It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:25pm Show end : 11:35pm
As for the Stones, it's clear they have a strong attachment to Paris. After Keith was introduced, he walked a little down the ramp to bask in the cheers before returning to his mike to declare, "Bonsoir! That's all you'll get out of me." But he did say "merci" after the strong reception to "You Got the Silver."
Still, the show was merely "very good" instead of "excellent" as we got in Berlin. As usual, things go off to a wobbly start as their billion-dollar sound system blew out Mick's vocal for the first two lines of "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Or maybe it was karmic retribution for indecorously cutting off the Struts' sound when they appeared to go overtime.
"Midnight Rambler" didn't quite work tonight. It's hard to tell, but judging from his hand gestures Mick wants the song to be played faster and it never really gelled. It was still a powerful 13 minutes and 25 seconds, thanks largely to the efforts of Mick Taylor, who engaged in a sort of musical joust with his singer. But as Mick J. noted at the end in thanking Mick T., "That was great. Well, your bit was great."
The Mick-Mick duel is always a highlight, as is the Mick-Keith face-off at the end of "Out of Control." This interaction, perhaps partly competitive in nature, brings out the best in everybody. But the didn't seem to be as much camaraderie tonight. Maybe Mick is coming down with a cold. He blew his nose several times during the show (and tossed the paper towels on the stage for the roadies to pick up), though his voice seemed fine.
It was great to get three songs from Sticky Fingers, thanks to the addition of "Wild Horses" and the Internet "choice" of "Bitch." But "Wild Horses" suffices perfectly with Keith only on backing vocals. During the choruses, he and Mick were drowned out by Lisa and Bernard. I didn't know it was a Fischer-Bernard composition.
To echo comments on this website, "Gimme Shelter" now has about as much menace as a Celine Dion song. Lisa draping herself all over Ronnie and Keith totally goes against the spirit of the song, reducing it to some low-end cabaret number. But Keith wrote the song, and he seems happy to be pawed by Lisa, so I guess the tacky sideshow will remain. Chuck's honky-tonk piano in "Sympathy" was also inappropriate. I can go either way on his gospel redo of "You Can't Always Get What You Want." But it's hard to escape the feeling that the hired help have staged a revolution of sorts.
Great to see plastic Stones cups in two styles, and the blue Eiffel Tower t-shirt was magnifique. Long lines for the ATMs outside the venue, but no lines at the ATMs inside. D'oh!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
The strike in Paris made great business for the taxi drivers. I paid 50 Euro each way to get in and out of the airport. I took the 12 metro to the show, and walked by the "canal" a long walk in an area that few others walk. But in the end I found the great Stade de France. It was a great mood outside, plenty of people having a great time, drinking beer from specially made "14 on Fire" cups.
I made my way inside, smooth security, and the "VIP pit" in the front area was almost empty at 7pm. May be 25% filled. I could walk any place I liked, except for the very front. So I spent some time checking out the venue, the 2nd area behind the VIP front was also not full, while the third i.e. the rest of the field was completely packed. Slowly the sections and the field was filling up.
The warmup band "The Stuts" were on at 8:20pm. I was expecting them on at 7:30pm, that is what the ticket said, but I assumed they would have a very late show start for the Stones. Half an hour into their set the Struts frontman wanted to play the crowd, by having everybody sit down. Nobody really cared; most of us were in the stadium for the Stones. In the middle of this "sitting down" stunt the crew shut down their power and we had 20-30 roadies on stage. So the Struts show was over. They were surprised, but something went wrong with the timing, and by 8:50pm the stage was being prepared for The Stones.
The famous drumming intro was on by 9:27pm sharp. We could se Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie in the backstage area. They don't have a stage door now with this stage, it is just an open gate right behind Charlie's drums. Long time before the Stones hit the stage the crowd had been doing "the wave" around in the stadium. Section by section. This is a much better warm-up than any warm-up band. The crowd is getting excited, and everybody is focused. So when the band hit the stage the wave just changed focus from the venue to the center stage, and right there we had Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie, with the rest of the band. "Jumping Jack Flash" and all hands in the air.
The set list was basically the same as at Waldbuhne and the other shows in Europe this summer. I am glad "Out Of Control" is now permanently in the set list as it seems. This makes only two slots left for changes. So we got "Bitch" as a "request" song and "Wild Horses" as a bonus.
The crowd was easy to play for Mick, and he loves it when there is such a great and immediate reaction. As soon as "Out Of Control" started everybody was clapping their hands. Including Mick. They should play OOC at every show from now on, it is just getting better and better every night, and when Mick and Keith get their act together in the front of the stage, not thinking so much about how to duel, but just play it, then it will be perfect. Use the ramp please, please take the walk Keith!
Keith got a great reception, and a great sing-a-long during "You Got the Silver". Also, "Can't Be Seen" worked fine as an up-tempo song in his set. Then a close to 14 minutes version of Rambler, we all know that one, very much Mick Taylor, with a Ronnie Wood special in the end, plus Mick Jagger playing the band and the crowd.
During "Start Me Up" we could see Mick Taylor playing air guitar in the backstage area behind Charlie. I am sure he would love to be on stage on that song. But Ronnie was shining on "Start Me Up", especially tonight, and I don't think there is space for another guitar star on this very basic straight forward Stones song. Go Ronnie! Great guitar work!
The rest was just powerful Rolling Stones, with Keith tuned up at max, walking the ramp, walking the wings, Ronnie running, Keith running, Mick running constantly. A great show is always over long time before it should be over, sort of time flies too fast. By 11:36pm Ronnie had parked his guitar on the stage floor, Charlie sent his drum sticks into the crowd, Keith was on his knees smiling, and Mick was sending kisses to everyone in the crowd.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
The show held at Stade De France for the 14 On Fire tour indeed was no exception to this rule.
In fact, Keith Richards carried the show from start to finish with focus, mastery and even showmanship, driving the band throughoutly and in total control. As a fan said on his way back into the RER B, in a few words "Keith was f**king smoking tonight ". And he was indeed!
The concert kicked off with "Jumping Jack Flash ", which proved once again to be the perfect opener, and followed with a setlist without particular surpries in it.
However, "You Got Me Rocking " was surprisingly good, due mainly to Keith's job either on the sound of his guitar and on his solo, which simply rocked.
"Wild Horses" was very well and poignantly performed, and later "Out Of Control " rocked the house once again. Just like in Berlin, this number featured a very close interplay between Keith and Mick. This song really deserves to be constantly included in the setlist, and it's very interesting how enthusiastically the odiens reacts after hearing it even if beforehand they didn't know the song at all.
By the first songs it was already clear that Keith was totally on fire, and his set showed it once again. "Can't Be Seen" was really good and without particular mistakes.
In "Midnight Rambler" the three guitars roared throughout the song, the sound was mean (in a good way, of course) and Mick seemed possessed. He just makes the people forget about his age, and is still the one who puts out the best show in this business.
The final home run throgh the warhorses was glorious."Gimme Shelter" in particular was much better than in latest occasions, and "Sympathy For The Devil" sounded great as well. Albeit not so overwhelming as in Zurich, "Satisfaction" rocked hard as well with Keith on the spotlight.
The overall atmosphere was not so intimate and friendly as in Zurich, but the Stade De France is a wonderful venue and the odiens really had fun. The crowd went particularly nuts on Charlie's introduction by Mick, and also during "Miss You".
The sound was muddier than in Zurich, but got better as the concert progressed. During "Bitch" the guitars were so loud that I could barely hear the horns. I mean, now we're talking!!!
As pointed out in many other comments, the Stones are really managing to live up to the name of the tour: they indeed are "On Fire", and you can tell they are getting better and better the more gigs they perform. As this concert in Paris has been one of the best out of the twenty I've witnessed so far, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming gigs.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by Terje Eriksen
Thanks to messages on this board I became aware of the strike and found that the Metro would be best, especially from entrance S. Took a very crowded and very hot Metro from Montparnasse to STF, standing packed as sardines. We had seats on the lower part of tier 3 (S16), and was surprised to see the rather few people in the FOS sections as late as 19.30. It didn't really start to fill up before 20.30.
The sections further back packed earlier and at concert start the section at the back was really crowded and full. The people standing behind the mixing desk could not see anything(?) I noticed during the waiting that the wind affected the sound from the speakers, sometime it was loud and sometimes it blew away, and this was also evident during the Struts set.
It was quite interesting to see from above when the Struts were cut off. Suddenly the sound disappeared from the PA and you could see many members of the Stones crew running for mixing desks, while others were all over the stage preparing for the Stones while the Struts were still on the stage.
I hoped the sound of the Stones would be louder and not so affected by the wind, but unfortunately for the first part of the concert it was. I don't know if it was the wind or the mix, the vocals suffered most, for many songs both guitars was quite loud and sometimes drowned Micks vocals, but on Bitch it was the opposite.
As it got darker the wind calmed off a little and the sound got louder it became better, and from OOC and for the rest it was ok. On YCAGWYW and Satisfaction the sound was really good.
Compared to Oslo I think the band seems more tighter now, the interaction is better and they finish of the songs when they should. Personally I liked JJF, HTW, OOC, MR, SMU, YCAWGWYW and Satisfaction best this evening. The opening riff of JJF is the best concert starter ever. Glad they changed back to this. I have not heard OOC live since 1998 and its pure joy to hear Keith pump out the riff on this. This song works very well live.
For the last tours I have found HTW boring, but it sound fresher on this tour, like it's got new life. It was also good to hear Keith nailing the opening riff on SMU this time. Charlie (on the drums, Charlie Watts) was introduced before Ronnie again. Ronnie only gets better and better, this evening he also took a run from the small stage out to the right wing.
Keith seems to move quicker and better and kicked his foot in the air liked he used to before. We moved from our seats and to the top of the stairs and watched YCAGWYW and Satisfaction to be prepared for a quick exit out of the stadium when the music finished. We rushed off to metro when Satisfaction ended, skipped the final bowl and were back at the hotel in less than an hour. I have never seen a stadium concert from a seat before, it was very relaxing. Just to have a fixed seat, nothing blocking your view, to be able to leave your place and get back easily if you want. You ears working normally the day after.
It was a different experience, but I enjoyed it. My daughter did too.
Photos by Victor Woods
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