It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:09pm Show end : 11:15pm
You could feel the electricity in the air from the very start. This was a great, great crowd. I could hear a gigantic roar from thousands, and wondered why? Mick opened his shirt... Mick catched up with the crowd from the first moment and played them just like he wanted all through the show. When Mick said "oooh" the crowd followed. When he lifted his shirt the crowd went wild. It was so easy. Then Keith and the rest of the band just catched up the energy so the show went into a hurricane of pleasure.
They could have played anything tonight, and it would have been one of the greatest shows anyway. Fact is, the show tonight was pretty close to the show in Mexico City on Monday, set list wise. "Let's Spend The Night Together" replaced "Street Fighting Man" from the show on Monday, "Angie" took the spot where they did "Wild Hoses", and Keith did "Happy" instead of "Before They Make Me Run". And they had "Jumping Jack Flash" as the starter, swapping with "Start Me Up". That's it. So it was the crowd and the band, not the set list, that made this show so great.
Mick did a joke about Roger Waters doing "The Wall" here in Mexico and mentioned "Donald Trump" would mess it up. I could hear "booo"-ing around me so I am not sure if that joke worked, but then they were into the next song, and weired jokes are soon forgotten.
The mood and the excitement in the crowd and within the band was already high. Then Mick did the presentations, and Keith did "You Got The Silver", acoustic guitars with both Ronnie and Keith. Then Keith walked up with a note in his hand. What was up? Then he said it was his wife's bithday, and he wanted to say "Happy Birthday to Patricia". So he did "Happy". Touchy moment. He tried out quite a few riffs and sort of tried out the start of "Happy" several times, then he was on, loud and strong.
"Midnight Rambler" was outstanding, a synergy of the band members on stage with the crowd reacting to anything they did. Lots of improvisation and interaction.
"Miss You" - Mick dancing next to Darryl doing the bass solo. "Gimme Shelter" - Keith! Then as Gimme Shelter finished Keith is jumping straight into "Start Me up", while Mick surprised is saying "a-ha"...
I am so glad I had many friends around me at this great show. We could share smiles and joy as the show and the excietment wsent on. It would have been a shame to miss such a great show. I still don't understand why and how, only the fact that this was may be the best show of the tour.
On a side note, when I am looking through my photos from the show, I have never seen so much happiness and smiles on stage. That is why I have shared not just photos of the core members, but everyone I could see from my "Keith side"...
The photos here are from the second half of the show, as I worked my way from the final bow and backwards, until I had "too many" great photos. To see photos from the first part of the show, and also from the "friends and family" part, and off stage, see my StonesLife.org blog report The Rolling Stones live in Mexico City, Mexico March 17, 2016.
Photo by Bjørnulf Vik
But I should quickly add that the show was a blast, as I planted myself halfway along the catwalk rail on Ronnie's side and screamed like a 12-year-old at a One Direction concert every time Mick walked past me, which was quite often. Alas, unlike Monday, Mick and I did not make eye contact, though he did gesture to someone ahead of me, possibly Georgia, who I saw backstage briefly.
Keith was more chatty than usual, saying, "What a great band," after he was introduced. "Buenos noches, Mexico. It's a real pleasure to be here. I might move here." Get in line, son, Mexico City has easily been the most enjoyable stop on the tour (though I did detour to Quito after Bogota and highly recommend that city.)
After "You Got The Silver," Keith noted that it was his wife's birthday, and said - with the help of a piece of paper - "Feliz cumpleanos, Patricia. One life, sister." Then he announced he would play "Happy" as a tribute, though it is far from a happy song, and he stood center-stage for about 10 seconds trying to remember how it starts, hoping his fingers would rescue him. Very awkward, though this is not a new development.
Even Charlie got in on the happy act. When Mick introduced him, he walked to Mick's mike stand and indicated that he would have said something if only there had been a mike there. I haven't said much about Charlie on this tour, but I have never seen him look happier. On virtually every song he is grinning like a Cheshire cat. His sprits must have been buoyed by having his perky granddaughter Charlotte on board in an official capacity as his assistant. And Ronnie, lest we forget, has played like a dervish. This tour cannot have been easy for him or for Sally, and I'll bet he is winging his way to London for a quick rendezvous as we speak.
But of course it really is the Mick Show. Right from a very forceful "Jumpin' Jack Flash" he made liberal use of the catwalk, which was shorter than usual. And I also noticed that the wings of the stage did not extend past he giant video screens on both sides. Fans have definitely been short-changed by the budget staging on recent shows.
During "Out of Control," we were presented with the closest thing we'll see to a bullfight during the local off-season, Mick in red, Keith in blue, circling each other challenging each other to reach greater heights. And Mick, yelled out to Keith before his solo, "Go get 'em Keith."
They also put supportive, outstretched arms on each other's shoulders just before "Midnight Rambler" (14:25) intensified with the Boston Strangler line. This tour has done wonders for the Glimmers' relationship. We should all be lucky to have such an enduring friendship.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, "Let's Spend the Night Together" was the Internet choice. The cognoscenti voted for "Shine A Light," but we knew that would never happen. "Is it really? How does that go?" Mick said unconvincingly when the song was announced. And "Angie" was the predictable follow-up ballad.
Afterwards, Mick joked (en Español) that Roger Waters was bringing his "Wall" extravaganza to Mexico and Donald Trump would be his special guest. This is a very rare foray by Mick into politics. God knows he had enough fodder to discuss when playing Argentina and Brazil, but he diplomatically sidestepped domestic issues. After "Honky Tonk Women," he delivered another long speech in Spanish, and concluded, in English, "Enough of my Spanish jokes."
The show ended at 11:15 after Mick told the crowd, "You're so wonderful, thank you ... Thank you so much." And you could tell he meant it. On paper, the Mexico City shows may not have been as memorable or exotic as, say, La Plata or Lima, respectively. And the seating was very anti-democratic, but the twofer will always be a solid coda to the most significant tour of the modern-day Stones. And now we are off to Cuba for the hastily added encore, a surreal occasion to be sure.
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
I have seen the RS almost 40 times throughout my life since 1976, when they toured Europe supporting Black and Blue. Since then, I have seen their ups and downs as musicians.
It is amazing to see the energy they have at their seventies, and move around the stage as they do. Playing 2+ hours is not very common in most artists today. With the money they have made, they could easily be at a nice island enjoying family and life, they truly deserve it. But this guys really love what they do, being on the road is like a drug for them. I remember an interview with Charlie Watts, in which he stated that “being with the Stones is like joining the army. Once you are inside, you cannot leave”. Of course aging is part of the unavoidable human nature. What they are doing now, is spacing the frequency of the concerts to fit this reality and to take some free time in between to know places.
The values and the personality of the Stones brand and tounge is still there, in spite of having moved throughout time from “we piss anywhere” to “world ambassador celebrities”. Amazing story.
Sound quality during the show was really outstanding, you could listen individually to each of the instruments at any time during the concert. The Stones playing is really consistent, at high level. The top highlights were “Out of Control”, “Paint it Black”, “Sympathy for the Devil”, “YCAGWYW”. Compared to the earlier 50 years tours, they got rid of “Doom and Gloom”.
“Angie” is an all time mexican favorite. Good choice, same as “Let´s Spend the Night Together”. I don´t know who their language and local stories adviser is. People love when Jagger speaks in Spanish (he does every local language during the tours, doesn´t he???), using slang and words that tie him emotionally to the people. His jokes about “Sean Penn” and “Trump” were probably “too British” for the locals, we are brutally open and sarcastic, double sensed and sexually driven instead.
When it comes to the mexican flag, you need to be careful. We have a local law, that limits how it can be used and what is prohibited. We are not as americans, that use the flag for almost anything. Our flag deserves respect, it is a symbol of a pride and belonging. Other artists have also made mistakes when using the flag.
Everytime a RS concert ends, I have the feeling I won´t see them again anymore. This time however, I thought if I am going to be alive to see them again. I envy their stamina. Hope we can see them soon again, new music as well.
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
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