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Tell Me

The Rolling Stones
du Arena
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Friday February 21, 2014

Photo by Roderick Keur

The set list

  1. Start Me Up
  2. It's Only Rock'n Roll
  3. You Got Me Rocking
  4. Tumbling Dice
  5. Emotional Rescue
  6. Angie
  7. Doom & Gloom
  8. Paint It Black
  9. Honky Tonk Women
    --- Band introductions
  10. Slipping Away (Keith) (with Mick Taylor)
  11. Before They Make Me Run (Keith)
  12. Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
  13. Miss You
  14. Gimme Shelter (fan vote)
  15. Jumping Jack Flash
    --- Band off stage
  16. Sympathy For The Devil
  17. Brown Sugar
    --- Band off stage
  18. You Can't Always Get What You Want
  19. Satisfaction (with Mick Taylor)

Show start :  8:52pm
Show end   : 10:53pm

Report by Bjornulf Vik

The Rolling Stones were ON FIRE tonight, as they kicked off their "14 On Fire" tour of Asia & The Pacific in Abu Dhabi, UAE. They performed a full set of two hours, left the stage for encores two times, and left the fans with great smiles on their faces as well as great memories. The newspapers in the UAE said this was one of the biggest events of all times in the Emirates. Sure the Rolling Stones proved them right. The sound was sharp and great. Charlie Watts was a big smile all through the night. Mick was running up an down the stage wings like he was 20 yet he is 70. Ronnie did his usual great solo guitar riffs. Keith ruled the stage with his unique Keef riffs, and proved he is the boss when he needed to restart Slipping Away. And Mick Taylor? He owned Midnight Rambler, as he had his moment when Mick Jagger was looking him deep into his eyes as they did their Midnight Rambler duet as intense as it can be. Any questions? Not really. They show no sign of age on stage, they just proved this tour will be just as great as the shows in North America and UK!

More details from the show to be reported here soon...

Photos by Bjornulf Vik

Report by Chris Egan

Got into the Arena just after 7.00 with my "7.30" Fire Pit Ticket, got close to the rail where I got talking to some Norwegian chap that has something to do with this site....good to see ya, good to see ya anywhere !!

Well, Keith didn't mash the intro to "Start Me Up" tonight, as the band kicked off their "14 on Fire" Tour in Abu Dhabi Yas Du Arena. They slipped easily into the well-rehearsed groove, Emotional Rescue a predictable prediction at 5 on the setlist. Slipping Away was a disaster at the start thanks to Mick Taylor, who apologised to Keith at the end of the song, Keith stopping the song 5-10 seconds in with "I'm starting this again.... if we're going to play it we might as well get it right". No surprises in the setlist, a bit disappointing but, I guess, Mick wanted to play safe for the 1st show. Another glitch on "Gimme Shelter" as Mick lost all sound from his earpiece, went a bit flat but Lisa rescued the song big-time. The band did go off stage after JJF which I think may have been to fix the problem Mick was having before returning for Sympathy, Brown Sugar and then the actual encore of CAGWYW and Satisfaction.

A great, a good start for the Tour....yes. I actually like seeing the Stones cock it up sometimes, it does remind me that we're seeing a live band here, wrinkles and all.

Mick did his best to get his tongue around Arabic, just about managed it. Not many locals in the Fire Pit though, maybe more in General Admission. Only shame was the totally inebriated state of many of the ex-pats in the audience around me. I ended up moving from the rail further back to get some space to enjoy the gig without being crashed into every 10 seconds. Journey back from the Du Arena absolutely chaotic, got back in time for a couple of beers though.

Photos by Bjornulf Vik

Report by Alan MacLean

This was my 12th Rolling Stones Show since 1990, with my last two being the O2 on Aug 26th 2007 and Hyde Park July 13th last year, so I was looking forward to seeing the Stones on a first night rather than a last. I'm from the UK but now live in the UAE where audiences here are mainly made up of Expats and some Arab Nationals looking for a night out with friends and typically prefer artists who roll out greatest hits packages; I’ve seen too many artists crash and burn here by running through set lists with unheard of tracks, but the Stones got it 100% right in Abu Dhabi.

With no warm-up act, the Stones hit the stage at 8.50 following a new Sympathy drum intro video and you could tell immediately that they were ‘on fire’. We were standing at the front of general admission on Keith's side, which interestingly was slightly elevated and allowed an excellent view of the stage, video screens and runway. It seemed to take the sound crew a couple of numbers to balance the sound, but by TD all was good and I was amazed at the clarity of sound and the excellent acoustics in the Du Arena. Keith's guitar was up loud and it was very obvious how well he was playing and he appeared extremely focussed throughout the whole gig. His acoustic on Angie was beautiful, he nailed every opener and his solos were tight with none of the noodling I've seen on previous tours. The audience appeared to love his false start on Slipping Away, which added to the feel that they were watching a true live act, a contrast for those who experienced the awful Rihanna gig in the same venue last year.

Jagger was outstanding and is still the ultimate showman. He interacted well with the crowd, who he greeted in Arabic and even welcomed people from most of the seven Emirates to the show and teased the Dubai crowd by purposely missing us out and asking if he'd forgotten anyone to rapturous response. He also said he'd visited Emirates Palace, a Falcon Hospital!, Ferrari World and he joked that he and Keith had taken some cars around the Yas F1 Circuit but was disappointed to see so many bicycles going round! It’s very hard to believe Mick is 70. Although a big stage, it was mostly Mick who worked the runways, with Keith and Ronnie staying central for most of the gig.

No obvious first night nerves here and the focussed rehearsals have obviously paid off with the Stones playing better than they have in years and appearing to genuinely enjoy being on stage together.

I'll leave others to do a song by song synopsis, but highlights for me were Rambler, Gimme Shelter, Paint it Black, Doom & Gloom and I loved the exaggerated ‘fine arab charger' line in Emotional Rescue, which obviously suited the location.

I left the show 100% satisfied, made even better by listening to the comments from friends who like most of the audience had never seen the Stones before and were totally blown away by what they had just experienced. We’re approaching the end of an amazing era never to be repeated; if this was the last time, then it's one I will always remember and a great way to bow out and I know that Abu Dhabi will never experience anything like this again. It was a long time coming for the UAE, but definitely worth the wait - thank you guys.

Photos by Bjornulf Vik

Report by Michael Getzner (Vienna, Austria)

The first time, the Stones rocked an Arab country - and I'm sure they blew everybody away. The setting: Open air arena with a capacity of 30,000, not fully sold out, especially in the high price ranges. Thus there was ample space in the areas in front of the stage. Mr Jagger greeted the audience with tons of Arab, and welcomed everybody from the different emirates. My guess is the majority in the audience weren't traditional locals but Stones travellers and international audience (people working in the emirates), so I met guys from Australia, Russia, France, Poland, Germany, Austria, and Dubai as well.

If you are in the very front of stage you really experience why you (have to) love this band. Not only because of their unbelievably large & excellent song catalogue but the energy and enthusiasm they bring on stage. You see that in the eyes, movements, mimics of the band that are usually not fully captured in videos. They really love to play, they are ON FIRE, everybody, especially mick j was in an excellent mood. The sound: crystal clear.

Highlights for me are hard to choose (it was a wonderful show), but if i had to: Emotional Rescue (it's good they kept this song), Angie with Keith on acoustic guitar was nice, Slipping Away (with a charming false start with boss Keith waving to the band for another try - has this happened before in a Stones show?), Jagger's dancing (how can anybody aged 70 wiggle his butt as he does?), YCAGWYW with a local though international choir. Ronnie's guitar playing is top; Mick Taylor was on 3 songs (SA, MR, Satisfaction); I also liked very much You Got Me Rocking. Great was also the intense musical communication between the two Micks (harp & guitar) on midnight rambler. And yes, this is not a prolongued GRRR leg, they just keep on rolling! These guys are in their 70s and still kicking!

Music-wise, Keith just needs to be cool Keith for getting the adoration from fans, but don't expect any great solos (exception: I think he did his guitar work on Slipping Away very well).

There were 6 songs to choose from in the internet. Before announcing the winner, they played Angie & PIB anyway, so GS was the fan vote. Generally, the choice of songs consisting of a greatest-hit collection was nice for a new country and croud, still no surprises/treats for die-hard fans. But, they still play their classics with high energy, variations and some changes included!

Photos Roderick Keur

Report by Hendrik Mulder

Couldnt wait to see the Stones again after the Washington show from last year. Stones kicking off their Asian tour in a country where they've never played before... Paris rehearsals promised us some nice potentially songs but was Abu Dhabi ready for this?

Got my pit ticket with early entrance and gates went open at 6.30, ran into the arena, it was separated by the catwalk, choose Keith'side and made it to the front row. First thing I noticed was the the incredibly high stage and the distance to the stage. I saw the London O2 show and Washington show and you were way closer to the stage than last nights show. We've all seen some great pics taken from fans in the audience of the the 2012/2013 tour but these were all taken from the tongue pit. The bigger shows, like Abu Dhabi, have a fire pit instead...

Anyway, the show.... show was really good, no real surprises, nice to hear Slipping Away again (incl Mick Taylor on backing vocals) although it's not my favourite Keith song. Keith was too late with singing so they started all over again... rarely happens but audience loved it. With Before They Make Me Run had, Keith had a rawness in his voice which I never heard before, Great performance.

The sound was very good, loud, guitars good in the mix, Bobby Keys' saxophone was loud, really liked it....Brown Sugar...WOOOOOOOO

The Stones played a safe set, looked very relaxed. Mick made a few jokes; he said that he and Keith bought a few Ferrari's at Ferrari world and raced on the circuit. While Mick Introduced Ronnie, he took his cigarette and started smoking...funny to see healthy Mick doing this. He and the rest of the band were in a great shape and gave a decent and steady performance in last night. Good show, safe setlist, great sound but one advice....make sure that you go to a smaller show ( less than 0.000) with a tongue pit.....

Thank you Abu Dhabi, thank you Rolling Stones

Photos by Hendrik Mulder

Report by Gregory Gardin, Belgium

My fiancee and I entered the du Arena around 6:45. It was her first concert while it was my 8th one since the BTB Tour in 1998. We walked a bit inside the Fire Pit and chose our spot on Ronnie's side, in the 3rd row. While it seemed to a be a perfect location, the stage was very high and there was a lot of equipment so we could not always see everything. But we were close to the band and that was all that mattered.

What I can say is, it was a great show. Mick is on fire and never stops moving, running and dancing. It is just unbelievable. Keith and Ronnie enjoy. Charlie keeps on smiling and remains... Charlie!

About the setlist, it was more or less expected for a first show. No risk from their side as they played hits after hits. We could vote for the UAE's favorite song but Gimme Shelter was chosen (they would have probably played it anyway). I would have prefered Till The Next Goodbye, Let's Spend the Night Together or The Last Time which were rehearsed in Paris; hopefully for a next concert if I get the chance to see them again.

Best moments, according to me, were Tumbling Dice, Paint It Black and Midnight Rambler with Mick Taylor.

I hope to see them again this year in Europe. I never get enough of the Stones. It's only rock'n roll, but I like it!

Photos by Gregory Gardi

Reports please!!!

Please send your comments, reviews, links and more to: [email protected]

Links and other reports

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