It's Only Rock'n Roll
First I would like to say: Mexico City, I love you!. I've seen the Rolling Stones in 16 coutries across the world over the years, but the Mexican fans is by far the most kind and polite friends to share a concert with. While it's great fun to get really sweaty and worn out at Wembley, all the kindness of people next to you makes it so much easier to really enjoy the show.
And what a show... As I said, I was lucky to be on row one, dead center. Being so close when Keith is up there starting up the show with Satisfaction is just marvellous. Everyone seemed to enjoy each other tonight. Ronnie was having a great time. Keith working hard and concentrated as often on this tour. Mick energic as a teen-ager. Charlie I didn't see much because I was too close up. And the rest of the band... well, thanks!
I have to say I just absorbed this show, and have problems telling you all the finer details. It was great to see She's A Rainbow for the 2nd time in Mexico, web choice winner both nights. On this last night Love Is Strong was just one percent after the winner, and I would not mind having that one, but anyway, She's A Rainbow was great.
Seing the center stage appearance from a distance was fine, because the sound seemed fine. I think the sound gets muddy when you are too close, because echo or interference from the band monitors do appear stronger as you are closer.
Anybody Seen My Baby was great once more. What more can I say. And It's Only Rock'n Roll was back, it really rocked.
During Jumping Jack Flash Keith came down on his promenade in front of the stage, down to the crowd. On the Darryl side, he gave away his pick, and played on without any pick. As he approached the stage by Ronnie, good ol' Ronnie gave Keith his own pick, and played on without. Then Keith finished his "walkabout", and gave back a pick to Ronnie. Sure these guys care for each other!
We got two encores tonight. It got really busy around me when Mick came down on the walkway to the center stage, doing the first part of You Can't Always Get What You Want, dressed up beautifully in all red coat and shirt. Then they rocked into Brown Sugar.
All too soon it was over. It makes me sad to say it felt so short, and had to finish eventually. But then again, they can't play on forever, and after all, I was pretty exhausted anyway...
They used up all the confetti the day before, so tonight it was not that much of it. Some of the fireworks were falling into the crowd - surely not intended, and quite dangerous. Hopefully nobody got hurt.
After the show it was big party time outside the stadium. Hundreds of "free enterprise" private merchandisers sold their own bootleg T-shirts, posters, mugs and stickets on the streets. It was less than half price the official merchandise inside the stadium, so they sold a lot. I've never seen so much bootleg merchandise in my whole life, and I've seen many shows over the years... Some designs were nice, with Mexico etc on, but most were pure cloning of official photos, Kruger drawings etc.
The ticket prices in Mexico was very different from the usual setup in USA. Up front the price was equivalent to US $190. Way back it was as cheap as $20, a span of 1:10. Close to $200 is really too much for a ticket, I think. Hopefully they can do some other sort of prices, I don't know. It isn't fair that the guys with the biggest buck is getting to the front just because they can afford it. One side effect of this was the fact that many people in the front section were sitting down on some of the early songs. A shame really, but that's the VIP life...
OK, this was supposed to be a short review. Sorry I didn't have more to tell. There were so many great moments, like seing how Lisa actually did her everlasting Gimme Shelter highlight, but I''m out of words. It was simply great. And please, don't make me rate these shows anymore. As someone said a while back: "It's all in your mind".
Start time : 9:30 End time : 11:45
The set list:
EL TRI was the show opener again. A brief description on them: musically speaking, they play like the early Rolling Stones. The lyrics are urban life descriptions of the young people, somewhat similar to what Lou Reed does. Tonight, they played a song in which they have a reference to a guy listening to a Rolling Stones song. They were really good, people sing with them, they are really popular, everybody likes them.
At precisely 9:30 pm, the Stones took the stage as the lights went down. As always, there is a perfect syncronization between Keith´s Satisfaction first riffs and the explosions on the screen. This really kicks the audience in the ass.
Let´s Spend the Night Together is much more polished as compared to the versions they did during the 1981 tour of the U.S. It has the right pace, the instrument mix is better. In 81, it seemed they were running a 100 meters competition. The black and white scenes on the screen, take you back to the sixties.
Tonight they gave us 4 different songs as compared to the show on Saturday. IORR was played instead of Bitch. To me this song is a real Stones classic, and I also like better this version than the one they used to play on the Steel Wheels tour. Keith and Ronnie, play really good guitar this year on this particular cut. It is interesting to see how Ronnie and Keith exchange the lead guitar role among them. Keith seems much more active as compared to earlier tours, while Ronnie, at least to my own view, has been a strange figure throughout the whole tour. I had the opportunity to see them live in Fort Worth in November last year, St. Louis on pay per view, Portchester on the 10 Spot. I have the feel, Ronnie is concentrating more on his guitar playing than joking on the stage. He seems to me troubled with this issue, he got us used to a charismatic role on the stage, but today he is more serious. As a comparison to the last tour they played in México City, during the band introductions, he took away the mike from Mick and presented in spanish "EL CANTANTE MICK JAGGER!!!", "the singer Mick Jagger!!!". This time this was not the case.
During Saint of Me, one of Darryl Jones´s strings broke early in the song. They didn´t change the instrument at that time, he just kept playing as if nothing would have happened. Out of Control was really great again. This song will be surely played every night on the stage, it has so many dimensions, being the most important one the feel it gives to the audience. It is a strong song, and I don´t remember any song since they launched Start Me Up in 1981 that hit the audience so hard as this one. I am surprised it is not a hit single.
The only dissapointment for me was She´s a Rainbow. I personally don´t like the arrangement they did for this particular song, taking out the brass section. They even don´t look very happy doing it, so it lacks emotion, it is too mechanical. On the other hand, it is a pity the audience chose it for the second consecutive day. Love is Strong was close to be played for the first time on the tour, but it lost on decimal points to She´s a Rainbow. The only thing I can imagine, is that most concertgoers were new, so this mexican favourite had to be chosen again.
After the Miss You rendition, Mick introduced the band again in Spanish. As in every single concert they do today, the big applause and screams go for Charlie Watts. This guy is really something. He really looks like the average english man of his age: the way he dresses, the way he hides, the way he moves, the way he talks. He even looks a little bit ashamed when introduced, as he stands up TWICE to greet the audience. The second time he stands up takes some time and he even grins a brief smile on that opportunity. A friend of mine once suggested, he is a "9 to 5" kind of person, in the sense that he does what he gets paid for, no more no less.
Keith chose "You Don´t Have To Mean It" instead of "Thief in the Night". It was an excellent choice given the orgasmic height achieved during Miss You. So we had the luck to hear almost 25% of the songs from the new record this evening. This is a good sign for the Stones, as they still sound fresh and interesting, not just the old song marathon.
On the center stage part of the show, they brought You Got Me Rocking this day. It worked better than The Last Time, a song a little bit too far away for most of the audience in México. Mick has really a good sensitivity on what to play and give the people what they want.
We finally reached the last third of the concert, great songs, great classics, great audience reaction, big guitar playing by both Stones members. Jumpin Jack Flash is shorter as compared to the Voodoo Lounge and Steel Wheels tour versions (it was an encore then), and it works better this way.
The encore included this time You Can´t Always Get What You Want and Brown Sugar. The house went down with both songs. Two hours and fifteen minutes had passed too quickly. Good luck for the rest of the tour, and thank you for coming back to our country. We were very pleased with your visit again!!! Come back soon!!!
Read all about the Bridges To Babylon tour in the It's Only Rock'n Roll magazine issue IORR 31 out Jan, 1998.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1998 -
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