It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:27pm Show end : 11:36pm
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Okay, so there really isn't a fairy tale that goes like that, but there should be, and might as well be. How else can you explain not only their longevity, but their almost supernatural energy? I'm a longtime Stones lover, but I tend to be hypercritical about most things entertainment. I keep expecting (dreading) the day when I think the Stones have lost a step. Judging by the performance in Atlanta last night, that day has not yet arrived.
For me personally, if this was the proverbial "last time", it was a great way to end my Stones concert going experiences. I first saw them at Bobby Dodd stadium back in 1989. Also, during the last Atlanta performance for "A Bigger Bang", I was right in the middle of getting fired from my job. So that whole concert wasn't a lot of fun for me because of this dark pall hanging over my life at that time. So, this concert was a much, much better way to go out than the previous one. I'm very grateful for that.
What about the show? It was great. Amazing. I was in the very highest row way over on Keith's side, and this is an old open air sports stadium, so the sound was not the greatest. The high and mids were distant and echoey, but okay. The bass really reverbs badly, and one could hear a marked difference in sound quality from row 1 of the upper level compared with row 26. I say this to let you know I wasn't in the greatest place to judge the musicianship.
I thought the ends of "It's Only Rock And Roll" and "Happy" seemed to get a little confused and muddy. I'm personally tired of "Tumbling Dice", but it's a great song and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Brown Sugar" were lively and short, and didn't get caught up in a droning groove as they sometimes can when they're played for too long.
"Miss You" is a song that most hardcore fans have tired of, but I can still enjoy it. I was surprised at a small section when the song pulls to a complete stop. That was an unfamiliar little bit for me, and I wonder if it's new for this tour or whether it just happened organically. Either way, Darryl Jones' bass solo was one of the musical highlights of the show. "Satisfaction" was excellent. Nothing really interesting or different in the arrangement, but it's amazing that they can play this song that they must have played at least ten thousand times before, and still rock it so well. They were like a musical tornado.
Of course, the amazing three song set of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "You Gotta Move" and "Some Girls" was the kind of thing that sends die-hard fans into a frenzy of excitement. I recorded "CYHMK" on my phone, which prevented me from dancing as much as I wanted to. Too much concentration was required to do the filming, so I didn't feel like I really was able to revel in the moment. But the song was sublime as it rolled up and down like the beautiful ocean it is.
"You Gotta Move" was astounding. We were so lucky to hear that. I think it went over well with the crowd; Mick even made a little attempt at a sing along near the end. Honestly, I was enjoying hearing the song so much that the crowd could have been booing, and I would hardly have noticed them. The song also felt incredibly short, like less than a minute. It started, and then it was over. When songs fly by that quickly, you know they're good. The only thing wrong with "You Gotta Move" was that I wanted MORE MORE MORE.
"Some Girls"... wow! I never expected to ever hear that in concert. Again, I'm not sure how the crowd took it, because I was too busy being on cloud nine and dancing. I really tried to be present and thoroughly enjoyed every note. I thought it was a great performance, the Stones grinding out that nasty groove.
The band runs like clockwork, like a very well oiled machine. Other than the apparent misfires during "IORR" and "Happy", everything else seemed very smooth, with no other hiccups that I could detect. Horns and keyboards seemed to be restrained in the mix, which was a relief. I love Chuck's keyboards and the horn section, but I think it's a better show when they don't dominate the sound.
Charlie Watts, so highly regarded but in my opinion still extraordinarily underrated. When you have a drummer that is so skilled and talented, yet still able to listen and follow instead of leading the whole rhythm as if he's on his own little island, it's something pretty special. How he can still keep such an amazing beat for an entire show with no breaks is pretty astounding.
Ron Wood was completely on. Again, just a huge talent. And still underrated and, frankly, underused. He should be allowed to contribute more to Stones singing and songwriting, in my opinion. There's a reason he's in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame twice. His guitar continues to mesh so well with Keith that it's often hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It's guitar magic.
Keith Richards, singing strong, moving about with confidence, and smiling with shining light in his eyes. I'm not sure who was to blame for the confusion during "Happy", but it didn't seem to be a reflection of Keith's current musical ability. He nailed everything else from what I could hear. Lots of energetic, sympathetic guitar playing by the man.
And Mick Jagger. What can be said about him that hasn't been written a thousand times over? I am about 25 years younger than Mick, and if I had sung and danced the way he did during "Midnight Rambler" alone, I would have been requesting paramedics at the end of the tune. I definitely would have had to go offstage and take a nap. I hear that some people on the IORR forum are wondering if the Stones now have more energy than a majority of their audiences today. It very well could be true, but I think even a stadium of crossfit junkies would get worn out trying to keep pace with Mick.
Seriously, back in 2012 I watched Mick's performance at the White House event to honor blues music. He seemed winded after a few songs on a tiny stage, and even called out the audience for blocking his teleprompter during "Miss You", a song I thought he could probably do in his sleep by now. Watching that show, I had a cold, creepy feeling of doom and gloom. It sure looked like Mick had gone over the hill and was finally showing signs of his age. To think I would see him three years later, singing, dancing, and running for a two hour show and not show any visible signs of exhaustion is pretty astounding.
The Stones do a professional show, but it's far from soulless. You'd think that after all these years, some aspect of the show would have that "going though the motions" feel, as if they were doing it out of obligation. But somehow they make the music seem vital instead of rote. There's so much focus and energy, you have to get the feeling that they are doing it out of genuine love. They love to rock and roll, and they love to rock together. And they feed off the crowd's energy and really make a connection with the audience. They still somehow manage to deliver the goods.
Long live the Rolling Stones!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
I was very surprised to hear "Start Me Up" as the opener, I guess they knew that this was the opener for the show 25 years ago. I was expecting JJF. "All Down The Line" was also unexpected but flawless. After the band intros, Keith walked down the catwalk to great the crowd and then showing his youth by running back to do two of my favorites.
It's always good to hear "Midnight Rambler"' "Miss You", which is not on my wish list, had the crowd dancing. YCAGWYW with The Emory Choir was one for the the ages. What can you say that hasn't been already said about "Satisfaction". I went with the same two friends that I went with in 89 and my friend Barry said, "I hope this is not the last time I'll see them". Let's hope that God stays in the band and they come back for at lest one more round!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
My location was section 112 row 47 seat 29, enter to the gate 5. Far but a great point of view. We waiting a while till the doors get open because the afternoon storm. Sticking Fingers was play inside while waiting, then I listen the firs riff of Some Girls... Wow that wasn't the record! The Stones are doing the sound check, pretty awesome!! The do Some Girls, Happy & AGWYW. Even I can see them on the left screen dresed with casual dress. I little warm up!
What can I say of the show, sice I'm also enjoy it when they do mistakes!!. Was amazing the sound, drums, guitars, Mick's voice.. Everything sound loud and clear. The set list was great, since the vote song was "Some Girls" that I do love. Also the "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" was almost hipnotic with the amazing jazz jam and amazing guitar solos. Then the big surprice "You Gotta Move" thanks guys for this!!! Keith made some mistakes but they don't need say "Sorry" some laughs and keep rolling!!
The crow was a bit different from shows at my contry, but what can I say of these guys, they were awesome too! They enjoy at his own way. I saw older fans with the family and telling stories of concerts from the seventies. And some others dressed with casual dress, anyway I had really enjoy it the show, and I will never get tired to see them... Thanks Rolling Stones to exist!! Next stop at Orlando Cirtrus Blow!!!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
We'd read the reports of sound check numbers earlier so hoped for a few "surprises" on the set list. Our seats were close to the front - financial over-exuberance when they came on sale. In fact the only reason it seemed to have seats on the floor was to keep the fans in the right place, and for the occasional rest for the weary. From the minute the lights dimmed everyone stood and rocked.
A little surprise with Start Me Up to kick off. With this and IORR you could see the band were in Atlanta to have some fun, enjoying the atmosphere despite the heat and risk of rain. Their energy was very evident in the playing, having fun, working hard. Mick and Keith both running at times. Ok so you expect it from super-fit Mick but this was like Keith 15 or more years ago. How many of the audience could run like that I wondered...
All Down the Line was very tight, Ronnie playing intro sections sans-slide, and then absolutely nailing a tight solo. Charlie bashing hard. Keith on fine form as he was throughout the evening. Dice again tight and not extended.
Then Doom and Gloom. Out little Brit touring party has mixed views about this song - I could do without the old video in the background, but otherwise this has now evolved into a very good live rocker. First Mick with the Open-G riffs, then taken over by Keith as Mick's guitar is wafted away by the backline crew.
Then, for the serious fans, we got into the really exciting part of the evening. CYHMK - I first heard this in Boston (Orpheum) in 2002 and last in London (O2) in 2007. Tonight a shorter (I think) rendition, tight, good Ronnie and Karl D solos; great rhythm from Keith. Super fun.
I then saw an acoustic being brought out, but having missed the stool thought we were getting Wild Horses. But no it's a 12 string and Keith lounges on the stool to stroke out the opening slide on You Gotta Move. So, so, much better than the sing-a-long version I saw before in 1976. Hearing the blues from the south, played back in the South (OK slightly different audience to Mississippi Fred McDowell and his friends...). Awesome. A real highlight. Should be a "Sticky" in the setlist.
Finally in the fan-excitement section we got Some Girls. As Mick described it - a "funky version". Meaning he repeated verses, they jammed into the middle-8, and struggled a bit to finish. Under-rehearsed? Or maybe willing to take a few risks in front of 50,000 people. I think the latter as the band were smiling at the end and enjoying living life on the edge of the stage. To put the "we're confident, having fun, trying to meet all your expectations" band attitude in context, I only heard them play Some Girls before in the tiny confines of Shepherds Bush Empire in 1999.
Bliss, and thanks to the band taking some risks. I know the "war horse" set list gets some stick from some serious fans, but when you have 50,000 in the audience, many of whom have seen the Stones maybe once only - you must play many of your masterpieces. Throwing in a few curved balls for the minority of the audience was a delight - thanks guys!
Keith extended his mini-set in two novel ways - he walked/jogged to the end of the catwalk to say hello, and the band got a bit lost in Happy. Not just Keith - it was the whole band. I think he likes to improvise a bit more than most on his numbers, mixing it up to keep the band sharp. It worked - and great musicians like they all are, it came back together. In fact I bet 95% of the audience didn't even notice.
Oh and Keith's voice is very powerful this tour. No croaking this time around. And so is Mick's - he hits the notes that McCartney, Daltrey and Plant can't do anymore. Must be doing extra lung and vocal chord exercises.
Rambler and Shelter were strong, and again some jamming and such powerful guitar notes from Keith. Wow. Nice solo from Ronnie on Rambler and inter-play with Mick, Keith and Darryl. Yes Mick Taylor brought some different colour over the last couple of years, but I didn't like the grumpy scowls that I could see from him when standing behind the amps. Rude if nothing else. We don't need that - we do need rocking versions of classics and we got them.
The final run to the end ran pretty much as expected - Karl and Tim Ries giving us some great sax solos; fine Lisa vocal gymnastics; even some percussion from Bernard! The band enjoying playing songs they've done a million times. The crowd going mad.
Which brings me round to local lad ("we found a local tree farmer to play keyboards tonight" I think Mick said) Chuck Leavell. He'd taken the opportunity to invite a "few" friends along in the audience, even hosting his own well-attended hospitality event. I-75 must have busy that day. As ever he played the ivories with energy and passion; less of the conductor than a few years ago - having more space to really play. The folks from Macon should be proud of the local lad - as were the Allman Brothers Museum folks I met in Sunday in Atlanta.
It didn't feel like a huge stadium. It helps to be close to the front, but looking around the whole place was rocking. Did the seats get used at all in the 2 and a bit hours of the Stones bringing the blues back to the South? That audience energy created a positive feedback loop with the band - hence such great fun. One of the top shows I have been lucky enough to see.
I'm also lucky to be writing this from St Augustine en route to the Orlando show (I think Dylan wrote a song about this beach-side town...), and then with our depleted Brit party I'll be in Nashville and Pittsburg so looking forwards to more of the high energy, funky, Zipcode tour!
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Can you judge an entire show on the strength, or weakness, of one song? Well, yes and no. Because for me at the Rolling Stones June 9, 2015 show in Atlanta there were two songs that defined the event.
If the answer is yes, the performance of Can't You Hear Me Knocking was transcendent. The song has two distinct parts; a riotous rock and roll portion followed by a long jazzy refrain. While the Stones are known for their ability to get their rocks off, and they most certainly did in the first half of the song, it was the second section where they so unexpectedly soared. Ron Wood reinterpreted Mick Taylor's original guitar jam fluidly, sending the song someplace I had never heard it go before. New sax man Karl Denson drew from his experience playing on the jam band circuit as he stepped to the front of the stage for a solo, bending notes and stretching the song in his own style. The band built to a crescendo and then, just like on the album, stopped on a dime leaving me breathless. I turned to my wife and said I could leave the stadium and go home happy now.
Not necessarily better but decidedly different, they followed CYHMK with another Sticky Fingers track, a cover of Mississippi Fred Mcdowell's You Got To Move. A stool was produced and Keith Richards sat, playing slide on a 12 string guitar while Mick Jagger almost intoned rather than sang the slow blues number. This was a totally unexpected treat, a song I never expected to hear them perform live and they nailed it.
At the other end of the spectrum, the band completely and totally pissed me off when they rearranged the set list and kicked off the show with Start Me Up. For years I've thought their catalogue was so deep that they could jump start the crowd by opening with Jumping Jack Flash, and they had on every other night of the tour. It was my luck that this night they wanted to try something different, which wasn't really different at all as they've relied on SMU as an opener for years. I almost booed. Adding insult to injury, they simply substituted JJF into the middle of the second half greatest hits section, it got lost in the parade and I got angry at them all over again. I was also disappointed they left out the white girls and black girls lines in Some Girls, proving that this era of political correctness is a more effective filter than Ed Sullivan asking them not to sing the line, let's spend the night together. (Either that or Mick just forgot the lines - he seemed to be struggling with the lyrics.) 2012's Doom and Gloom felt forced upon the audience, as if to prove the band can still write something relevant, and while it has a beat I love it's a song I hate; thankfully it was just after D&G that they made my night with Can't You Hear Me Knocking.
So it's hard to stay mad at the Stones for long, and even though we were way up high - last row high - on the side of a football stadium, our tickets cost only $29 apiece so I just let it go and enjoyed the experience. The sound never entirely jelled where we were, with echoes bouncing off the back of the bowl as late as Midnight Rambler which followed Keith's two songs. My 26 year old step son went, his first Stones show, and described it as "awesome" and "fantastic," specifically commenting on how hard it was to believe the way Mick danced during Rambler that he was 72 years old.
A few random observations: A helicopter circling the stadium appeared to be chasing a small drone during Gimme Shelter which lent a surreal, Pink Floyd The Wall-ish quality to the song and totally distracted me from Lisa Fisher's solo where she got to walk all the way to the front of the proscenium stage. During a few songs, such as Honky Tonk Women and It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It), I felt distant, not just physically but emotionally, removed from the excitement I thought I should be experiencing. I wasn't excited early on when they started All Down the Line, but here again Denson and the rest of the horn section helped them kick the song up another gear. Finally, I thought of my good friend Ego when Mick sang "fever in the funk house now" during Tumbling Dice, and that always makes me smile.
I've never been to a Stones show that I didn't enjoy, although last night will rank fairly low down on my personal totem pole. While first impressions may be lasting impressions, and they didn't start well in my book, they completely redeemed themselves with one of the best individual song performances I can recall. And that was really all I was looking for, so sometimes you do get what you need.
Decades ago when I was in High School, I'd spend every study hall going to the library researching everything there was to find about the Rolling Stones. It was 1979 and Brian Jones was gone, the Beatles had stopped, Jimi, Janis and many other of my favorite music artist were gone. Keith had been on borrowed time for years and headed to prison in Canada. I sat in the library day dreaming, "I wish I had been born twenty years earlier so I could have more time with one of the things I most loved in this world, the Rolling Stones!"
Here I was decades later in Atlanta about to see my heroes. "I hope they play Satisfaction," I joked. "Who cares what they play'" I thought. The Rolling Stones were about to be in front of me! We were excited to see the Stones in Atlanta. Yes, the Stones were still Rolling and we were ready!
The highlights of the show included several songs that weren't on Hot Rocks!
"You Got to Move" wasn't my favorite number from the band to perform but I sure loved this shorter version in Atlanta! I really enjoyed it even though it was basic Blues. I got a deeper appreciation for the song. The Stones were playing well. I song hit me (or as my very elderly Aunt would say about Perry or Frank singing a song playing on the old Victoria - "It sends me!"
"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" was another treat! The Stones played it well with great Jazzy sax solo by Dennison. Although I loved it and Stones were tighter and performed it better than recent tours, it was a different arrangement than I experienced in Hollywood's Fonda Theater.
"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" a few weeks ago saw an awesome jam between Ronnie and Karl Denson. It was one of the best Stones jams ever! Yes, EVER!
Atlanta's "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" just had Ron and Karl playing separate solos. I don't know why the Rolling Stones did the secret Hollywood club show playing the whole Sticky Fingers album back on May 20th but I'm just thrilled in was recorded, audio and video in High Definition quality for everyone to hopefully see one day soon!
Mick made many references to the city of Atlanta and it's state of Georgia including during "Miss You." Mick ad-libbed, "Sometimes I want to sing, sometimes I want to sing, "Georgia on my Mind." This line got a chuckle from the audience when he quoted the title of the famous Ray Charles song.
Thanks to John Fisher (Mick J. Fish on IORR) and others, the web vote for the show was "Some Girls!" We played the song "Some Girls" for Freddie Stray Cats lovely wife the other night but she was napping at the time due to a fast-paced day with her four children, husband and the two house guest. Here we were at the concert and the Rolling Stones played it live for Jeannine!
"Some Girls" was a lot different than the other live versions I love. I loved this offering the most! Maybe because there was more to the song this time? Maybe because it was very nice to hear this more mature version? Maybe it was just great? I particularly love Keith's lead work at the very end!
I always love the chorus during "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and this not was a nice version. I thought of my friend Dirk from Holland with whom we enjoyed lunch with that day and other friends sitting in the back with his group of Dutch visitors. Dirk love that song and I did too. Dimitri thought it was cool they played "Crazy Mama" at the Belly Up. He said he'd love to hear it in concert. So would I! We agreed that it's a great Stones song. Keith on all guitars I remember in 1997 when the Stones played Crazy Mama it had an echo in the stadium. With the space between guitar chords and the echo from the main speakers at the main stage would give the song a sense of weird timing. Crazy Mama must have been hard to perform from the middle of the field on the little stage. I loved it every time they played it ("One Hit" is another great rare live song). I yelled out for "Crazy Mama" several times during the evening. I knew they wouldn't suddenly add it to the set list but I'm hoping the Stones will play it Pittsburgh. Pittsburg is going to be the hard core crowd. There are people flying in from everywhere. It's also the closest venue to Philadelphia, New York City and Cleveland. Three hard-core Stones fans cities! Forget Hot Rocks! How about "Sister Morphine?" On a side note, "Sister Morphine" was incredible at the Fonda Theater when Mick belted out "Why does the doctor have no face?" I was right there in the hospital with him. I felt his pain! It was an unbelievable performance Mick Jagger and the whole bad! Stunning! Lets shake it up in Pittsburgh guys, please? I was surprised they didn't play "Moonlight Mile" since it had become a staple of the tour. I saw "Moonlight Mile" in LA and it was great with
I always love watching Mick Jagger and his moves. I'm always amazed at his performance and that night was no exception. He always comes up with Jagger moves I've never seen before!
I enjoyed meeting our fearless leader of IORR, Bjornulf Vik at a preshow party. I especially enjoyed watching him during the show. He smiled a lot and he and Mick never stopped tapping their feet during and moving around during the songs. The smile on his face was coming from his heart. He works hard with the reviews, web site, photos, behind the scenes activity, travel and with all of that work and commitment, Bjornulf obviously loves the Rolling Stones! Great job! Bravo!
Big thanks to Fred and Jeannine, Shelley, John Fisher to make the show happen for Brian and I. A big thanks to Bjornulf Vik for all that he does for us Rolling Stones fans with his reviews, reference sections and bringing us together on the best Rolling Stones web site ever, www.iorr.org !
There were no particular low lights for me. There seemed to be several screw-ups and I even loved those. I always figured the fan vote was just a rigged prop but judging by the way Mick flubbed the lyrics to Some Girls it seemed to take them by total surprise. During Happy the band at times seemed to be playing different songs at times.
It appeared that during YCAGWYW there were several different tempos being played. It was inspiring to see them play their way out of these and a few issues. it's the difference in "playing" a song and just memorizing it note for note and regurgitating it on stage. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it's exhilarating to see it live.
I have a wife a kid a house and bills everywhere. I will trade them all for a bad seat in Nashville in a week or so. (not really but you get the point.)
Thought the opener would be JJF as with previous shows, but got Start Me Up instead. Crowd loved it, I'd prefer JJF but of course it showed up later in the set. IORR was typically sloppy, but that's the way we like it right?
Next was two in a row from Exile, ADTL and Tumbling Dice were played pretty well.
Doom and Gloom?! Come on, nobody wants to hear this song at this point in a stadium show. They should dump it..........
When the tour was announced I was especially excited for the prospect of as many Sticky Fingers songs being played live as possible. Unfortunately, they've managed to play at most 3 songs at any given show thus far. For this show we got Can't You Hear Me Knocking, You Gotta Move, and Brown Sugar later in the set. I am a Mick Taylor elitist so everything else is secondary to his playing, but Ronnie did an OK job with the end solo. This is a truncated version however. You Gotta Move was different but interesting with Keith playing slide on a 12 string acoustic!
Next up is the audience vote? What a miss! We got Some Girls, which the band barely even knew. I don't like the song and it was played VERY sloppy. Waste. HTW: Can't go wrong
Keith's 2 songs: pretty sloppy but typical
From this point on you all know how it goes with the "War Horses" songs. All were played well but the highlight is Midnight Rambler. This one has the best feel and vibe when performed.
It was great to see the Stones again, and more than likely for the final time. Those of you seeing this tour will be satisfied.
I was pleased to see them and soak up the atmosphere in the heart of Atlanta. The highlights for me were YOU GOTTA MOVE, SOME GIRLS and CAN'T YOU HEAR ME KNOCKIN'. S.D. was very, very good, Dallas was better but Atlanta was bad ass! The Jagg said this was the loudest crowd so far... and it got louder. My wife and I met a lot of great fans in Texas and Georgia and we had us a real good time! I just wanna' say THANK YOU KINDLY!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 1980 - 2015
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