concert of the 50 and still counting tour or should I say 51 and counting�
Once the Rolling Stones started up Hyde Park, I knew directly that this show was going to be great and it lasted for 2 hours and with Satisfaction. The whole band was in great shape and ready to go that extra mile� you could notice and hear this very clearly during Emotional Rescue (first time live in Europe) with Mick on fire during the �ou ou ou ou OU� lines and Keith all the way through the concert. There was a great interaction between Mick and Keith, notably during the request song Street Fighting Man� Mick observed which licks Keith was playing to sing along the lyrics� great version and the twins were glimmering along! Next came Ruby Tuesday and it sounded beautifully in the park with the sun going down gradually. Doom and Gloom was energy from the first riff until the end. It�s only a shame that they didn�t play One More Shot this time either. It sounds great life and it only lasts 3 minutes but there�s a schedule to respect in London, Paint It Black and Honkey Tonk followed the setlist and the band presentation was quickly done and interesting to say, Hello �Charlie spoke�.
What can I say of Keith�s part? I just love You Got The Silver and everybody must have been Happy on Saturday. Keith put on a big smile and played this Exile On Main Street classic very loudly. It rocked and rolled until the very end. The rest of the setlist is well known but I would underline that Lisa was great on Gimme Shelter, why have Adele as you got a diamond in the band? Lisa walked off the catwalk and especially Mick but also Keith and Ron did so during some songs. Midnight Rambler is a number that sounds great life and I just loved watching Mick with that other Mick together, what an energy, drama, passion from both sides� a musical can easily be written around the Stones if you start to think about it! JJF, Brown Sugar rocked and I noticed that during the last drum beat, the choir were already onstage and soon after the lights went out, they were ready to sing the first lines of You Can�t Always Get what You Want � except when you were in Hyde Park of course � . This was once again the proof that no pressure time was to be wasted to avoid fines. Satisfaction ended with fireworks but I just saw that this band is on fire, ready for more� let them enjoy the summer and hopefully the Rolling Stones will return to Europe for some nights this fall... Still counting!
Photos by Peter Lacres
I won�t repeat what others have said about the Stones� performance. Keith doesn�t have the energy he did, but the band as a unit still carries all before it. It wouldn�t much matter how Keith begins Start Me Up, because the crowd are singing from before the first line. Where I was, that level of participation didn�t change from the first minute to the last. The set was just about perfect for the occasion. The inclusion of Ruby Tuesday was a real treat, and Street Fighting Man, sung in the heart of London town, couldn�t be more appropriate. For me, it was the small things which will remain long in the memory, such as Keith�s grin while he waits to strike the opening notes of Honky Tonk Women.
During the band intros, Charlie actually spoke. Did his �hello� really earn one of the biggest cheers of the night? Great then for Keith to follow by beginning his own comments ahead of his songs with �as Charlie has already said, good evening ladies and gentlemen�. There was a sense of a band really confortable with themselves and the evening. But there were wistful moments too. I couldn�t help but feel I could see on Mick Taylor�s face, and in his eyes, that he knew this would probably be the last time he would play with the Stones. I can�t imagine what this tour has been like for him, very much the hired help but at the same time loved and admired by all the fans. I hope he has felt how much pleasure we have gained from seeing him again.
For me, Jumping Jack Flash was the best song of the night. I have always thought that Keith�s opening riff to Satisfaction at Wembley in 1982 was the loudest single noise I have ever heard, but there were moments on Saturday evening, during JJF, when his guitar was loud enough that his chords cut through the sound of the whole band to dominate as he always used to. There were no duds, no spots where the crowd around me lost interest and began chatting, nothing but one classic after another.
Others have commented on the final bows. There certainly was a genuine warmth and emotion among them as they hugged and smiled. in particular, Mick Taylor ushering the other four forward for a final bow alone, showed that he understood how the land lies. I don�t know whether they will play together in public again, and certainly not at such a large event. It�s difficult to imagine which of them wouldn�t want to, seeing how much they were all enjoying themselves. But if it is the last time we see them, they will have left us on a high.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
It was the right setting for it - the hottest day of the year in London, according to Mick Jagger, and the Stones� performance was definitely a match. There was a beautiful festival atmosphere in Hyde Park with happy people enjoying the sun and the beer in anticipation of the main event. We didn�t manage to come in time for Vintage Trouble who were the only supporting act I really wanted to see, the rest of the bands did not leave a particularly strong impression, except perhaps Jake Bugg who was alright in setting the stage for The Rolling Stones. Many of the people in front of the stage were sitting or lying on the ground until around 8 pm, but afterwards everyone started standing up, shifting the crowd and allowing us to make pretty decent progress towards the stage, so that I could see the band better than at any other Stones concert I�ve been to before. And they were simply fantastic!
The excitement in greeting them on stage was thrilling and from the first chords of Start Me Up it was clear that the band were in terrific shape. In my experience it usually takes Mick Jagger and the rest a couple of songs to really get into it, but not on this show. They were 100% ready to go from the start and the crowd went wild with them! It�s Only Rock�n Roll (But I Like It) worked great as the second number - the pure and simple message that unites all of us Rolling Stones fans! Tumbling Dice absolutely kept up the energy level, which made it necessary to take a breath with Emotional Rescue. The song worked really well, with Darryl�s bass playing standing out, but I found Mick�s vocals to be the real highlight. To be quite honest I never thought that he was capable of singing the falsetto so crisply and so powerfully, I thought his singing in Hyde Park was even better than on the record, in 1980!
For the audience choice on the internet I had personally voted for Rocks Off, but I think it was actually better Street Fighting Man was selected, as the band delivered this song with a simply incredible punch. Overall they were in truly unbelievable shape this evening, perform their rock warhorses with a raw power, bristling energy and a straight-hitting sound that doesn�t come by default even to the Stones!
Perhaps the one song that didn�t work that well for me was Doom And Gloom. I actually expected it to be different, as the Stones often perform the new songs with particular drive and enthusiasm, but somehow I slightly missed that on Doom and Gloom. Perhaps it was also due to the contrast with the rest of the timeless classics that this concert was brimming with, and which the band managed to play so fantastically well on this evening. Like Ruby Tuesday and Paint It Black - two great songs, which I love and which were rendered in great style before the band introductions and Keith�s songs.
As has been commented before musically Keith wasn�t in the shape of his life, but he still is the driving engine and you can somehow feel the spirit and the legacy of rock�n�roll rising from the riffs of his guitar and being etched into the wrinkles of his face. His singing on You Got The Silver was very touching and was supported by Ronnie�s great acoustic work. In fact Ronnie did a simply amazing job throughout the show, I often had the feeling that he was simply carrying the band on his shoulders, to unparalleled heights. Others seem to have felt the same as the applause for Ron Wood during the band introduction was probably louder than for anyone else - in fact Mick had to cut the crowd shouting �Ronnie Ronnie�, so that he could bring Keith forward for his songs.
Miss You was the perfect number to get the audience fully involved in the show (I think we were doing a good job, on this song and others, at least everyone where I was seemed to be giving their best!), again featuring great bass lines by Darryl Jones. Midnight Rambler was a highly anticipated highlight for me, because of Mick Taylor�s appearance, and in fact it was even better than what I could have imagined from any of those videos on the internet. The drive was explosive and the interplay between all musicians was simply hypnotic. Mick Taylor�s guitar playing was even more prominent, more extended and more jaw-dropping than I could have thought. The quality of his performance and his reintegration with the band seems to have grown a lot since the beginning of the tour.
I wish he had been in on more songs. From there on, a breathtaking succession of some of the greatest songs in the music history followed, performed by the greatest band and in the grandest style one could imagine! Gimme Shelter, featuring the best performance by Lisa Fischer that I have heard. Jumping Jack Flash and Brown Sugar with incredible power and staggering guitar riffs, Sympathy For The Devil with the audience singing �woo woo� from start to finish. The choir was a really beautiful enhancement for You Can�t Always Get What You Want and all was crowned by Satisfaction, which again went against all my expectations.
I generally haven�t been thrilled by many of this song�s live renditions as in the past the band often seemed to play it in a somewhat routine, default way, as if it had been worn out by too much use. But not in Hyde Park on 13 July 2013! It seemed to be the night where the band had decided to bring to bear its peerless legacy in rock music and deliver it in such style is if their supremacy as the greatest rock�n roll band needed to be reaffirmed. And to me Satisfaction on this evening sounded like the jewel in The Rolling Stones� rock�n roll crown - such was the stunning power of the band�s performance, the incredible devotion and energy with which they delivered it.
At the end of the show the band first bowed with Mick Taylor, but then, at the urge of Mick Taylor himself, took another bow with only Mick Jagger, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie. And to me this seemed appropriate as these four are the true hard core that carried on, stuck at it against all odds, survived all hardship and trouble and lived up to the challenge to play to the world the songs that are the very heart and soul of rock music - through the decades and through the generations!
There was another highly emotional moment before the encores, when Mick said something to the tune of �This is our last concert on this tour. Thank you for supporting us through all these years, we really appreciate it!� For me it was more deeply touching than the simple words can convey, somehow bringing together the enormous, incredibly long and influential impact of The Rolling Stones on rock music and the intense connection with their fans, built on the best live shows the world of rock music has ever seen. This night was certainly a prime example! Could it be that I saw that night The Rolling Stones� last concert? As I have been asking myself a similar question on each tour since the 90s, and with the persistent rumours of more concerts later this year, I sincerely hope the answer will continue to be �no�.
Amazingly, even after more than 50 years The Rolling Stones have the skill and vitality to deliver a show that anyone else can only look at in awe. The age may be showing on the band members� faces but their energy level, miraculously, seems undiminished, and tonight I even felt that all these years of playing have actually made them better. But just in case the answer may happen to be �yes�, this would certainly be a worthy concert for the greatest rock�n roll group to bow out with.
Photos by Photos by Boyan Garvalov and Vassiliy Bavro
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 1980 - 2013
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