The date is Sunday March 29, and it is time for the first of five shows in Argentina in 1998. It was a warm day in Buenos Aires, even if it's past summertime and autumn is coming down here. The Stones had done some early rehearsals, as the gates would open early too. The Stones are all over the city, with posters, fans outside the Hyatt hotel, Stones on the radio, and fans wearing Stones T-shirts all over the streets. Having seen the video from the Buenos Aires broadcast in 1995, I was amazed by the great excitement of the fans in Argentina. I wondered if they would still keep this excitement, now that the Stones wasn't like a first time ever happening.
The warm-up band could tell you the fans were as crazy as in 1995. I felt a bit sorry for Meredith Brooks, because she must really have felt the fans were eager to get the Stones on stage. They simply could not wait any longer...
The crowd was singing their famous "Olé Olé Olé" football songs, and the noise level was intense. Then the lights went out by five past ten, and Keith was on, big explosion, Satisfaction. The crowd was at the boiling point. Already the security had a tough time picking up people from the crowd fainting, and they would continue hard all through the show.
I have never seen an entire crowd on the field (pitch) dance, jump and wave their T-shirts like the Argentina fans. It was simply amazing. At times the Stones had problems running through the songs in a regular way. They had long breaks in-between the songs, especially during the first part of the set.
Sister Morphine ended up in a huge sheering with "Olé Olé Olé"... Then they jumped into It's Only Rock'n Roll, being one of the highlights of the night. The crowd loved it, going ecstatic, and as it ended, it was more and more and more Ole... What a crowd!
Saint Of Me, another very popular song, much singing along, just like in the United States. On the short break before the final roundup of the song, Mick did his usual break. Then the crowd took over, in what I would call a huge jam singalong. It lasted for a while, and then Mick simply had to close down the song.
Out Of Control was performed with Mick wearing a yellow sweater, no silver jacket this time. It had a great momentum, and I must say this song is one of the best during the entire set, even if the Buenos Aires crowd seemed to be more into the older songs.
Miss You, and Mick finally found use of his silver jacket. Then Thief In The Night and Wanna Hold You. The bridge. Center stage arrival. 25,000 people in the crowd are floating around from the front, as they flock around the center point of the field. Well, the field is packed already, this is more like packing a filled up crowd to the point where nobody can breathe anymore.
They do a standard set of Little Queenie, The Last Time and Like A Rolling Stone on the small stage. They all sound great, even if Like A Rolling Stone seems to be the most popular on the small stage, keeping people jumping up and down, dancing along and singing. Great fun.
Sympathy For The Devil and on. The sound is getting stronger. The beat is more steady. The crowd is getting even more amazing (yes, it's possible). Great piano intro. Then the last part of the set continues with even more popular songs in Tumbling Dice, Honky Tonk Women, Start Me Up and Jumping Jack Flash. As the crowd is pleased by the favourites, this is the ideal concert, as they dive into the oldies for the finish.
The encores. You Can't Always Get What You Want. So strong and so clear. Charlie is dominating the intro. Then Brown Sugar. Great as always. Confetti and fireworks. The crowd is amazingly wild still. Lots of young fans and lots of energy of course. I hardly saw anyone sitting down at all. Certainly not on the field, as it had no chairs at all, just like in Europe. But even on the far up stadium areas, people have been hanging in there, dancing, singing, swinging and waving their T-shirts, having a great time.
Buenos Aires show no. 4
Saturday April 4, 1998.
At 10:15 they hit stage, and the first four songs were like usual. Then they brought in Mick's electric piano, and I thought they would play Fool To Cry or something. But they did Memory Motel! Such a great version! The couple next to me were totally in the romantic mode, as the guy's eyes were lost into Memory Motel as he held on to his girl. The fully packed 60,000 capacity stadium were all lit up by romantic lights, people burning their lighters all over. And Keith got the biggest cheering every time he broke in with his vocals.
Then Mick said: "OK. This one's called B-B-Bitch!" Saint Of Me got lots of singing along, and as the song was supposed to close down, the crowd kept singing "Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah...", for a minute or two. Mick had to break into the singing, shouting out Out of Controooool!!!.
Then it was Miss You. I knew it was one too early, as it is usually number ten in the set, and figured out we would have a guest artist soon. The stage is all in red and pink lights, as they do Miss You with great crowd sing-along. It's some activities on the stage, certainly not preparing for band introductions, which normally follows Miss You. And then Bob Dylan walks up to the front of the stage, and they are into Like A Rolling Stone!
This version of "LARS" was a lot better than the one they did in Montpellier. Now it was perfect. Bob started off the first verses. He was in top mode, having this eye saying "this will be fun!". Then Mick had his turn, and then back to Bob. This was the perfect duet. Bob even filled in with some extra "yeah" in-between Mick's pieces.
They matched perfectly. No lagging behind in the tempo, no mix-ups, just perfect. Then Bob moved back, on guitar, having Ronnie on his right side and Keith on his left side. Keith seemed to have a great time as well, as he talked with Bob while they played. Mick did his part of harmonica playing. Then Ronnie kissed Bob goodbye, Keith did the same, and it was all over. What a version of Like A Rolling Stone! And yet again another fantastic show, and a fantastic crowd!
Jorge Ackermann, Peru, travelled by bus for four days to Buenos Aires: "I was there being part of the history. Mick was the sorcerer; the rest of the band completed the magic, total Satisfaction for everybody, and very special for me because I had to cross the Andean mountains to be present in that special place. I will treasure for the rest of my life those two nights on the field of River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires Argentina."
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 33 - June 1998 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe