It's Only Rock'n Roll
They were on at 9:30 sharp. I was expecting some changes in the set, as rumours told so. But it turned out there is much right in the old saying of "Never change a winning team". So the set was like played before on the tour, no big surprises at all.
I was surprised at the very, very good growd reaction of all the new songs they played. Actually it was the new songs that caught most attention early on, including Flip The Switch, Anybody Seen My Baby, Saint Of Me and Out Of Control.
Mick's voice was not good tonigh. Probably not as bad as in Quebec, but still he had problems. On Out Of Control he "test hummed" the first part, then realized he needed some water, and decided to do it anyway. His voice sounded really troubled, but he worked his way through it somehow. It was one of the strangest versions I have heard.
The Last Time was a great choice, but again Mick had problems, as he had changed the key to a lower one, but were still fighting his voice.
For a field of 80,000 or so people I was surprised they could catch such a great following in the crowd. The small center stage appearance almost drowning in this enormous flat field, but still people liked it. The finishing part of the show went on perfect, with us all dancing along, singing along, and wishing they could go on and on.
You Can't Always Get What You Want made itself a true statement when it was in the setlist of tonight, but still not performed, probably due to Mick's voice. Now Mick has three days to rest before Milano; most probably he will be ok by then.
And what about Keith? Well, what can I say? He was just himself, playing his magic dueling guitar wizard around Mick as they did the harmonica part of Out Of Control, as he did hid job perferctly all through the set. And in the end, on Brown Sugar, he came running all the way through both wings, open shirt, showing he was all fit for the show. Indeed Keith was great as ever, and so were the band.
We spent two hours queuing for the train back to the city, but that's nothing compared to the great experience of this show. It's good to be back, as Keith use to say!
Start time: 9:30 End time : 11:45
The set list:
Great show, but I was a little disappointed of the "standard" set list and Keith who stayed in the back a lot. He went to the mike after the introductions and mumbled something about his accident and put his hand into his shirt to his ribs. "It's good to be back in Nuremberg, it's good to be anywhere!"mmmgghhgmmghhg! :-)
It was a fine and sunny day in Nuernberg, although not too warm. No rain at all.
As this was a field, there is always the touble in seeing something, but in europe, local promoters tend to seperate the front partof the field from the rest. To get inside the front part, you have to either be there at 6 in the morning, queing and rushing in when the gates open or you have to be patient.
We were patient. Arriving by 5 pm inside the gates, we made our way to stage right and then waited. Johnny Lang was support act. forget about him, he doesn't work in these surroundings.
Security usually lets some more people into the separated area, giving them wristbands, so they can get in. Not this time. :-((
We had to wait until Satisfaction was well under way, when we noticed, that one security guy was about 20 m away and handed out bands, attached them to your wrist, slowly, slowly, slowy. My wife and I where in, before "Let's Spend the night together" started, Axel & Nico got in for "Flip the Switch".
So here we were, front row again and the Stones rocking for their first european date.
It was a solid gig, not a very good one. Jagger was very hoarse and the sound was not very clear, you couldn't hear much of Ronnie, tha bass was too loud and "Little Queenie" got the worst guitar sound I ever heard.
I was very cold on the stage, the wind blowing from Stage B right onto the stage, everybody got into coats on stage, even Charlie got a sweater out to keep him warm.
I didn't believe Mick when he told us, he was pleased to open the european tour in Nuernberg. Keith was more with it, he said that everybody fucks up sometime. "I am glad to be with you, to be here, in fact to be anywhere". His ribs looked marvellous, although his injury must have been very serious, because he not only reffered to that in the aboove mentioned statement, but he did not smoke a SINGLE cigarette on stage. I have never seen him without a cigarette at all for such a long time. He surely did that on doctor's orders and he surly has done some damage to his lung. Hope he will soon recover completely.
I believe they have dropped YCAGWYW due to the cold weather up on stage, because it looked like it was mentioned on Charlie's drumset sides.
What else? Charlie whistled with his two fingers in his mouth during introductions for several times. Did he do that before?
Merchandise is ridiculous. Very expensive and very useless sometimes. Took us 8 hours to get home again, we did sleep 90 minutes in the car right in the middle of the journey, but the sun got up and we went on. I am tired now, go to bed, still wearing my wristband. :-))))))
See you all in Duesseldorf, maybe Werchter 1, if I can get the time to go there.
At 19.30 exact Johnnie Lang started his show. It's what I call "heavy blues" Very good. 20.15 he was done. We had to wait till 21.30 for the Stones to come on stage.
"Herzlich Willkommen Nürnberg, es ist schön hier zu sein" opened Mick after Satisfaction. Keith was doing his best to show the crowd (and the press) that he was OK. I never saw him move like this ever before!
It's Only Rock 'n Roll was great, it really rocked. Mick pushed Keith to play up tempo: "come on Keith..."
The German audience (approx. 90,000) liked the new songs Anybody Seen My Baby ("...We came to rock Nürnberg like this...!"), Saint Of Me ("Dies ist ein neuer Song", said Mick) and Out Of Control. The crowd went crazy during Saint Of Me. They didn't stop singing after the song was stopped.
Keith did 10 knee bows during the intro of Out Of Control, just to show how well he was cured I suppose. Mick had problems again with his voice. You could hear it during Out Of Control.
Under My Thumb was the web choice. They did a great version of this song. It must have been like the one they did in Chicago.
Miss You was the 10th song as usual. "Wolt Ihr mittsingen?" This is going to be the "clowns song". Lisa was flirting with the public on the left wing of the stage and afterwards with everyone in the band, while Bernard was fooling around with Woody and Keith.
After Miss You Mick introduced the band. "Ich möchte die Band vorstellen". Coming to Ronnie he said: "der Wilde und Verrückte Ronnie Wood..."
Keith's first song Thief In The Night, one of my favorites, went a bit wrong in the beginning, but it came out well. Leah Wood on background vocals. She does not look at her father, that's for sure. What a beauty! :-)
A well known center stage set, with a bad sound, at least from where I was standing. Little Queenie was great. The Last Time was much too slow and the third song was Like A Rolling Stone. Although it was a great version, they seem to forget that we had this one back in '95 already.
Start Me Up had a new intro. Keith started it up three times! And what I expected, there was no You Can't Always Get What You Want. It was a very good show, with much speed, but I was hoping for something really new here in Europe.
Thank you Arnold for providing me the ticket and the maps and thank you Maarten for your company.
The warm-up act, young Johnny Lang, came on stage at 7:30pm, right on schedule. Unlike the day before, a sunny, though rather fresh evening was now slowly turning into night. Lang and his band left the stage at 8:15, leaving an official time frame of 30 minutes for both stages (A and B) to be set for the Stones. This time frame was extended all the way to 9:30pm, that's when the Stones hit stage, which by the way showed some alterations compared to the one I recalled from the gigs in America.
With clear skies all over the region, it wasn't dark yet when the lion sounds started to roar, announcing the imminent beginning of the 68th Bridges-To-Babylon Show. So we could all see Keith, under- standably impatient, walk out on stage long before the fireworks that cue him to kick off with SATISFACTION. Here he was at last, in great shape, happy to be among his beloved fans again. LET'S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER was next, followed by Mick's usual greeting words, some of which in German. Everything was going very well. SAINT OF ME was in the number 7 spot tonight (see full track list below), with Mick on acoustic guitar. During the last verses of this song, Mick's voice began to break, some notes didn't make it just the way they were meant to sound. OUT OF CONTROL wasn't exactly an easy song to continue this stretch with, but professional as he is, Mick went on, and I'm sure only hardcore fans and steady concert visitors could notice something was wrong - an insignificant group compared to the reported crowd of 80000. Unfortunately Mick's voice didn't manage to recover, I'd guess his throat was very sensitive to the sudden heavy temperature drop in the preceding days.
UNDER MY THUMB was the Web-Choice, which must have beaten "Waiting On A Friend" some time Friday night.
After MISS YOU, Keith opened his solo section with the words "Sorry I'm late... Everyone fucks up some time", hinting at his living room accident which had delayed the European Tour by almost three weeks. What followed was probably the best performed song of the European Opening Concert, THIEF IN THE NIGHT: Blondie Chaplin played acoustic guitar, Pierre De Beauport helped out Chuck at the second organ, and no one less than Ronnie's very daughter Leah joined Lisa and Bernard singing background vocals. And Keith, well he had it all perfectly under control.
The first change from the official track list happened on the B-Stage: The second song there was THE LAST TIME, instead of "You Got Me Rocking", for me a very welcome switch indeed.
Another such change was the omission of "You Can't Always Get What You Want", which was supposed to be the first of two encores. I can think of two reasons: On one hand it was already past 11:30pm, the venue's curfew time. On the other, Mick had been struggling with his voice throughout 11 songs already, why push his luck?
So the European Tour finally saw its opening concert and the band was determined to impress the old continent just as much as they did with the younger ones visited so far. And even though it hardly differed from standard B2B-concerts, the set list had several highlights to show for. However, a better venue, with Mick in full vocal shape and giving us a couple of extra songs beyond the 21-song minimum... that all would have made the Nuremberg concert truly one worthy of a European Tour Opener.
At first I really did not believe that the over 50 year old rockers could possibly continue to make great music AND perform in the same manner to match it. But let's just say, I now stand corrected. They looked like 20 year olds, prancing around the stage in their wild clothes, but still in their 55 year old outer-shells. It was refreshing! Even after Keith's serious rib injury, he seemed unaffected as he painlessly strutted while playing his guitar. Classic!
After waiting at the gates the entire morning, I joined some of the many 100,000 fans in the marathon run in the "quest for the front!" Afterwards, my host-family and the new people we had met decided that our fortune was a simple mistake of our security guards. It seemed that one of the many gates opened in our section. And in the Domino effect, the rest of the guards also opened their gates letting in most of the fans who waited, but leaving behind the other two entrances which still remained closed. So we at entrance #2 had a big head start advantage to the other people who unluckily picked the wrong gate.
As the doors opened, WE WERE OFF!!! The race had begun. As I looked at the open field it seemed absolutely harmless and unthreatening. I thought, " Hey, no problem...I'm young and athletic." But in the extreme panic of the moment, and having the realization that every being who was passing me was getting a better view of the best rock and roll band in the world- I ran like a bat out of hell! The stretch seemed to go on forever and I felt as if I would never reach the realms of Babylon. But, finally much to all of our surprises we entered into the 'pit' and assumed our first row places! I was quite content for the next few waiting hours knowing that about 100,000 people were behind me. (: Needless to say the exhausting run was worth being a mere few meters away from a terrific show.
The opening act was Jonny Lang. I being about the same age as him could hardly believe the amazing mature sound which he produced. I sometimes got lost in the long guitar solos, but really I appreciated the heartfelt music that such a young guy made. I enjoyed it extremly!
But then what we all had been waiting for....The Stones! We got a classic first glimpse of the guys, especially Keith. I just loved every second of it! They were even more enthralling that I could have ever expected. There was never a dull moment in their repertoire of mixed songs. I was really hoping to hear "Waiting on a Friend." But, hey - you can't always get what you want, right? Everything including the fireworks video screen, fire, confetti, enormous stage and mini stage made the an overly impressive extravaganza, definitely worth all of the excitement.
Now, I am convinced that the Rolling Stones are one of the most fantastic bands and performers ever, and they even overdid themselves this time! Now, I can proudly say that I am one of the many fans of a new Stones generation that will certainly continue to grow until the end of time.
After our bad experience in Washington D.C. (last row at the upper level) we now had FRONT ROW!
We had waited so long for the boys to come, we had hoped to see them in Berlin already. (Oh well...) But it seemed as if they had also been waiting for that moment impatiently.
How much power they put into "Satisfaction"!!! In this song, Mick seemed to be shouting out all the tension which was built up over the last few weeks. Maybe that is the reason why he was a little hoarse afterwards?
The crowd loved this energetic beginning of the show. Everybody was singing along. The audience kept on singing "It's only Rock 'n Roll" and "Saint of Me" for quite a while when the band had already finished the songs. The Stones obviously appreciated that!
Keith's movements were just a little cautious, but you could see that he truely loved being on stage again. "It's good to be back, it's good to be here, it's good to be anywhere", he said before he started "Thief in the Night". I believe that his eyes were a little wet at that moment. And mine got wet as well when the sound of that great ballad was pourred over me, surrounded me and made me dream away. It was so overwhelming!
Now, I'm looking forward to seeing 5 more concerts.
Weather (we could not believe it) was nice after all this rain and we had an almost clear sky and the temperature was pleasant (after the show it was a bit too cold!). A long time of waiting was in front of us, but we had some interesting conversations with other Stones-fans and we made the best out of it. The gates opened too late (15.45) and a lot of people (including us) became angry and began to whistle and shout, because they saw some people getting in on the other side. When our time came, we ran as fast as we could and in the end all four of us were in second row in the middle of the stage (left "pit"). The best place to watch the show from my point of view... - well, and we were on TV at the end of "Satisfaction" (German TV Sat 1 broadcasted this great opener completely).
At 19.30 Johnny Lang started playing "the blues". Not bad and I guess it was the first time for him playing in front of such a big audience - the promoter later reported 92000 people. He left the stage at 20.15 and we had to wait again.
At 21.27 Keith hit the stage and opened the show with this famous and loved riff of "Satisfaction" - he looked as good as ever and he was smiling a lot - he was totally visible because it was not dark at all. We really enjoyed this rocking version and Mick was at his best. For me it was the fifth concert of this tour having been to the first four shows in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so I was curious if they would change the set at least a bit. There were rumours that they would play something really "new"... Well, they did not, but I think that we all have to admit that this set is great and who was it who said "never change a winning team"?
The show continued with "Let´s Spend The Night Together" and after this nice tune Mick said "Thank you, you are very kind... Herzlich Willkommen Nuernberg...... Es ist schoen, hier zu sein..." (... it´s nice to be here...) and announced the new song "Flip The Switch" - one of the weaker B2B songs in the set, I think. "Gimme Shelter" was great again and Mick asked afterwards "How are you feeling? Are you feeling good?" creating a typical response by the audience. Then he told us that they are "very pleased" to play this first concert of the European tour in Nuernberg. Well, make your own decision about that. Personally, I prefer arena shows not only because of the sound but because of the atmosphere behind you. Anyway, we saw a great show from the front and we had a lot of fun.
Mick announced a "slow ballad" then and we got a nice version of "Anybody Seen My Baby", which was enriched by the "We came to rock ´Nuernberg´ like this!"-part (like in Buenos Aires and St. Louis etc.) and we saw parts of the ASMB-video on the big screen. One of the biggest highlights of the show followed with "It´s Only Rock´n Roll" and everybody was singing along and clapping again. We continued singing, though the song was already over and the band appreciated that showing us their smiling faces.
Mick got his acoustic guitar then and "Saint Of Me" followed after Mick´s "Dies ist ein neuer Song... this one is called ´Saint Of Me´..." (this is a new song...). There was a lot of interaction in this song and again we did not stop singing at the end of the song. We even restarted after some seconds and Mick got between the "Oh Yeah"-part with a short "Mmmhhh" showing that "Out Of Control" would be next. Then he said "Let me ask you this thing: Who do you think is going to win the World Cup this year?". He continued with "We´re gonna do one for you .. this one is called ´Out Of Control´" and he started to laugh a bit because he heard a fan shouting the title two seconds before. Well, it was a strange version of the song due to Mick´s hoarse voice and he had to change the key to a lower one from now on. Before this song I did not notice any difference and I´m sure that a lot of people did not notice his "problems" at all.
When Keith showed up on our side people started shouting and he smiled and shook his head several times as if he was saying to himself "Oh my, this audience is so crazy!". After that the web choice was next and "Under My Thumb" (20.04%) won against "Waiting On A Friend" (19.49%) this time - and I liked it. Later Mick asked "Okay... Wollt ihr mitsingen?" (do you feel like singing?) and, of course, "Miss You" followed - this was also very obvious because Mick had his red guitar again. Mick went (and ran) to the right and left of the stage, followed by a camera-man showing his runs on the big screen - Lisa had a "follower", too, and she was flirting with the audience first and later with most of the band members. Keith and Ronnie stayed near Charlie during the tune.
"You were so good!.... Ich möchte die Band vorstellen..." said Mick afterwards and introduced the band starting with Bernard Fowler ("old friend of mine"), Blondie Chaplin ("first time in Nuernberg with us") and Lisa Fischer ("wunderschoen, aber sehr schüchtern" - very pretty, but very shy). Mick continued with Chuck Leavell, Michael Davis, Kent Smith, Andy Snitzer, Bobby Keys, Darryl Jones, "der wilde und verrückte Ronnie Wood" (wild and crazy), Charlie Watts and Keith Richards...
Keith took over then and said "...Deutschland!...and sorry I´m late ... everybody fucks up once in a while, you know what I mean? .... It´s great to be back.. it´s great to be here ... it´s great to be anywhere, you know... Anyway... new song, old story .. this is called ´Thief In The Night´" and they started playing. Ronnie´s daughter Leah joined Bernard and Lisa singing background vocals and Blondie Chaplin played acoustic guitar. Well, and I guess it was the first time Keith played a show without smoking a cigarette (I´m sure it was an advise by his doctors because of his injury). The next song was "Wanna Hold You" being the last song before the bridge was used to conquer the B-stage for the first time in Europe.
"Little Quennie" was next followed by "The Last Time". Both songs were received well, though "Like A Rolling Stone" (Mick on harmonica) gained most attention and clapping. The band went back to the main stage then shaking some hands in the audience while the intro for "Sympathy For The Devil" had already started. Mick was the last to return a bit later in his long coat. This great song was as good as ever!
Well, "Tumbling Dice" was played next followed by "Honky Tonk Woman" with Keith fooling around with Chuck hitting some keys like he always does (using one foot at the end) and Lisa filled the screen quite often, again. Keith tripple-started "Start Me Up" watching to both sides of the crowd for the reaction and "Jumping Jack Flash" had some "mistakes" by Keith and Ronnie (who cares?!) marking the end of the normal set with a short firework and exploding screen at the end. People were shouting for more and we were exspecting "You Can´t Always Get What You Want" (we saw it in the setlist besides Charlie´s drums). Well, it´s like that... I guess they skipped it because of Mick´s vocal problems. We only got the encore "Brown Sugar" this time and Keith messed up the beginning. It was a nice version, anyway, and a good show was over...
Allright, all I can tell you now: See you in Hannover! We are already counting the days!
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1998 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe