It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 8:34pm Show end : 10:46pm
For all the talk over whether this is the last show ever or not, it seemed to me like some songs at least were being played like it was the last time they would be played. Eg, Midnight rambler, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Satisfaction (which Keith bungled the intro to causing Charlie to look lost for a moment) not only were they played with a certain renewed intensity but they went on longer than usual, I've seen enough live recordings to know. The fact that "Out of Control" was back in the set shows Mick's voice is back to full strength too.
I was 23 rows back frm the front and just down the row from the end of the catwalk and everything sounded fantastic, guitars very crisp and loud, especially on Midnight Rambler with Mick Taylor. Its great to see him back with the Stones and his playing adds a whole other layer to the song. Keith is just smiling and beeming throughout, its like he knows each show he can perform is a gift from fate and luck. I'm also smiling throughout as I know too just how lucky we are to still be able to see a great act like this over 50 years since they started. Keith was also wearing a shirt with some sort of painting of a Maori chief buit with Keith's face kind of morphed into it. Mick Jagger goes through several shirts,each of them brought to him by his assistant and each of them sparkly and shiny, one even looked like a sparkly chessboard. Luckily, the rain didn't seem to slow Mick down at all, he had an assistant wipe up the moisture with towels every so often-assistants are good like that.
Sir Jagger remains to be a fantastic performer and frontman, no doubt his assistant helps with that in many small ways. It is hard to take your eyes off him, its amazing how he can still do what he does at age 71. In 1972 he was asked if he can still picture himself at age 60 doing what he does, Mick's reply was "oh yeah, easily". Who would have thought back then that he would still be going into his 70's?
All in all a great show, worth the wait and stoked the day has finally been and gone with memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks very much Rolling Stones for all the great entertainment and memories as this could be the last time, this could be the last time, Maybe the last time, I don't know...
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
So there's hope that they will keep performing, although it will definitely be the last time for most of the Antipodean fans who saw them on this leg of the world tour. Still, let's be grateful the Stones came down at all. Back in the day no one really expected them to return after 1973.
The Auckland show was a little odd for me, the only one I saw on this leg, and one which I had no intention of attending up until a week ago. With Latin America on the backburner, I decided to cash in some air miles and return for a few days to my native land, a destination way, way down on my list of priorities. New Zealand now becomes the 31st country in which I have seen the Stones.
But enough about me. The Stones, by all accounts, are in great mettle, personally and professionally, and it showed in Auckland. The boys were clearly relaxed, unwilling to let some drizzle dampen spirits. "They said it wasn't going to rain tonight," Mick said. "We're all in it together." Indeed, as the lights went down, crew members were still on stage setting up fresh carpeting. And they were a frequent presence during the show, crawling all over the place stapling in new patches of carpet and mopping up wet patches.
Mick was quite chatty throughout the show, thanking everyone for being patient as dates were rescheduled, and jokingly reassuring South Island visitors that they would be treated kindly by Aucklanders. He noted that the Stones had been coming to New Zealand for 50 years, "too long you might say."
My complaints are the usual ones. Set opener "Start Me Up" sounded lethargic. Lisa often drowned out Mick, even when she was singing offstage during "It's Only Rock n Roll." Not unrelated, "Gimme Shelter" is a drag. And there's no way "Like A Rolling Stone" was the fan choice given that "Some Girls" and "Street Fighting Man" were also on the menu. I felt incredibly let down when Mick announced the song. Please put an end to this undemocratic charade.
On the other hand, "Sympathy for the Devil," which I normally do not care for, seemed an appropriate choice for the mildly apocalyptic weather. The crowd loved "Miss You." It's a light companion piece to the more-complex "Midnight Rambler," which may confuse some people.
Keith, wearing a t-shirt depicting a tattooed Maori painted by C.F. Goldie, told us that "I nearly got buried here." It was the first time I had seen him do 3 songs since Vancouver in 2006, and you got the sense that he would have been happy to do a few more. After the main set, he chivalrously helped Charlie step down off the drum riser by holding out his hand.
So that's it for now. The Stones did not linger on stage after the bows. They had to get back to the hotel for the after-party, and Mick needed to finish packing for his trip to Papua New Guinea. I'm sure we will see them again, but if not, we'll always have Auckland.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
As a heavy consumer of Stones shows, I will not go into details of the technicalities. The slight rain made it more uncomfortable, more unpredictable. Normally rain makes shows more fun, and the band improvise more, like tonight. On the first trip down to the B-stage Mick walked slowly back to the stage, saying he had to be careful, but after that it seemed like nobody cared about the slight rain.
It was great to have "Doom & Gloom" and "Out Of Control" back in the set, songs from the recent tours that prove the Stones can still make power songs that are great live any time. And waiting for the moment when Mick & Keith meet up in front of the stage during "Out Of Control" always pays off, they will be there eventually, and I enjoy every bit of it.
Keith had his three songs as usual now, I thought "You Got The Silver" was a bit too slow, but then I noticed Charlie was doing nothing, he does not play until much later in the song, so he can't be blamed for the slow pace. May be the weather, or may be it was just me.
The second half of the show never change. As they started with "Start Me Up", we got the long version of "Jumping Jack Flash", which is my favorite set list. "Midnight Rambler" is like a show in itself. Mick Taylor again on his knees. Each band member having their own moments shining. How I love the 13 minutes or so Rambler is on.
Was it better? What was the better show? I don't understand the question. The band performed great. Keith was in front of me every time he had something important to say with his guitar. After Jumping Jack Flash a pick was landing in front of my feet, it said "Charlie Watts" so now I know who is using those picks we see on the big screen all the time. They are not just up for display, they are Keith's picks. I walk out of the stadium with a smile on my face. I have seen another great Stones show. I will be flying high for weeks. If this was the last one, it was a great one they would be very proud of. But then I know there is more to come, they just told me. So I go home with a smile on my face and I am waiting patiently for the next Stones show, like I have done for 43 years now.
On a final note about Auckland, I would like to thank everybody in the crew who cared about me during the days here, as I had a biking accident two days before the show in Auckland, hitting the street badly face down hard. The streets of Auckland messed up my face and my body, but I made it to the show. I knew the Stones crew are great, but it is when you are in trouble you know who are your friends and who is supporting you. I had a great time in Auckland and as I head home to Norway I will be back on my bike soon. And next year? Yes, there will be more...
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
I took a one-hour bus ride into the city from my hotel at the airport and was immediately pleased to see a lot of Stones T-shirts being worn by shoppers. "Nice shirt", I called out to one guy, who ignored me. Buses and trains to the stadium were free to anyone holding a concert ticket but the crowds lining up were so huge that no-one was asking to see them. The weather was starting to change by late afternoon and by the time my bus reached Mt Smart at 6pm after a 20-minute ride, it was raining. This was my second visit to the stadium, the last time being in 1977 when as a very young guy I went to see New Zealand's great runner John Walker compete.
My first job on Saturday was to buy a poster for my Perth friend Peter, who has been to 80 shows but couldn't be persuaded to cross the Ditch for this one. Something about work commitments and lack of cash. Feeble excuses really. There were two posters specific to the Auckland show, but one, of a kiwi, stood out as possibly the best of the tour. After standing in line for ages, some inconsiderate guy bought the last one right in front of me! My heart raced as I ran to the next merchandise tent. Sold out too. Bastard!
I nearly jumped the gate to get to the inside tent, where a few remaining posters were still on sale. The concert itself, my 24th, was one of the best I have seen, although I rate the second Perth show even better. The other reviewers have covered it very well, so I will just add a few memorable moments. During the introductions when Ronnie was waving his arms around as he always does, Mick said "that's Ronnie's version of the haka".
During Jumping Jack Flash, I was focused intently on Keith because the song, my favourite, did not seem to have the punch it normally has. I felt Keith was getting tired and I wanted to see how he would handle that. He fought gamely and at one point said either to himself or his guitar, "Come on, motherf**ker." And from that point on to the end of the show, he was his old self.
The highlight for me and others I am sure was the last part of "Out of Control" where Mick and Keith are close together, almost in each other's faces, Mick on harp playing his heart out and Keith smiling, eyes glued to Mick while never missing a lick. A great night.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Last time they came to Auckland we had better seats but this time, still in the first block, half way to the stage but right over by the left hand side.
This was my fourth tour in Australasia since Voodoo Lounge & for my money the best set-list & the best played show I've seen them perform. Woody was on top form & I suspect having Mick T there had something to do with that.
Speaking of Mick T seeing him live put a tick on my bucket list (was only 11 when he came over here in 1973), but as no doubt thrashed to death, why only wheel him out on 2 songs!?!?!?
The rain mentioned was nothing really – our seats were wet when we arrived but the light drizzle during the show was insignificant – my jacket was barely damp at the end of the show.
We came up from Wellington around lunch time (an hours flight and didn't want to drive the 8 hours each way) and got to the grounds pretty early. Everyone was saying how crap the parking was but we were a 10-15 minute walk away when we decided to park the rental but could have got much closer. At the grounds there was only a short q at the merchandise tent but were already selling out of some items so I got my second choice (compulsory) t-shirt. Not till later did I see some NZ specific ones so will keep my eye on the net for one of those.
We walked around the grounds & off to one side back stage was Bernard F coming out of a security gate – I didn't have the pluck to go up & say gidday & he probably wouldn't have appreciated it anyway. Funny thing is no one else around seemed to even recognise him!
So Hunters & Collectors were the openers who I saw many years ago & aren't my faves but they played loud & pretty rocky & were surprisingly good – not great, but a few sheila's around us were up & boogying around.
As said the set list was great IMHO & I was rapt they played Like a Rolling Stone as peoples choice, I think their Stripped version is fantastic & Charlie nails it, & really brings it to life.
My wife really wanted D&G & great it was included, pity as PIB which seemed to be the substitute is still her fave but YCAGWYW.
I loved the 3 KR set – YGTS was is a great ballad & well done, haven't seen BTMMR & that really rocked & Happy is always such fun.
Rambler was excellent with brilliant interplay with MT & MJ on harp to open & there was some trademark brilliance from MT the whole song.
Does Darryl usually play a solo on Miss You? KR walked up at that point & gave him an appreciative should tap, again, for my money, this was the weakest song on the set list (I know lots of folk would want to beat me up for that) but DJ really ripped it up.
Gimme Shelter was cool & for my money Lisa F usually overdoes this song but it really was less is more.
Sympathy had the usual theatrics & was superb.
I knew Satisfaction was going to be their last number without needing the fireworks to tell me but easily the best version I've seen, how often does it last the best part of 9 minutes? and there was some really cool jamming included.
The energy levels for a bunch of 70 year olds is truly staggering & they ripped it up till the last note!
Getting away was a breeze & back in the hotel most people there were sporting Stones t-shirts & had some enjoyable debriefings, but was dismayed at how few people knew who MT is !?!?!?
Anyway, one way or another it was an expensive show, and worth every cent!!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 1980 - 2014
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