It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:09pm Show end : 11:22pm
While the three shows at La Plata rank among the finest Stones experiences, the third one on Saturday was not quite up to the rigorous standards set by those on Sunday and Wednesday. The audience in the pit was more physical than vocal. But even then, the intense heat - it did not rain, despite my forecast - meant that a lot of people were pretty pooped after pogoing for the first few songs. The band did not seem to take too many chances, but everyone had a good time.
All told, the Rolling Stones played to about 165,000 ticket-holders in the only sell-out market on their South American tour. They performed 26 different songs, but the less said about "You Got Me Rocking" the better. Who voted for that song? I demand a recount.
Ronnie was perhaps the standout. His shredding on a relatively perfunctory version of "Midnight Rambler" (15 minutes) reminded me of Neil Young on "Like a Hurricane" or some similar barnburner. Keith managed to play five different songs during the La Plata stand. Tonight we got "You Got the Silver," which was beautiful, as usual.
Coincidentally, some guy near me in the pit decided to vomit as Keith started singing - was his singing that bad?! - and everyone around him scrambled for safety, creating an even greater mass of heaving bodies. By this time, the crush was getting a bit too much for me - not to mention all the shirtless torsos - so I dragged my sweat-soaked body to relative safety near the end of the catwalk.
I didn't take too many notes. Some vague memories. At the start of "Gimme Shelter" a cicada landed on the headstock of Keith's guitar, much to his delight, so we got an extended intro as he showed his amused bandmates. The thing stayed there for quite a while. A lot of bugs seemed to be flying around. Something went awry with the intro on "Brown Sugar," but I didn't mind. The more errors the better on the warhorses to sustain my interest. Mick and Keith wore wore red during the encore. It reminded me of Bruce Jenner and Kendall Jenner both wearing the same dress at some recent fashion event.
The only real downside now is that for both the Stones and those of us lucky to witness the La Plata spectacle, a return to the arenas of North America will be like downgrading from a juicy, Flintstones-sized bife de lomo fresh from the Pampas to a gray slice of grain-fed hamburger meat. Thank you, Argentina (though I look forward to never staying in La Plata again).
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Mick said this was their "ultimo" show in Argentina, as they finished "Tumbling Dice". It was a sad messsage and the entire crowd shouted "no!!!!".
"Beast Of Burden" was great to hear, with Mick and Bernard up front stage singing the duet.
Before the request song Chuck (or was it Matt?) started playing the "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" theme on the piano, and Mick was singing along. But the web choice was "You Got Me Rocking". That is one of the few songs where the crowd is jumping up and down from the very start to the very end, no breaks in jumping at all.
Great set by Keith, he seems to be safe on this stage, he did "You Got The Silver" and "Happy", as number nine and ten in the show, meaning this would be a show of eighteen numbers.
I was right on the B-stage since "Happy", and the rest of the show was like a wrestling game, a nice one though. When Ronnie and Keith "landed" on my doorstep" during "Miss You", everybody wanted to make a selfie, reach out, get front row, and the push was rather insane. But I loved it. Sort of self torture, but being close to the band is always great.
Final bow. A bit sad. I have seen The Rolling Stones ten times in Argentina over the past eighteen years, may be this was the "ultimo" show, may be. Anyway, I am off to Uruguay, where a virgin first time ever crowd is waiting in Montevideo.
We had blagged our way into the stadium area through a back entrance for the previous gig, using lots of bluff and official-sounding English. Today was the same, bumping into another reviewer as we got through. This avoided an extra 1km walk and a massive queue. The security was extensive: military police, riot police, police with massive dogs. I think the reason was because the Argentine President was supposed to be seeing this gig. But once inside fans seemed to ignore the security staff – any ticket got you anywhere. All very easy going.
The crowd was going crazy well before the Stones came on stage to kick-off with Start Me Up. On the pitch they were a little less mobile than the last gig. Some really crazy guys let off a few flares – in the middle of 30,000 tightly packed fans, almost catching flags on fire, and causing people to push themselves out of the way. Not very clever: in fact very dangerous. I saw several unconscious girls carried out even at the side: you need to be very determined to be in that part of the crowd, and have lots of stamina. The Argentina crowd’s enthusiasm for the band, for having a great time, is immense. It cannot be understated.
The band had obviously decided that, with a long band introductions section caused by manic cheering for each band member and some extended versions of a few songs, a set list of 18 was the only practical solution. I don’t think anyone noticed except for the train-spotters in the audience. It was another two and a quarter hours of maximum strength rock’n’roll.
The audience choice disappointed me, not that You Got Me Rocking is that bad but I wanted Rocks Off or Heartbreaker. As it turned out we heard a great version and for the crowd it was one of the most popular songs in the set – and that’s who the band are playing-for – the crowd not us fan-atics.
Ronnie was on sparkling form throughout, including some very fast soloing. He seemed to be needing to concentrate less that a few days earlier: just letting it flow. Charlie had looked tired before – no sign of this tonight. He did take control at the very end, deciding when Satisfaction ended. A rare event worth noting.
Keith again was on sparkling form, although I suddenly got worried when he started off Rambler whilst sat down by Charlie, and he was very late to come into Miss You. But no impact on playing and he seemed fine, even more energised afterwards. Maybe the heat and humidity required small breather – I know I did and I have 13 years on him.
It could have been the bugs – any light was surrounded by small, large and massive insects. The stage area is of course one huge pool of light. One even landed on Keith’s guitar to great amusement on stage. All the band were waving bugs away, Mick even dragging them out of his mouth – lets face it you can’t sing without your mouth open.
Mick …. How does this man do it – he was sprinting up the runway at the end of the show. I bet no more than 1% of the crowd could do that and almost all of them are much much younger. He seemed to be having a great time, joking and laughing, doing an Andrew Lloyd Webber song for the first time. But mainly holding the whole gig together, conducting the audience, giving it that famous Jagger passion. I bet the President was looking for crowd control tips.
The rest of the on-stage team played their usual starring roles. A surprise, even for the man himself, was Bernard being pulled out by Mick to sing a duet in Burden. It shows the confidence in the whole of the band to wing-it. It shows how relaxed and confident the Band is to be ad-libbing in front of 55,000 fans.
On the long drive back to the city I wondered how much better can this get. I really don’t think the crowd can get any better in their enthusiasm and passion than the Argentines. It is certainly setting the standard for the rest of South America, for the rest of this tour.
The band, the Big 4 and their superb cohorts, seems relaxed and very easy with each other; playing with skill and passion: having a ball themselves. I’m not sure they can get much better really – it’s a fantastic experience to watch and listen to their performance. I guess the touring every year (this is the fifth year – they haven’t done that since 69-73) helps a lot. Whatever the reasons – don’t stop. And Uraguay – my first time and the Band’s – you better get ready.
Photos by Latvianinexile
Something weird happened, and I don't know what, but mostly it went wrong from the get-go of the concert onwards. Yes we had a great night, but... For a start, there were huge sound problems, with the guitars sometimes getting quite noisy, or else something went wrong with the live mix. Mick introduced Beast of Burden as the 'request' song, but then he had to apologize when it actually wasn't. That had to be You Got Me Rocking (always great they play it, but I would have chosen Heartbreaker or Rocks Off instead, but then that's me).
Came the band intros' time and both Charlie and Ronnie got big ones. Keith got a huge one as well, although it didn't run for too long, like the one on the second show. Same for Midnight Rambler, Wednesday's night version hit the 16 minutes, wasn't that long yesterday. I believe both Mick and Charlie looked a bit tired all through the show, or else Mick got mad with the sound problems and he showed. However nothing stopped him from being really funny, joking when he said "Oh it's so sad this is out last show here, bun't don't worry, I bough a two-roomed apartment in Chacarita" (referring to a very middle-class traditional area in town).
There was also something wrong with Keith's guitar, and so with Mick's, he didn't even carry one for a second during Miss You. Keith was great during You Got the Silver with the vocals and his acoustic guitar. Let's also bear in mind our boys are in their '70s now and they still give us all they can, and so we take as well. Right, second show was much better, the best of the three shows in La Plata (I'm not planning to visit the town for at least 20 yers after all the hassle!), but we still got satisfaction. Oh yes we did! Could this be the last time? That's what everybody asked themselves all through what might have been the Stones' last show ever in Argentina (fingers crossed, let's just hope we are wrong!)
Next stop is Montevideo. Hope I can keep on reviewing the shows while down the road but, not being at home, I can't tell if I'll have the time to write. See you all soon!
Photos by Rodrigo Royan
Short version: made it to the show and lived to tell the story -> watch the video on Youtube.
The long story:
I feel like I’ve completed a marathon, the concert in Buenos Aires I attended last night was and probably will be the most precious concert experience of my life, both from considering everything invested into getting here and from the experience on its own.
Three years ago I wouldn’t even have dreamed about traveling half-way across the world to see the Stones in Buenos Aires. But I love to travel, and I love concerts and traveling for concerts it’s what I love most.
The Rolling Stones story for me, as I keep discovering from one experience to another, is like a story that was previously written and I only had to show up to live it. It’s most of all about the concerts, the energy, the feeling of how being true to yourself and doing the things that make you happy can get you anywhere, this is how I feel it.
Two years ago I arrived in Adelaide, during a Bobby Keys show as the Stones tour had been cancelled, that’s where I met Richard and Sonoko, an encounter that I believe contributed to all the Stones stories that followed, including my arrival in Buenos Aires. We made a pact that night for the three of us to meet in Buenos Aires if that were to happen in the future. And somehow I believe we did.
The opportunity of seeing the Stones playing for the best audience in the world for me meant the ultimate concert experience. And since then I’ve been waiting for the tour to be confirmed confident that I would somehow find a way to get there and experience it.
Long intro I know but Buenos Aires and getting to Buenos Aires has been my main challenge for a long time and now that it’s happened I absolutely feel like a superstar and that I am able to do anything!
For the first time in my life I joined the die-hard fans for an 8am bus ride into La Plata where we sat in the queue. Argentina is famous for its audience, they usually sleep outside of the venue in order to get a good spot.
The sky was cloudy so the sun wasn’t too bad during the 6 hours wait. For me it was a new and exciting experience, I met so many people who had been watching my travel videos and who knew my name and called me as I was passing by. I met some of the people I met at shows in the past and all in all it felt like a school reunion, school bus and all included.
At 4pm the doors opened and we got in, some made a run for it, some took a slower walk but we regrouped in front of the stage where we waited some more.
During the day I was being constantly warned and briefed by people around to guard my things, that the audience is like a vortex and it will suck you in, to stick together, to hold against the rail. Serious training like getting ready for the fight.
When the first opening band came on I started to feel it, the audience was a huge living animal and we were a thin line holding against the rail.
So I went with the flow and for a while it was good. They are indeed full of energy and that’s mostly because of their spirit, is not as much being Stones fans or music fans, rather a way of expression that is natural to them and is in a way unique in the world.
After a while things started to get more intense as more and more people were pushing trying to get to the rail, a pointless struggle as they would have become the thin line holding this organism from hitting the rail.
The opening bands did their sets and I think I never sweated as much as I did last night. I didn’t mind and was trying to keep an open mind until we had some troublemakers who were disturbing the otherwise chaotic sync set in motion.
The Stones come on stage and I can barely hear what they’re saying because of the incredibly loud audience.
They paraded on the catwalk and kept stopping right in front of our spot. They look the same, they are the same, these guys rock.
It’s nice to be this close to the stage and see the action but I also like to enjoy these experiences and in front of the stage that was a challenge.
After almost half of the show in front of the stage in Buenos Aires I knew I was happy with that and with a smile on my face and happy to do so I asked to be pulled over the rail. I then walked in front of the huge audience with thousands of hands in the air and made my way to the side of the field. I wanted to film that but even moving my hands could sometimes be difficult.
So I got out and enjoyed the rest of the show not very far from where I was sitting at first but with space to move, air to breathe and a cool breeze which finally happened last night since I arrived to South America. I enjoyed best of both parts and this way had a complete experience.
Looking at the bigger picture I could see things differently from the outside, indeed they are more enthusiastic than others but they too as do Europeans and Australians get excited for the first 10 seconds of the show and then they pull out their phones (not as much though).
They were singing and dancing but there are two songs in particular that they love, these are Paint It Black (because of the YouTube video I believe) and Satisfaction which they can easily sing in their football anthem sort of way.
Satisfaction does indeed have its best version here in Argentina.
And then there was a mix of feelings:
· Fulfilment: the more effort you put into making something happen the more satisfaction you get achieving it
· Graduation: getting here some lifted the limits of how far dreams can take you
· Change: since two years ago in Adelaide a lot of things have changed and a lot of people have gone, some of them on the stage some of them in front, in spirit they were all with us. I enjoyed seeing the new faces both on and off the stage
· Beginning: many of the Stones friends are now heading home after spending the week for the Buenos Aires shows, I feel they’re passing on the torch as I will be continuing forward to the next three shows
As we sat on the floor after the show having a beer and a few chats the endorphins started to kick in and it was a night of genuinely being grateful for these experiences and appreciating how things are connected. I’ve only ever met Richard less than 24h in total across two years and the two times we met were both exotic destinations. And like so many other wonderful people in this story he’s someone I consider a good friend and I know we will meet again, we’ll just have to discover when and where J
We’ve made it! #StonesArgentina
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