It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 8:35pm Show end : 10:45pm
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Mick and Keith are so tight on stage that it's almost cute. They shared a laugh before a single note had been sung when Keith almost decapitated Mick with his guitar neck during a tight maneuver. After "You Got Me Rocking," which I'm finally learning to hate less, Mick said "Guten abend, Deutschland" and was about to say something else, but Keith cut him off with the intro to "It's Only Rock n' Roll." In past cases like this, Mick has appeared annoyed; this time, he could see the funny side.
During "Out of Control," Mick was on his harp solo, and Keith - his back to the crowd - got in his face. They were completely focused on each other, oblivious to everyone else. Later on, they went out of their way to fist-bump each other during the intros. Keith was so busy stalking Bobby during the "Miss You" sax solo that he again missed his cue to join Mick and Ronnie on the catwalk. But this time, he did not pass up the opportunity, and he ran over to join his pals.
Mick was responsible for the night's biggest snafu, such as it was, introducing Charlie before Ronnie, to the surprise of both. Ronnie was set to take his bow, while Charlie essentially refused to come out. "Who's gonna play the drums, then?" Mick asked.
Mick got laughs when he premiered "Waiting on a Friend" on this leg by saying, "This one we'd like to dedicate to the new Berlin airport." But his joke that they had rehearsed the Scorpions' "Winds of Change" for the Internet choice garnered a few boos. He should have namechecked Klaus Nomi or Kraftwerk instead. For at least the third time on this leg, he tried to curry local favor by suggesting a Germany-England final at the World Cup.
Great venue, by the way. The Waldbuhne apparently used to be a Hitler Youth training ground. It's not exactly intimate, maybe the same shape and size as the Hollywood Bowl. It was a very steep walk down the steps to the pit (and a bitch to climb back up to the top). The trees are reminiscent of those surrounding the Greek Theatre, and the burning foliage in the "Sympathy" video was accordingly more eerie than usual.
It didn't really get dark until "Gimme Shelter," and Mick clearly benefited from seeing the audience in relatively close confines. That song, by the way, remains a problem for obvious personnel reasons. But I should say that Lisa was OK on "Waiting on a Friend," doing the high-pitched intro. This was my first time in Berlin since 1990 when I saw their double at the Weisensee. Most of us have decayed since then, but Mick 'n Keith's deal with the devil is evidently open-ended.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
The Stones started with F**k me up, the new song introduced by Keith at Hyde Park in 2013, which pretty much resembles a live version of Start me up. We love these guys, they love what they do, we love what they do, so everybody is very happy, and no need to worry. And it became clear from the very moment: this concert is special! Did they Stones ever have that much fun on the stage? Laughter all around, lots of hugs and kisses and cheering throughout the show. You can really get the best out of such a show if you are close to the stage; not only is there a super-sound, but you can see all the mimics, the smiles and nice little details. For instance, Mick's surprised face when Keith started It's only rock'n roll too early for Mick's talking some more German.
You got me rocking was next, personally, I like this song very much, however, I was wondering when the Stones will add a line to it, like, "I was a rock star, losing my licks". Anyway, the live version rocked, and fans were into it. This tour is not just called "On fire" by coincidence, this band is on fire. And they are the Stones, so after 51 years of experience, they still work on each song as if they just wrote it; that can be fantastic, or can fall apart (which didn't at this show). Technology can do its part by changing the mixes during the songs; in some parts of Keith's playing they put up the volume of Ronnie, Darryl and the drums. Keith had his songs nailed, and this evening, he couldn't find an end to Tumbling dice (as far as I recall).
More highlights: Waiting on a friend, introduced by Mick as a reference song to the new and heavily delayed Berlin Airport. This is a gem, also one of my personal favorites. Out of control, another favorite of mine with Mick literally going wild, could be heard at the beginning of the "50 & counting" tour; I'm glad they are playing that song. The vote song Get off of my cloud was well received. Funny enough, in some songs, you couldn't hear the singers on the stage with the crowd singing loud. More highlights for me: Doom and gloom, You got the silver (very nice talking by Keith introducing the song).
Midnight rambler (with Mick Taylor, also good to see him here again), Jumping Jack flash - both played excellently with verve and energy. The Stones obeyed their own recommendation, "this show has to be played loud". One of the best innovations is still to bring in a local choir to help out with You can't always get what you want, this is just a wonderful song the way they currently do that.
They still bring on the greatest show in rock business. Compared to attending a rock concert, be it a crowd of 50 in a small club in Vienna, or a big stadium, when it comes to Rock'n roll, the Stones are still in their own league. The characters, the music, the sound, the whole show - just a perfect evening. To quote Keith: On with the show, so let's see how they're gonna work in Vienna (my home town, with my whole family) and Dusseldorf.
P.S. "The Temperance Movement" is a nice starting act to fill the waiting, and was well received.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Stepped out of said cab round 4:30 p.m. and after only minutes sensed that it was a buyers market. In no time I secured a 250 Euro ticket for 220. After days of exhausting heat in this city, I was in no shape to stand any longer so I opted for a seat in the middle (Block G), got in line and took my spot right above Gold Circle at 6:00. My neighbours, from Vienna, were wonderful people; too bad the same cannot be said for warm-up group which I found to be dreadful.
And what about the main act you might ask at this point?! Even though they messed up the beginning a bit, they must have won over even the biggest sceptic after the first 3 songs, which rocked mightily!! And to be honest, I've seen better performances of TD but I didn't even think about that anymore when they broke out WOAF; what a lovely surprise that was!!! GOOMC was not what I would have chosen but it was refreshing to have a tune from their earlier period in at this point in the set. One of the best moments of the show came in OOC when Mick & Keith were duelling each other on the catwalk, Mick's harmonica sounding supreme whilst Keith was spilling out unbelievably delicious licks from his Telecaster (I believe it was on that number).
No doubt in my mind, MR was the highlight of the evening!!!!! I'm still getting chills reminiscing about it... too bad Mick Taylor didn't play on more songs, like why not at least have him also come and play a solo on YCAGWYW i mean it's the encore part of the show and he's gonna come on again anyway so let him have one more short moment in the spot-light (just my humble opinion).
And last but by no means least i have to throw in my support for Lisa Fischer. Who says she can't do justice to GS anymore?? I bet Mary Clayton's nodding her approval and also thinking: `20 ft. from stardom is an awesome place to be when you've been in The Rolling Stones for the last quarter century´.
And that goes for the rest of the supporting cast as well; the cameraderie, the spirit, the bond these musicians have maintained with The Rolling Stones over the years on and probably off stage is really, really strong. How can you tell? It's in the music, man! It's just bloody triumphant!! Last nights concert was one of the best I've ever seen!!! It made a grown man cry...
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
With the heat I had to take my pre-show meal inside. Very unusual, but it was simply too hot today. And with a Waldbuhne Pit ticket I had decided I would arrive late for the show, the sun was brutal and I wanted all my energy for the entire show, not for the waiting time, even if it had to mean I would not be in the first rows for tonight.
Once inside I met friends almost at every step I took. This was the show so many fans was coming into Berlin for. Of course fans from Berlin and Germany mostly. But also, unuslally many were here on travel from the rest of Europe and the entire Stones world. My 43 years as a Stones fan was sort of playing back to me here. I was here with friends I had made in all countries across the world, many from Germany, but also many from all over in general. I am on tour alone most of the time, but tonight I was with friends.
I found a position right in front of the extended ramp, the "B-stage". I was with may be 10-15 friends from Norway, The Netherlands and Vietnam. And locals of course. I had a great view to the stage. The venue was packed hours before the Stones came on stage, and it was a great mood of drinks, strawberries in champagne, memories, looking back to the show in 1998, also may be some, but not many, were here in 1965, when they had to close down the venue for months to repair it following the riots. Today, 49 years later, we would see a band on stage that was showing no sign of slowing down. The set was two hours ten minutes tonight, versus half an hour or less back then. And we could all hear the band crystal clear tonight, due to PA improvements over the years.
The first songs went great. The crowd was hot and the band was hot. The three surprises were "Waiting On A Friend", "Get Off Of My Cloud" and "Out Of Control". "Waiting On A Friend" started with Lisa on the vocals, and it had a great saxophone soly by Tim Ries. "Out Of Control" was one of my highlights tonight. I love it when Mick and Keith meet up during this song, and tonight Mick was on his way back from the ramp when Keith was his way out. Then normally Keith would just return and leave the ramp to Mick, but he stayed and was trading riffs while Mick was blowing his harmonica. Just like they did it with OOC originally live.
The heat took quite a bit of power from the crowd I think, and even if the band on stage was working hard, the noise level from the crowd did not catch up with the startup level until ... "Miss You". But from then and for the rest of the show it was just a matter of playing it loud and spending any energy that was left. They had very small side ramps, almost like club ramps, but they used them well. When the final bow was there we wanted more but we all knew this was it. Well six shows into the summer tour the band is just getting better and better, and tonight was a show we all will remember for years.
Very hot weather when we arrived but it cooled down a bit when the sun was gone behind the trees to perfect temperature. In the middle of Block F we had a good view on the stage and the sound was terrific. So clear and loud! The Temperance Movement did a good job but we were waiting for the Stones a long time in the heat and everyone was excited as the drum intro finally started around 8:30 pm. Then Keith hit the first notes of Start Me Up, everyone was on fire. A great song indeed and very good live. Second we got You Got Me Rocking which worked really well with powering drums and guitars followed by It's Only Rock'N'Roll. Everyone was singing. Mick spoke much German on the show.
Something about the upcoming word cup and was really a good entertainer between the songs as he said "Mehr Deutsch kann ich nicht" which seemed to be wrong. After Tumbling Dice as the 4th song they played Waiting On A Friend. It was a great surprise and also well played. Doom And Gloom got the crowd rocking again. I'm grad they're keeping that in the set.
The song choice was Get Off Of My Cloud and after that Out Of Control began. Great bass, great feeling. One time Mick was a bit out of the song but nobody cared and this fantastic song went on perfectly after that.
Song number nine began with Keith's famous two chords. It blasted out of the speakers loud and hard. Everyone was singing along Honky Tonk Woman. After the band Intros Keith kicked off good versions of You Got The Silver and I Can't Be Seen.
Midnight Rambler got everyone standing again who did not during Can't Be Seen. Both Rambler and Miss You were amazing. The crowd and the Stones loved it. Gimme Shelter was extraordinarily with a great performance of Lisa Fisher. She had a few problems on the concerts before but it worked fine today. After a powerful Jumping Jack Flash the drum intro of Sympathy started and everything went red. Keith did good solos and Ronnie some nice background work on that one. They rocked out Brown Sugar and then went off stage for a short time "Good Night!".
After a few minutes the choir of You Can't Always Get What You Want started the first encore. Satisfaction was the last song they played and was ended with great fireworks and bows. The temperature was okay after the concert (around 27°) but we were all sweating a lot I think.
It was an amazing concert and to everyone who just watches the videos on You-Tube or somewhere I can just say: Go to the shows and you will be satisfied! This band rocks every concert they play, because they just love what they do. Don't miss it.
Very hot day in Berlin, when i arrived at the venue it was a long queue to get in, after about 30 minutes i got in, then a short walk through the forest before entering waldbühne. The only thing i can say is WOW! What a fantastic and unique venue, i started to walk down the stairs to the pit to get my wristband, it was a really small standingarea and it was possible to walk around between Ronnies & Keiths side. I decided to stand at Keiths side and found a nice spot two or three rows from the stage.
What a small and intimate venue waldbühne is, just before the show was about to start 20.30pm, i met up with fellow stonesviking Juha Kakkuri. The show started with start me up and then the boys continued to play really great during the evening! Highlights for me this show was waiting on a friend and get off of my cloud which was the requestsong this night. The whole experience of watching this show at the waldbühne was amazing and i will never forget this night!
Photos by Josef Massinger
We all knew in advance it would be hot in many ways. Sun and 34°C is really not a perfect weather for a long waiting and I seriously considered to come later in order not to be exhausted before the show even started. In the end I arrived to the venue at 4.30 p.m., half an hour before the gates opened and this half an hour was actually the most demanding, since it was on a direct sun. I drank more water than during the whole day. The fact that we were allowed to take only 0,5 l of water inside was a bit scary at this point.
Okay, shortly after 5 p.m. the gates opened and in a couple of minutes I was down there in the pit. It was great to find out that the front of the pit was already in a shadow of the shelter above the stage. Those 3,5 hours before The Stones hit the stage went by really fast and the weather was actually no problem at all. I didn't even drink that 0,5 l of water I had with me.
At 7.25 The Temperance Movement started to play. A support band is usually something that one has to suffer through, but even though the best part of their show was when they left the stage, since it meant that The Stones would be on soon, I have to say that they were really good. They rocked. I believe they could be quite big if they were born 40 or 50 years earlier. It is great that there are good young bands playing this kind of music, but it is sad that they can never really get the following they would deserve nowadays.
7.55 - The Temperance Movement is off the stage and we have to wait a bit more. During this time I spotted Joe Perry from Aerosmith on the stage and thought that Aerosmith, that played in Berlin the night before, might actually join The Stones on the stage for a number. It didn't happen though.
8.35 and The Stones hit the stage. It has been 7 years for me since I saw them the last time, and here they are. Keith hits the Start Me Up intro in the Hyde Park way (well, not exactly, but it was wrong anyway) and is all smiles. I can't help myself but smile too. He f...d it up! Yeeeesss!
From this very moment the show is absolutely fantastic. The Stones are obviously having a great time, which is the most important and most pleasant thing. As I wrote, it was my first show since 2007 and so I was mostly curious about Keith. And he was...great. He played really well, did his Keith Richards thing - kicking the air and throwing hands, interacting with the audiance, BUT he never posed just for the sake of posing as he did so often on The Bigger Bang Tour. The music was always first and he delivered. There were some bum notes of course, but those didn't take away anything from his playing. His timing and unique sence of rhythm is as good as it has ever been. He even did a very nice solo on Sympathy. They had actually some problems getting into the song, first Charlie had to sort some problem with his headphones and then Mick waited a couple of bars before he started to sing. But this problem seemed to get them all really focussed. The Sympathy was great. Speaking about mistakes, during the second pre-chorus of Out Of Control was Mick ahead of the rest of the band. It didn't sound wrong actually, just different. He sang "Now I'm out" twice at the beginnig of the chorus and got back on the right timing.
Now Mick - there is this one obvious thing everyone has to wonder and ask. The man will be 71 the next month. How the hell can he run the stage back and forth for more than two hours and work the crowd like he did 30 years ago and deliver absolutely perfect singing on top of all that? The thing is, that this thought runs through your head during the first song. Then you just think...well...it is Mick Jagger, what else to expect? It is simple as that. I believe he might do his thing in 15 years from now and it would still look absolutely natural. It is Mick Jagger, right? What else should we expect. :-)
Charlie - what can one say about the best drummer in the world? Actually one can wonder pretty much the same thing as about Mick. Charlie doesn't run much during the show :-), but to drum for more than two hours is a serious physical work. Yet he is there, effortlessly hitting the skins, smiling all the time. There was this moment during Midnight Rambler, when the guitars got a bit off the rhythm for a couple of seconds. Charlie gave his drums two or three really strong beats (it sounded almost angry) and put the whole train back on the track immediately. You know instantly what is he there for. And yea, the introduction - Charlie had to be introduced twice, since he didn't show up the first time. Mick seemed to be almost worried, when he said "Who will be drumming?"
Ronnie - his interaction with Keith was spectacular (as was the interaction among the whole band really). I personally didn't notice a single bum note on his part, he was absolutely steady and reliable. The most enjoyable part of the guitar work was probably Midnight Rambler, when Mick Taylor joined the band. It was the first time I saw him and I was really impressed by his playing. All three guitar sounded amazing on this song. Of course, there is this endless discussion why doesn't he play on more songs (even though the acoustic guitar on Satisfaction is nice, the song can do without it just as well). I think it is pointless. He delivers great on MR and that is all that matters. Speaking about Midnight Rambler - I was among those who Mick baptized from the cup he drank from :-)
As for the setlist, it was pretty much the same as on other dates, so no "club" thing there, Out Of Control, Get Off Of My Cloud and Waiting On a Friend (which Mick dedicated to the Berlin airport - I wonder what happened to them there) were the "surprises" thrown in. I personally could not care less, and would not mind seeing / hearing exactly the same setlist again.
How to summarize it? It was only my 4th Rolling Stones gig. The first one was in Prague in 2003, where we were standing right by the B-stage. I didn't know much about the band back then, but was absolutely blown away by them and became hooked. In 2006 in Berlin I was sitting really up and far away from the stage, but had an amazing time anyway. In 2007 in Brno, I was in the FOS and had a splendid time, despite Keith's playing was not 100%. But I still hoped to see them one more time and get a perfect Rolling Stones gig, where I would be really close and and the whole band would be on fire. It happened in Berlin and it was in this absolutely amazing venue with an amazing acoustics. And it gets even better - I will see them again on Monday in Vienna! :-)
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