It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:50pm Show end : 00:07am
And so the Stones' show at Maracana, coming a decade after the free concert on Copacabana Beach, took a little bit of getting used to. Actually, it took a while getting started at all thanks to the malfunctioning screen on Keith's side. At one point people around me chanted something involving embattled President Dilma, and I don't think it was polite. They eventually came on at 9:54 with "Start Me Up," which triggered a brief frenzy. (Strictly speaking the show ended at 11:08 p.m. because the Stones ran into the end of Daylight Saving.)
Things seemed a little sloppier tonight. A lot of the usual miscues occurred. Mick got lost at the start of "Tumbling Dice," and Keith appeared to have no idea what was happening at the start of "Paint, It Black." Even "Midnight Rambler neared" derailment once or twice.
On the other hand, I liked Mick's new vocal arrangement on "Out of Control," although Sasha's vocals were too high in the mix. "Honky Tonk Women" really struck a chord. It was the first song to grab - and sustain - people's attention for a great singalong moment. And Bernard's triangle playing on "Paint It, Black" was sublime.
As expected, "Like a Rolling Stone" was the audience choice. Not my choice, but it has better recognition among average fans. I'm impressed that Mick knows all the words with little teleprompter support. I guess Mick does read IORR because he did "Doom and Gloom" for some perverse reason. No one knew the song, which is too lyrically complex for the monolingual populace, and people around me in the pit headed to the side for more beer. What a huge waste.
During the intros, Mick introduced Ronnie (in Portuguese) as the new Olympics mascot, which might be an improvement on the odd thing they have chosen. Some people tried to start an "ole, Keith" chant but it didn't really take off, and he looked a bit awkward standing there, maybe waiting for some Argentine-style chorus to get going. His performances are quite something this tour, just full of confidence and zest. It's just a pity he keeps getting his clothes from a trash can on Coronation Street. Interestingly he adjusted the intro a tad on "Before They Make Me Run" to "I been working those bars ..."
And, as usual, everyone dug "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Satisfaction." Still, it's hard to escape the feeling that the Stones have peaked already, and the rest of the tour will see them stay in the comfortable, undemanding groove they inhabited tonight.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
The "Estádio do Maracanã" is the second largest stadium in South America after Estadio Monumental in Lima, Peru, where The Rolling Stones are heading later on during this tour. The final game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup had a crowd size of 199,854, making it the world's largest stadium by capacity. After its 2010–13 renovation, the rebuilt stadium currently seats 78,838 spectators. With The Rolling Stones stage setup, it is hard to say how many there were at the show. I did not see many empty seats, and the field made up for the parts that are taken up by the stage, so I would quess there were may be 70,000 at the show tonight.
It was a large crowd and a large stadium. The band used the wings and the walkways a lot, due to the size of the venue, so even if I was not center stage, I got to see Mick, Keith and Ronnie close up many times. Even Charlie with his "Brazil" inspired bright yellow shirt was easy to spot.
The show was scheduled to start late at 9:30pm. By then they had been working hard for half an hour with the Ronnie side left large video screen, as they tested it segment by segment, piece by piece, and by 9:25 the left screen finally was displaying "RIO DE JANEIRO" in bright tour colours. Then the crew moved on to the Keith side to fix the right side screen as seen from the crowd. It took anoter fifteen minutes. At 9:35 there was a guy on stage announcing - in Portugese - that there was a delay due to the screen issue. At 9:41 the screens were ok, and by 9:50 the show started.
May be it was the rain that made trouble for the screens. We had a heavy rain shower from approx 7pm to 8pm. It made the air fresh and a bit cooler, and it was good for the performance, as it is hard to perform when it is 32 degrees C or more.
The crowd in Rio was easy to go, easy to please. Comforbable, polite, great in reactions to anything thed band did. Mick loved to get instant reactions whenever he did some crowd contact.
"Out Of Control". The first highlight. Mick on harmonica, the sound is strong, he is out on the walkway to the B-stage, and the crowd love it. So do I.
"Like A Rolling Stone". Another crowd pleaser, and again Mick on harmonica. Also great to have Keith on backing vocals on this song.
"Doom & Gloom. I love it but the crowd went into "listen mode". That does not mean they did not like it, but as they probably do not know it that well, they were rather quiet. Please keep D&G in the set. There are many in the crowd who love the new songs too. We may not jump up and down and scream, but we love Doom & Gloom still!
"Midnight Rambler" Mick working the crowd, and they do exactly as he wants. Later on, Mick next to Keith, with his hand on Keith's shoulder. And again, Mick is on the harmonica, pleasing the crowd.
"Brown Sugar" May girls strip of their tops and swing it in the air, just like Mick.
It must be really great to be on stage with The Rolling Stones singing "You Can't Always Get What You Want". By the looks on the faces of the girls and the guys who sing then , it looks as if they are having their performance of the year, if not for their lifetime. It is a great part of the show to see all the big smiles on stage during this song.
The sound has been strong, sharp and powerful all through the show. For the last songs they turn up the sound a little bit more. I move a bit back and watch the spectacular show and the final bow from a distance. How lucky we are to have these guys still touring, still giving us live versions of their great songs!
They were due on at 9.30pm, but were even later as it turned out. The big screens were having all sorts of problems, I understand due to the very heavy rain interfering with the electrical connectors. The crew worked furiously, riggers high up on the stage, and they got a temporary solution in place to allow the band to come on only 25 minutes late. I’m sure the riggers were working all through the gig, so the right-hand side of the stage had an intermittent screen for a long time. For the second gig on this tour the crew really earned their keep (actually they always do that) – pity the screen makers didn’t do so well.
The Maracana is another massively famous stadium, home of Brazilian football and this year’s Olympics. They have re-built it, but retained the semi-roof which creates even more work for the sound engineers: making a lovely parabola to reflect sound back towards the stage… Where we were standing, half way along the catwalk and about 15 metres to the side, the sound was perfect – another excellent performance from the sound engineers. Chuck’s piano in particular stood out – the sound and his playing which was very strong and delicate at the same time.
We were back to 19 songs this evening. The audience selection of Like a Rolling Stone stood out – a fantastic tribute to Dylan and the Stones with the audience, even many young people, singing-along to many of the words. A real anthem. I know it wasn’t written about this band, but you’d never guess that. I didn’t see Mick using the autocue at all – a real memory tour-de-force.
They also added Angie and Doom and Gloom to mix up the set list - and for those hardened travellers who have seen several shows on this tour, that was great news. I’d suggested mixing-it up in my Montevideo review – I’m sure they didn’t need me to suggest it, nor did they read it! Of course for most people it didn’t matter the songs played: this was their show and they loved it.
The field was low on stress and high on enjoyment, at least where we were standing. Once people had done enough photographing we could see most of the action without pogoing up and down in time to the music. The Rio crowd more into carnival mode than South American football supporter mode.
There were some delightful smiles and glances within the band. They seemed to really enjoy the show, gaining energy and enthusiasm from the Rio crowd. The inevitable little miscues or ad-libs generated humour, and I bet few people even noticed them. Let It Loose is a great song title to describe the way the band is playing, Rolling Stones and supporting musicians alike. It is so much easier to do any work when you enjoy that work – last night the band certainly did that.
Again for me the two guitarists were excellent. Ronnie with more stunning riffs and soloing, occasionally with a bit of a screech. Keith prowling around the stage and down the catwalk, menacing eyes glaring, like a jaguar in the jungle, playing some very strong chords and riffs. The power from only 1 or 2 strings is immense. But it was their playing together that really impressed me. On “Silver”, it was a delicate acoustic duel; on “Control” the mix of wah-wah and clean guitar; on Angie they were joined by Chuck – two guitars and piano emulating the 43 year-old recording; surpassing most live outings of this number.
I spent some time watching Charlie. He sits there serene, head tilted slightly back as if looking down his nose at everyone – which he clearly isn’t in any derogatory sense. He nods at times, and then throws wicked glances, smiles, and facial gestures at some on-stage event – Mick dancing or Ronnie parading or Keith throwing a curved ball. It was warm, but Charlie looks and plays so cool: he plays like someone half his age.
There was plenty of Mick, as ever being the conductor and main actor: wide rolling eyes, head-tilted, waiting for the crowd to get the humour in something he said. Then dancing manically, or playing harp even better than Little Walter. Just incredible in all dimensions.
Of the strong support musicians, Darryl now gets to sing a little as well as a bass solo in Miss You – and he is smiling when singing. Tim complements that bass solo with a great jazzy sax solo; and Karl is firmly stamping his own authority on the classic Key-esque sax numbers, especially Brown Sugar. Sasha strides out down the catwalk, alone, to give a very powerful “Shelter” vocal – no need for encouragement, and after a few gigs no need for any nerves at all.
Chuck’s contribution I thought was excellent and more complex in structure than I recall in previous tours – maybe I just didn’t listen properly in the past. Matt is playing a lot of keyboards and I think some percussion, joining Bernard who gives Mick superb vocal air-cover as well as providing some high profile percussion himself.
Reading these notes, I did wonder whether I was being too positive, not critical enough. The acid test is firstly the audience reaction: they had a ball. That’s for the performance as an entertainment spectacle as well as for the music itself. They came on stage as THE Rolling Stones – full of swagger, and not just from Jagger; loud; hard; dirty work indeed. Not a TV-manufactured group.
For the hardened fans of course we see little issues, comparisons with song 14 during show number 32 on the Voodoo Lounge tour, or whatever. But we keep coming back and honestly, apart from buying some more robust screen connectors and starting on time, I wouldn’t change a whole lot of the Rio show.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
It only takes about 30 minutes to get to the Maracaná, which used to be the world’s biggest stadium up to the ‘90s or so, and which got renewed for last year’s football world cup here in Brazil. The surroundings of the stadium were already crowded by the local “cariocas”, also by Brazilians coming from the northern and eastern states. This is such a big country, you know. And a country I’ve always loved, so the chance to see the Stones again in Rio (the time I´d visited the city because of the Stones were the Voodoo Lounge shows in ’95) looked like a real treat.
Also quite crowded was the VIP area prior to the show, lots of Stones fans from all over the world (among the guests you could see Mick’s Brazilian son Lucas and his mother, the local model Luciana Giménez)
Come show time at 9:30 pm and there was something wrong with one of jumbo screens, so everybody waited for about half an hour till it got fixed. Then, from the first notes of Start Me Up onwards, it was all pure magic. I haven’t seen Mick so inspired in decades, literally, and so were Keith, Woody and Charlie. But Mick’s performance was really something, you could see it on his face throughout the whole show, which went on up to 12:30 am.
Last night’s request song was Like A Rolling Stone, which turned the audience (already a very hot one) on fire. Same for Doom and Gloom.. Oh what an awesome night! Mick spoke lots of Portuguese at the show, and during the band intros, he introduced Ronnie as “next Olympics’s official mascot” (since they would take place here in the country later on this year)
To sum it up, I believe last night’s show in Rio was the best of the tour so far, only to be defied by Buenos Aires’ second night probably, although Rio got much better sound conditions above all. There may be more great landmark shows like this in the future (why not?), but no better than Rio’s one, no way that could ever happen. Even Keith, who smiled non-stop ad got a big ovation before doing my all-time favourite live version of Before They Make Me Run, tried his Portuguese when he said “Obrigado, dez anos! (“ Thank you, 10 years!”), referring to what was the Stones’ last show here, the free concert at Copacabana show in 2006.
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
So we came with two other friends , plenties of water falling down while a Rio taxi driver brought us to Maracana passing aqua planing with 80 km /h or so...waterfalls just stopped when we were arriving, it was a technical masterpiece that they managed it somehow, so for the first 30 minutes there were some problems described by Dean Goodman, but the technicians managed it, my respect!
We enjoyed the concert very much, being so called "average" crowd by Mr. Goodman, though staying front of stage, and all the fans around us, too...sorry the Cariocas...as well as many Argentinian fans around us, are not really worth to go to the holy temple and not able to estimate the very Specials and choose the wrong voting..
We had the chance to have a glimpse just 2 meters distance to Mick, we loved it! Of course, everybody talks about his condition at nearly 73, think there are not many people , me too, who like to do the frustrating exercises to keep in shape ...but it is really the feeling "it could be the last time" and fine to have taken the chance!
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
The first concert I've ever been to must have been in the rain, I get the chills whenever day meets the night and there's some rain, it's a special moment when I believe things are much closer to their true nature.
On February 20th together with my new South American friends I headed towards the world's most famous stadium: Maracana where some of the world's greatest athletes and artists put on spectacular performances throughout the years.
A beautiful summer day, hotter then usual but then again Rio is by definition a very hot city.
Inside the stadium at the merchandise stand I met this guy who saw me and went "Hey, I've seen your videos" :) and naturally I asked him if he wanted to be in this one. Obviously he said yes and interestingly enough this was his birthday so he was hyper excited to be there.
Inside the stadium they were serving beer in designer cups made especially for the show, a nice souvenir from such a momentous occasion. Within minutes the skies turned black and heavy rain was headed towards the stadium. It's been like that all week in Rio: hot during the day and pouring rain in the evening.
Most of the people hid under the covers of the protective Maracana but some of them who wanted to guard their spots remained in place. Next to them some of the brave guys started dancing in the rain and playing imaginary football. The rain was lifting something from the general mood, it was clearing the atmosphere and exciting the spirits, eliminating inhibitions, not that Rio has many. By the time the show was about to start everyone you could feel the energy in the air, lots of smiles and people in groups were screaming with excitement.
What can you expect from a show in Rio de Janeiro? An audience full of colors, a lot of dancing and a lot of soul.
I watched the beginning close to the B-Stage and for the first time in the tour got a full view from the front. During the show I moved from one place to another and I could notice a different feeling from each side, close to the B-stage girls screaming whenever Mick danced around. On the left side everyone waving and dancing with Keith or whoever arrived on that part. From the tribune it was an ocean of hands waving in the air.
They played 'Like a Rolling Stone' as the voted song and everyone was jumping and singing. A mixture of Buenos Aires and Montevideo with energized people who were enjoying the show together.
Keith did a different set this time and the crowd seems to adore him here in South America and the feeling is obviously mutual.
This was the concert I was closest to the stage from all three, I love being here!
After the show I searched for my German friends and we left the stadium together heading for Copacabana where we celebrated the night over a caipirinha and talks about Cuba. Gerhard gave me one of the setlists he got from the stage so now my random Stones collection is growing.
While I was on my way to Copacabana, back home in Romania, my favourite band from home were celebrating their 20th anniversary. My friends sent me little recordings from the show and in a way I feel I was there with them. That day was a big day for me and my music passions. i feel each little bit of experience has led to another experience with many wonderful people met along the way and I think we've influenced each other into becoming better versions of ourselves.
Thank you Rio, thank you Rolling Stones, thank you drear friends, thank you mom and dad and thanks everyone! #StonesRio
What a dream I am living!
VIDEO: The Rolling Stones live in Rio by Andrea
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
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