It's Only Rock'n Roll
The Rolling Stones live at FedExField, Landover MD USA, Wednesday July 3, 2019 - Photo by Hendrik Mulder
Show start : 8:47pm Show end : 10:52pm
Pre-show info and live comments:
Washington DC show 3-July-2019 live updates
IMPORTANT! Reports and pictures are welcome, but please send them as soon as possible after the show. Updates of these reports pages will mainly be done within 2-4 days after the show has been performed. After that it is on to the next show of the tour, and there will normally not be time for any more updates of older reports pages.
Yes, the band may not be as crisp as they were 15 or 20 years ago, but they are darn close. The tempo of some of their hits may not be as fast as in their younger days, but the pace of last night's show was frantic at times, and absolutely spot on.
As reported, last night had a very similar setlist to one's already played until the 5th number. Then the Stones actually showed some Mercy, well sort of. Dusting off this cover gym from 55 years ago and one they had not played since almost 50 years to the day, the DC audience got a real treat to hear a great version of Mercy, Mercy, including Mick's excellent falsetto at the end of the final verse. Wow! It was a real highlight even if most in the audience were not familiar with the song and more likely a song that was recorded before many in the audience were even conceived, including yours truly.
Rocks Off, thankfully, won the song vote and was played well, especially since they have played this song in recent years, as noted by Mick before Keith's opening riff. After YCAGWYW, the b stage provided another first in a long while, Let It Bleed, after a touching version of Angie. The frantic pace of the opening six numbers did slow with this mini acoustic set, but Mick and the gang have decided to jack it up about five notches walking back to the main stage with a blistering version of Sympathy. I have read many who say this song should be retired. I agree some warhorses should be in a rotation, like IORR, and maybe Miss You, Sympathy still kicks ass as it did last night. Not as much of an over the top theatrical performance here on this tour, but Mick still delivers and Keith's solo, maybe not what it was in '75 or '89, but still really good, make this song a highlight almost every night.
Keith's mini set included two reflective and poignant songs from his catalog, and life, with Slipping Away and a rocking Before They Make Me Run. An eight year old girl attending her first show and dancing most of the night commented to me that this was her favorite song of the night. Right on sister!
The war horse section, as always, was well played and well received. Paint it Black seemed to be at just a bit faster tempo than what I have heard recently and was much appreciated. This song can be a crawl if not played at a decent tempo and Charlie and the rest did not disappoint here. Rambler is always THE highlight of the show, except maybe when the band plays a song for the first time in public in 50 years. Still, great job here as was Start Me Up with the slow opening riff Keith played that was reminiscent of when the Stones first played at this pit of a stadium on the Bridges to Babylon tour.
Brown Sugar thankfully was not drawn out and closed the main set on a high. Gimme Shelter, to me, is not a great encore, although it is a nice change of pace. Sasha does a good job with the solo, but on her best day, cannot match Lisa Fisher's solo from the 90's and Licks Tour. Satisfaction rocked out to conclude a well paced 125 minute show.
As for the other details, well, I would not have to ever attend another event at this stadium in the middle of nowhere situated right next to one of the most congested and dangerous traffic areas in the country. The capital beltway absolutely sucks for traffic and when you mix in lovely I-95 which runs the entire east coast of the US, this road absolutely blows. Getting in and out of this stadium does not take minutes, it takes hours. Avoid it at most costs, unless the Stones are playing there. Very expensive area too. $15 for a domestic beer. Please! Anyway, that was the only bummer of a great summer night with friendly excited Stones fans.
The band is still on fire and brings the heat and joy every time out! Next stop for me (because of the rescheduled dates), the Meadowlands.
As always Keith’s opening riffs still give me goosebumps. Keith played extremely well and focused but still had a few glitches on certain songs but it was oppressively hot and you could see this in his facial expressions.
Mick no doubt has slowed up a bit since Europe last year but still exudes confidence and showmanship.
I was totally blown away with Mercy Mercy and the intimate acoustical set of only 4 core members of the band. It just sounded fantastic!!!
As I head home this morning I am reflecting on how much joy the stones have brought me and millions of fans worldwide but also how fragile health - not be taken for granted. Long live the Rolling Stones!
Fireworks were set off indiscriminately in the stands and on the field by dopers who could not think past the oh wow sounds and colors of their M80s, Roman candles and bottle rockets. Getting stoned, dodging rockets, and the Rolling Stones. That is a fine way to spend the 4th. This year was different. Entry was by phone app and a full cavity strip search of each concert goer. Cholesterol and BP meds were the drugs of choice. I wondered how many of these folks I had gathered with only 17,165 days ago.
I have always suspected that NASA and the NSA scout Stones tours to find out what new technology is on the horizon. Tonight is no exception, the Stones concert technology was unimagineable to even the most ardent hallucinator in 72. There were four 100-meter high LED screens and a one-million-watt sound system with a catwalk and a B stage. Unlike the festival seating of so long ago, the seating pattern could be delineated by dollar signs. First, at $$$$$ were the folks standing beneath the stage. At $$$$ were those with floor seats all the way through the upper deck $ seats.
The Stones were a little more than halfway through a frenetic June/July tour that would include 51 shows last time they were here this time of year. This is the fourth show of 17 in a little more than two months. Time waits for no one and he won’t wait for me.
We are not the beautiful people anymore though a few are still trying. The crowd is not as old as it used to be but it is a lot more 60s and 70s than it once was. Then there are the 30 and 40-year-olds that grew up listening to the Stones in those 60s and 70s household and some of their kids are now showing up. Oh yeah, we are white, very white. The stage is set up to use about 2/3 of the stadium creating an oddly effective faux intimacy for an event this big. Dorothy Ellis and Stevie Wonder opened last time, this time it was the Ghost Hounds with a front man, three guitars and a drummer. That formula can’t last. The Ghost Hounds come out and begin to play. Several songs have a very strong Stones vibe. Tre Nation, the vocalist is a young big strong looking guy who gradually wilts in the heat. He ain’t no Mick.
The Stones body of work has been the soundtrack for many of our lives. Hopes can be disappointed but nostalgia is irrefutable. As the stage is readied the giant screens spring to life. Four monstrous Stones’ logos dripping as if freshly painted in red against a vivid yellow background.
A small caravan of golfcart-like vehicles scoots from the bowels of the stadium to the back of the stage. Unseen by most, the band has arrived. We stand in anticipation. A loud disembodied voice announces the Rolling Stones. Here’s the magic. When the opening notes of JJF ring out it is 1972 again and every person you have ever been since 1964 is in that stadium with you. Music has the power to transport you across time and space and the Stones wield that power as well as anyone. They can take you back, they can make you present, they can propel you forward. They can take you places that you’ve never, never seen. Like 1972.
One thing we did not have in ’72 was the attack of the 100-foot Stones. It was unbelieveable. The picture quality on these huge screens was mind blowing and there are the Stones almost 100 meters tall. Keith in mint green shoes and a gold and black jacket. Woody in a panopoly of Mardi Gras colors-orange and purple-wearing glittery shoes. Mick in a satiny black jacket atop a bright red shirt over a black t.
I cannot be objective, JJF is my all-time favorite song, better even than happy birthday to me. I love it and am already fulfilled as I know we will get the second Chicago song set. If I had to pick a number two song it may well be IORR which tumbles out next, played by gigantic smiling Rolling Stones. Nirvana.
Tumbling Dice follows, a three-guitar honor guard formed in front of Charlie for the first of many times tonite. Charlie’s drums owned this song. Such a beautiful beat platform that Keith and Woody return to time and again to make their guitar high dives from. Throughout the night the hits belong to Keith. But Woody’s talent bursts to the fore with his slide guitar work on You Got Me Rocking. A virtuoso performance.
Then came my personal highpoint for the night. Mercy Mercy had already been retired for three years back in 1972. It was last played live in 1969 in Hyde Park, the Stones’ farewell to Brian Jones. I had read an article where Keith said they were working on doing this cover of this Covay/Miller song. I held out no hope it would be ready for tonite. This was first recorded by the Stones in 1964, these were my Stones. This was my life. Some of you reading this will get this completely.
Rocks Off was the first time tonite that Bobby Keys was missed. It would not be the last. Not that the brass is not more than competent but if there was ever going to be another Stone, Bobby would have been it.
The French horn signals the start of a chorusless You Can’t Always Get What You Want as the giant screens show ethereal smoky images. Mickey uses the runway all night long but he is walking and hand waving rather than dancing and running. Every guy over 40 is wondering how he does it, especially in the heat that is FedEx stadium on this 4th of July eve.
The acoustic set on the B stage is a fantasy vignette. The four Stones in a small space, Charlie making the biggest sounds from the smallest drum set a rock god has ever played. Woody’s solo on Angie kills, as Keith stopped and just watched, then Woody’s steel guitar engagement on Let It Bleed was phenomenal. The best seats in the house surround this stage.
As the first notes of Sympathy for the Devil drifted across the stadium the stage turned red and Mick appeared as an aging hipster devil, his cape and devil regalia traded in for a modest hat and jacket. In an unexpected surprise he began the vocals in a very different tone of voice, it was an ancient growl, matured by millennia, not at all a familiar sound. Mick held this unique, guttural sound right up to the first “Pleased to meet you…” when the volume went max, the lights flashed and Mick fell back into his familiar voice, as strong as ever. Each subsequent refrain of those words was punctuated by a surge of guitar volume and a blinding flash of light. Stones showmanship at its very best.
The opening strains of Honky Tonk Women featured Keith and all the people he has ever been on center stage. Woody actually sat down and watched Keith carry the song for a good minute before he began to weave his was back into the rhythm. Keith and Woody took up their positions as guitar gargoyles directly in front of Charlie’s Gretsch set where they remained as Mick tested his heart stent in the feels like 96 steam of the stadium. This was the only song Mick got real vocal help on, his voice was strong all night long.
The introductions were missing Bobby Keys, an honorary Stone. Darryl, despite playing bass longer than Bill Wyman, joins Chuck Leavell and Bernard Fowler at the core of the current honorary Stones, although the brass troupe is a familiar bunch.
Keith got some vocal support on Slipping Away and transitioned easily into Before They Make Me Run. Heresy to long time Stones fans, a goodly number of the younger fans treated his set like an intermission to step out to grab a drink or take a leak.
With Miss You the band was back together and poised for a run to the finish line. The technology really kicked in for this last portion of the show and amazing graphic images bled across the four screens. Mick sang this number as well as he ever has and it was a showcase for Darryl who made his best case for being a Stone with his deft fretwork on a bass solo that shook the stadium. It was fun to see him and Mick do some face-to-face mugging. Alas, Darryl does not speak British and he will never be a full fledged Stone.
With the opening guitar notes for Paint It Black the crowd responds enthusiastically to this favorite, but it is Charlie’s driving drum beat that commands this number. The screens show shadowy fingers and then begins to dominate the show even more with special effects that come at you too quickly to enumerate.
Midnight Rambler was the show stopper in 1972. Mick crawled around on the stage and lashed the floor with his belt. Tonight’s version was a worthy echo of that frenetic six-act blues opera. Although physically more restrained, the script for this play works at a visceral level like no other Stones song and the Stones extended it a bit. “He don't give you a hoot of warning… Listen and you'll hear him moan… Well, honey, it's no rock 'n' roll show… just the shoot 'em dead, brainbell jangler… Put a fist, put a fist through your steel-plated door… I'll go easy with your cold fanged anger.” Where do you go after that?
Start Me Up always struck me as an odd choice for beginning a concert wrap-up. I want it at the beginning, like the NFL does. I hope the Stones always do Brown Sugar despite the calls that the song be retired due to its violent sexist message. Please don’t bow to the times, guys, do us all that one solid and solid this number was from start to finish.
And then the Stones said goodnight and left the stage. That is when 2019 hit me the hardest. By now the stadium was steamy, hell it was hot. And the crowd was older than most rock and roll show crowds by a good amount, but they were not older than the band. In ’72 the cry for an encore (unanswered) was deafening. This crowd was older, more tired, and they knew Gimmer Shelter and Satisfaction would be the encore. There were several long low energy moments when the crowd waited rather quietly for the band to return. In truth, the crowd, like the band was a bit less energetic than in shows past. More people sat. Fewer clapped with hands above head and uncharacteristically they did get satisfaction. The Stones do not fail. They are incapable of failure.
Gimme Shelter is the perfect penultimate song, it tees up all the emotion the Stones bring to the world of music. The lyrics are simple and repetitive. The music is visceral. It is the sound track for the mayhem the world never tires of. This song alone makes the Stones immortal.
The show ends with rock and roll’s National Anthem. Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remove your hats. I read that they played Satisfaction for the 3,198 time in Toronto, if true this was 3, 199. Girlie action or girl reaction (it’s the former), who cares it is another goodbye to another good friend. This may be the last time I see 1972 this close up. It was a good year. This was a damn fine concert.
Just background on venue Mick said it was the 3rd show in this building. The Rolling Stones were 1st concert in this building 10/23/1997. 2nd show 10/4/2002. Transport was challenging $60 cash parking night of show. The subway was half mile walk away and did not have late hours so many looking for transport after show.
For me who has seen the Stones well over one hundred times, another stadium show in the extreme heat with the big old hits was a lot better than a good day at work!
The Stones put on a great show. The highlights for me were, "Angie," and "Let It Bleed" at the 'Fifty Yard Line' (as Mick called it) but what made my night was "Mercy Mercy!"
Mick announced, "This song was written and recorded by a native son of Washington DC, Don Covey." Right away I got excited! "We last played this song in 1969 at the Hyde Park concert," Mick told us, "It was a long time ago, so we'll try to remember it." Then they Stones launched "Mercy Mercy," they played it well! Man, I'm so glad I went to that show!
I was jumping up and down, cheering after "Mercy Mercy!" The crow around me in the Pit cheered too but not like me. I was a spectacle with people looking at me. I LOVED "MERCY MERCY!" OH YEAH!
After recently watching many Rolling Stones home video lately, the set list seemed stale. They probably have some newer arrangements to the old chestnuts but I don't usually notice the differences until after the tour.
I left the crowded Pit after the little stage and went to different places in the Stadium to get some air and a seat. I was looking at the crowd who seemed like a group gather for an AARP convention but with the vigor and enthusiasm of teenagers.
The stadium packed audience were loving the big hits. That's what they why they were there enjoying every second of it. People were bouncing around and singing along. Brown Sugar was a huge crowd please'r with every person in the place with everyone raising their fist with the, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, woooo!"
"Start Me Up" was particularly good. Rocks Off" was a treat for a Exile lover such as me.
I'm sorry that the Stones feel they need to only play big hits in stadiums, which they do need to since that's what the stadium-goers came to hear, however, I greatly appreciated "Mercy Mercy!" I hope they play it often.
Lucky break #1: got prepaid parking through TM the day before. When the young parking attendant—1st day on the job—couldn’t tell us which parking lot section was ours, we were waved through to the section next to the stadium and next to our gate. Parking lot staff didn’t care where we parked, only that we paid.
Lucky break #2: I was wondering why they were checking tickets so thoroughly going up to the Club Level (I mean, aren’t we always trying to stub down and get closer to the stage?) At the top of the escalator, I knew—we were inside with an air conditioned concourse. Saints be praised!
Spent the Ghost Hounds set doing laps around stadium, occasionally poking our heads out to see how far the sun had retreated. From what we heard, we missed nothing. Their rhythm guitarist is one Thomas Tull, the LA-based billionaire best known as a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and movie producer. Not exactly what we would consider “young and hungry.” They did cover CLIFF Richard’s “Devil Woman,” so that was...daring.
The Stones came on, and I’ll admit it, I was watching Mick intensely due to “recent events.” No worries, his delivery for “Jumping Jack Flash” was very deliberate, but very focused and very intent. He would loosen up and become more energized as the night wore on. Nice trick but the man is a professional’s professional. I shouldn’t be so surprised.
Speaking of focused, so was everyone was on the stage Wednesday night. It was as if they actually felt they need to prove themselves in front of an audience. At a point where a band could be stiff on their legend and coast—and I’ve seen more than a few that do—this band will not allow it. The shows I’ve seen since 2013 have confirmed this. But Wednesday night it really took it to a whole new level.
The set benefited from some re-sequencing from the last time we saw them in Vegas. I avoid recent set lists so just by moving “Sympathy for Devil” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to the middle of the show can freshen up the night. Yes, “Mercy Mercy” was the song highlight—they’ve always had the best taste in covers, don’t they?—and they nailed a song they haven’t played onstage in 50 years. Thank you, internet voters, for choosing “Rocks Off.” The acoustic slot was a great change as well, good they used “Angie” (always a better song live) and “Let It Bleed” (nice guitar work, Ronnie; he looked like he was having fun with it). Years ago, I would have never thought Keith could pull off such a delicate and nuanced vocal for “Slipping Away”—in a stadium no less. And “Midnight Rambler” was a not-so-subtle reminder that “yes, you know, we started out as a blues band, right?” All night, the sound was spectacular—bring good earplugs, kids. And, their visual operations deserve a shout out. This was our first show with the four video monoliths and they were dazzling. It gives the stage an ultra clean look and really adds in the most effective and efficient way (I’m thinking specifically of “Honky Tonk Women,” “Miss You,” and “Paint It, Black”).
After the last firework, due to our parking luck, we were back at our hotel and in the shower 10 miles away in 45 minutes. This, and a good, un-obnoxious audience made for the most hassle free stadium show I’ve ever attended.
Good shows replay in your head for days afterwards. Shows like this will replay for months. Thank you, Stones.”
Photos by Hendrik Mulder
Photos by Hendrik Mulder
Photos by Hendrik Mulder
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by Bjornulf Vik
Photos by ExileStones
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