It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Rolling Stones live in Spielberg, Austria, Saturday Sept. 16, 2017 - Photo by Hauke Jürgensen
Show start : 8:44pm Show end : 10:53pm
Pre-show info and live comments:
Spielberg Austria 16-Sep-2017 Stones No Filter live show updates
Keith smiled a lot, basked in the power chords of "Street Fighting Man" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash," wandered around the stage with notable ease, and even ran a few steps down the catwalk. Then there was the time he threw a mini-tantrum. It was during the start of "Brown Sugar," which was a dog's breakfast. Something was off in the interplay between the guitars and drums. Mick stood at Chuck's keyboard as the two wandered what the hell to do. I thought they might have to restart the song. Finally Chuck counted Mick in, and he swallowed the first line in order to catch up with the musicians. Keith looked over at Mick, furiously muttering and glaring. Then he walked towards the darkened booths beside Matt Clifford and yelled at the unseen personnel within. Or maybe he was just yelling at the heavens. Maybe the sofa critics can analyze the videos to see what really went down. After the song ended and Mick was about to say something to the crowd, Keith cut him off with the opening riff of "Satisfaction." I am happy to report that Mick and Keith were all hugs and smiles by the end of the evening.
Keith began his set with a joke - "I never thought we'd all meet in Spielberg" - and added "Argentina out there" after some "Olé!" chanting broke out. His rendition of "Slipping Away" was the vocal highlight of the evening, possibly even the tour. It was a version I wished could have lasted longer. He was digging deep within his soul to come up with a gut-wrenching performance. There was an elegant subtlety about the whole thing, something generally missing from Mick's singing. YouTube videos may tell a story, but you had to be there. It was heavy stuff. My only serious complaint about Keith is that he and Ronnie ransacked Johnny Depp's Mascara box again, and looked silly. Beyond that, I am digging Keith's T-shirt choices. Tonight, it was a "Straight Outta Dartford" shirt; in Munich, it was something about Mavis Staples.
Overall, it was an oddly enjoyable show in the middle of nowhere. Conditions could have been much, much worse. The rain held off and all we had to contend with was ankle-deep mud. I must confess I was anxious about this gig. The Rolling Stones have a bad habit of doing drive-by gigs in rural venues, leaving the fans to grapple with poor transportation infrastructure. Werchter springs to mind, as does Budva. In my case, I was staying just 12 minutes' drive from the Red Bull Ring, but had to take 2 local buses to a stop about 40 minutes' walk from the venue. Afterwards, I walked 90 minutes back to my BnB since the buses stopped early. The promoter did organize shuttle buses, but the queues were horrendous.
Conditions in the Diamond Circle were comfortable, and the crowd seemed a little younger than in Germany. It appeared that a lot of folks had come in from the Balkans. My superiors in the Pit looked crammed, and there didn't seem to be a lot of energy. The venue featured a couple of stands way, way back. A seat there would have been a complete waste of time.
The show was short, just 2 hours and eight minutes. "Dancing with Mr. D" and "Out of Control" got benched after two rounds, and "Under My Thumb" returned to the lineup. "She's a Rainbow" was the fan choice. As he did in Munich, Mick apologized for not knowing any tunes by Helene Fischer, a popular German singer. A lot of slow songs in the set list tonight, and no rarity to replace "Mr. D." Charlie's drumming was notably lethargic on "Miss You" as was Chuck's piano solo on "Honky Tonk Women." Maybe it was cold onstage: Ronnie looked very unsettled during "Tumbling Dice" and blew into his cupped hands a couple of times. Along with the rest of the crowd, I am really enjoying "Die Blauen," as Mick termed the two tracks from "Blue and Lonesome." They are short, fun and lively. We need more songs with these qualities.
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
While the logistics to get into the Zeltweg venue was ok in 1995, they were totally different this time around. I stayed in Graz, like in 1995. The city of Graz is such a beautiful city, and I will write about it in my blog StonesLife.org as soon as I get time. Getting from Graz into the "Red Bull Ring" in Spielberg was a nightmare logistics wise. All train and bus tickets were sold out. I got a last minute hired car booked. On show day all rental cars were booked, such a mess for those who did not plan ahead of time. There were warnings about heavy traffic so I decided to drive to Knittelfeld Bahnhof (train station), and then take the shuttle to the Red Bull Ring. It is a distance of 8 km (5 miles), so a shuttle should be fine. I prepaid Euro 9.90 for the shuttle ticket. Driving from Graz to Knittelfeld took two hours - without traffic it takes 50 minutes. I left at 3pm, felt I was late, very late, and I arrived Knittelfeld at 4pm. Then I was at the station waiting for the shuttles. They did never arrive. Hundreds of fans waited with no satisfaction. After 40 minutes of waiting the police said there were problems, so I started to walk. We all started to walk, we were hundreds. Now I understood why so many were seen walking as I parked my car... It was a fast walk of 1.5 hours. I did the same walk back after the show, luckily bringing a headlight, as large parts of the walk was in the complete darkness. Experience from past "far away" venues... The organizers mixed walking fans, private cars, taxis and whoever wanting to drive on these narrow way to and from the venue. It was a logistics nightmare. The people involved should be fired from their jobs, as they should never ever be allowed to do any such work again. I am told it was the same shuttle mess at the other shuttle bus stop in Judenburg station, which is 12 km (7.5 miles) away from the venue. The fans had to walk, while the organized took the money without supplying the service. I walked a total of seven hours during the show day. I don't mind walking, but I do mind being cheated...
I managed to walk through the muddy field from the very back to the "No Filter Pit" in ten minutes, shortly after 7pm. The front pit was heavily oversold. The same was the case for the entire venue. The press says there were 95,000 fans at the show. Ha ha... I have been to the Hockenheim Ring, and I have been to many, many other fields and shows of all sizes. This venue was heavily oversold. There were people everywhere, and the crowd was much, larger than the confirmed 82,000 capacity crowd at the Stadtpark Hamburg Stones show one week ago. I would guess more than 100,000.
Oh well, so much for the logistics and the mud... On with the show... They were on at 8:44pm, fourteen minutes past normal startup time. I could see Charlie waiting behind his drumkit by 8:42pm, it was great to know, and my heart started pumping faster. The sound was great, the stage was great, and the band was in super form. After "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" Mick shouted "Hello Õsterreich! He then asked if there were anyone from Vienna, Graz, and some obscure small nearby city, and some neighbour countries. The response from the crowd was great, and the great mood kept on through the show.
"She's A Rainbow" was long and beautiful. I enjoyed every bit of it. Keith walked over to Chuck for a while. Mick had his acoustic guitar so he was "parked" at the center stage for a change. At the end of the song Mick wanted to hold on to the acoustic guirat, because he planned to use it also on the next song, but his guitar technician asked him to hand it over, with a big smile. Another acoustic guitar was there for "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
"Paint It Black" was Keith Richards up front starting up the song. Beautiful and perfect for me. Then Mick took over, with the rest of the band.
There was a set list attached to one of the cameras in the front. I did not bother to take a closer look at it before the show, but I thought it was funny to see how it was "blowing in the wind", so I took a picture of it. Later on I got "my own" set list from the crew, a great souvenir from a great show. Set list wise they had made a few changes in the show tonight. "Dancing With Mr D" was replaced by "Under My Thumb". "She's A Rainbow" was the special "vote song" of tonight. "Miss You" took the spot that normally "Honky Tonk Women" is having as the last song before the band presentations. The show was may be ten minutes shorter and one to two songs shorter as compared to the shows in Hamburg and Munich, but then there is quantity and quality. The show tonight in Spielberg was by far the best show so far on this tour in my opinion.
Keith was great tonight. I started to react to his great moments already early on in the show. It was "Paint It Black". Then it was his own set, especially "Slipping Away", which he announced as "A slow one. You know Me". When "Slipping Away" works so great, I always wish it could last forever... "Midnight Rambler", so great tonight, the entire band was tight. Then "Honky Tonk Women", at a new position in the set on this tour, Keith up front starting it up signature wise.
"Start Me Up". Either Keith likes to annoy Mick by starting it with a false sound, as I could see Mick doing a sttange look at Keith, or it is simply his trademark way of doing the start of it. He smiles with a grin and then makes it exactly how it is supposed to sound these days.
Keith got angry during "Brown Sugar". Well he may have a temper, nothing wrong with that. Good thing Keith is good at making up for his short temper. At the end of "Jumping Jack Flash" I see Mick and Keith together arm in arm on the stage front, smiling, having their own shared moment of satisfaction. You don't see these moments if you listen to youtube clips from the shows, but I have them kept in my memory for life, and luckily Hauke Jürgensen made a photo of this great moment, so that it can be shared with everyone on these pages, as you see in these reports pictures.
I had been in my own "Stones World" for two hours ten minutes. As the final bow was over, I was back to my mud reality in Spielberg. I met some friends, picked up the set list, used one of the socalled emergency exits, which they probably did not plan to use, and started walking around 11:30pm. By 1am I was in my car, and by 2:25am I was in my hotel room. The mud was up to my knees, so I washed the pants and my shoes, having got no extras on this short travel. Tomorrow I will be home, then Tuesday evening I am heading for show number four in Zurich Switzerland. I have said it before and I have said it again. There may be pain involved in seing the Stones these days. We are getting older, they are getting older. But it is all worth it. They are so great, and there were more than 100,000 fans walking next to me with smiles on their faces as we had the long walks back to our reality ouside Stonsland.
A fanal note: I would like to thank the entire band and the entire crew. They are all part of the success of this tour. The Rolling Stones work with the best people. Thanks to everyone for another great show, and see you again soon.
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
The show began with Sympathy, IORR, and Dice – played these days with less tempo, and a much more bluesy and simplified touch. Next came two songs from their latest album, Blue and Lonesome, Just Your Fool and Ride 'Em On Down – a tour back to their origins and beyond. These songs are reference, education (for the younger audience), as well as great fun. If Mick Jagger wasn't already known for his harp excellence, these numbers put him right besides the great blues harp players of the past.
It seems that setlist changes are somewhat more frequent these days, at least for the first part of their show. We got a blues-rock version of Under My Thumb – it’s really great to hear that one even at the cost of Out of Control (included in the previous set lists of this tour, and dropped last night).
One of the many highlights of this evening was certainly the vote song, She’s a Rainbow. While I voted for Heartbreaker, Rainbow was such a treat, presented with all the energy, feeling, and musical craftsmanship that this band has to offer. And this is no less than a colorful, great, flawless and still up-to-date version of this wonderful song.
You Can’t Always Get, Paint It Black, Miss You were next, the energy, atmosphere and mood of fans rising even more - and Mick Jagger applauding the audience for their singing along ("Ihr seid verdammt gut Sänger" - "You are damn good singers"). After the band intros, Keith’s Happy and Slipping Away – the latter again a highlight of the evening.
Rambler and Honky Tonk Woman were next, and, yes, you could argue which songs in the second half were close – or even over the edge – to falling apart. Still, I am glad they keep Street Fighting Man in the main setlist (played excellently this evening, imo). At times in the second half, some falling apart of songs was also due to some technical problems with in-ear monitors (both of Mick and Keith). Start Me Up was muddled through, and the intro of Brown Sugar, for instance, was a complete mess with Keith being completely out of rhythm – it seemed he couldn’t hear a thing.
The last songs of the set list (Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter, Jumping Jack Flash) rounded up just a great evening. I am glad I went, and that I have tickets for few more shows!
Regarding support bands: I was glad to hear John Lee Hooker Jr. since I planned to see him whenever he would give a concert in Europe. Great covers and his own songs, it was a little bit like a Sunday church service – sun was shining when he sang Hallelujah. While I am not entirely a fan of this band, Kaleo put up a great show. It’s always amazing to see musicians’ talents, and Kaleo made a point not as a pastime act until the beginning of the Stones show but pulled off their own act.
Organization of the event: Spielberg is literally in the middle of nowhere. The next train station is 8km from the venue where the Formula One racing track is also situated. So, 90,000 fans needed transport: Busses fully booked, trains not running after the show, shuttle services jammed, that leaves car (pools) the major option. While it was pretty easy to get there, it took us 1.5 hours to leave the parking lot – by then ignoring all the security people's directions, and just driving over the fields to the paved road. “Gummistiefel” (rubber boots) might be the non-music word of the evening with Mick Jagger teasing the crowd in reference to the deep mud everybody was standing in after heavy rain showers in the early afternoon.
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
90,000 fans gathered in order to enjoy another show from the No Filter tour. It started with a great opener, probably the best one if you think of the first line of it. ‘Sympathy’ was spiked with a lots of pyro which made the set more spectacular.
As for the stage set, it comprised four huge video screen columns serving the core of the set. The giant towers’ animations were excellent and well-placed in songs, 21st century technology. Not many, but enough spotlights were mantled onto the stage, making the stage simple but robust.
Then came ‘It’s Only Rock’n’Roll’ and ‘Tumbling Dice’ the latter one was a bit of unsettled and the lines sung by Mick were not ok. Then he thanked for the service of the two pre-bands, playing blues songs, connecting it to the two next blues songs ‘Just Your Fool’ and ‘Ride ‘Em Down’. We had a strong version of ‘Under My Thumb’ then came the surprise, ‘She’s A Rainbow’ by request. This one was played last time almost 20 years ago. Then some warhorses including a very nice animation-backed ‘Miss You’ and Keith’s ‘Happy’ then came ‘Slipping Away’ in which Keith’s voice was top notch. ‘Midnight Rambler went down-well, we had another long and strong version it. Lifting ‘Street Fighting Man’ into the set still seems to be a great choice, as this number was played in an excellent way. One of my personal favourites is ‘Gimmie Shelter’ whose powerful rendition by Sasha Allen was again extraordinary.
So, the Rolling Stones again made many of us happy in the middle of nowhere proving the fact that they are still on the top despite the fact that all of them are over 70.
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
Photos by Bjørnulf Vik
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