It's Only Rock'n Roll
Fargo loved the Stones, and although I saw very little interaction between Jagger and Richards they were great. Having seen two previous concerts in Minneapolis, I was impressed with the raw rock and roll of this concert --- without the impressive stage set. They are truly an amazing band, with such a substantial body of music -- and the ability to continue to create and perform.
Keith Richards truly seemed to appreciate Fargo's response to him and of course the wonderfully elegant Charlie Watts received the loudest applause during introductions.
I woke up with a concert hangover on Thursday; the band wore me out and I was only dancing on the floor! Fargo will never forget.
The set list:
Shortly before 8:00 p.m. I stood near the stage right “screamer” wing that had been built for Mick and Keith to reach the fans on that side of the dome. Jonny Lang took the stage and opened and closed his set with hits, receiving a great “hometown” reception. His acoustic treatment of “Breakin’ Me” was a highlight. Lots of fans on the floor standing for him at the end. It must be something to be eighteen and have over 20,000 people from your hometown standing and cheering for you. This kid has chops, voice, and presence . . . at about the age the Stones were when they were forming. If he keeps his head on straight he may still be touring 37 years from now as well!
About 9:20 the lights went out again and 22,200 (give or take) people plugged themselves into the Stones’ electricity. The “highest grossing concert in FargoDome history” began as the pre-shot video footage of Ronnie, Keith, Mick and Charlie gave the illusion that they were approaching the stage at that moment. Of course, they were already under the stage ready to go up. As the video ended, Keith came roaring down the stage ripping into “ Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and Fargo went nuts. Keith was pretty hyped, and it sounded like he actually had his fingers on the wrong frets for the first couple of strums!
Mick didn'’t say too much other than the band was “happy to be in Fargo,” but Keith seemed to be having a genuinely good time with the reception the band was getting in the hinterlands of North Dakota.
LIVE WITH ME, RESPECTABLE, and YOU GOT ME ROCKING were solid enough, but the show didn’'t seem to find its stride until Mick and Lisa did some strutting out on the stage left “screamer” ramp during HONKY TONK.
MEMORY MOTEL was beautiful and bittersweet. Mick then introduced SWEET VIRGINIA as “a little bit of country for you,” probably not realizing how big country music seems to be in the Fargo area. Garth Brooks and George Straight have both had hugely successful shows at the dome. It was about time Rock and Roll bit back.
SAINT OF ME returned again (it had been skipped in Minneapolis for some reason) and Mick made a trip down the center runway, which had been extended to over 100’ for this show because the Fargodome is so big. PAINT IT BLACK got quite a positive response.
During Keith'’s set a guy standing next to me said “"My friend said this guy is going to sing a couple of songs now so I might as well go get a beer".” I about decked him but thought better of it. Dissing Keith? Sheesh. Before YOU GOT THE SILVER Keith said “How you doin’' Fargo?” He then stopped and shook his head and said ““Never thought I’d ever say that!” YGTS was done mostly acoustic, ““with Keith in very good voice and enjoying the audience attention. ““The crowd was so positive after the song that he said “Shit . . . ““maybe I should come live here!” ““
During BEFORE THEY MAKE ME RUN I made my way to the front of the B-stage, where the security people were preparing for the fans who would pack the area soon. I don'’t know about in other venues, but nobody asked to see a ticket. As people gathered, one usher just said “Please go back to your seats when the B-stage set is done.” I stood directly in front of Mick’s B-stage mic stand and watched OUT OF CONTROL by sighting straight down the long runway to center stage . . . pretty cool to have a straight unobstructed view of the stage like that. I noticed that it’s almost better to be back from the main stage a little bit, just to get the full effect of the lights and the main video screen.
As the band began to come down the runway to the B-stage, more security people showed up and tried to tell people to go back to their seats. Right. Instead, there was a huge push TOWARD the stage, and I found myself eventually linking arms with a security guard on my left and a big, burly fan on my right as we tried to keep the mad throng behind us from flowing right over the security barricade in front of Mick. I had a great view of the stage, obviously! Aside from being jostled and having beer poured over my head, it was fantastic. Mick even tossed a cup of water right over my head. ROUTE 66, WHEN THE WHIP COMES DOWN, and MIDNIGHT RAMBLER made for a potent B-stage show, particularly the final sections of RAMBLER. My only regret is that as Mick reached out to high five a few fans before going back up the runway, I couldn'’t break the security chain I had become part of to lift my hands up. As the band left and the crush subsided, the security guard and the other fan and I congratulated each other on a job well done. No casualties.
I made my way back to the front for the now standard FINAL FIVE, watching the beach balls that were dropped from the ceiling and catching some of the big confetti streamers that are launched throughout the arena (in the place of fireworks). All in all, it was the experience of a Rock n’ Roll lifetime for many in Fargo . . . two days later the newspapers are still talking about it!
It was a..."a Gas, Gas, Gas." The Best Concert to date! What a night! What A Town! Mick said, "It was his first time ever in Fargo" Keith did one better and said , "he was thinkin' of moving here." (I swear that is what it sounded like he said). I agree!
The weather in Fargo was brisk last evening and all the fan's were wide awake, but the Rolling Stones gave us even more energy and had us on our toes the whole night, right from the very first song as they hit the stage with "Jumpin' Jack Flash"!
The local newspaper, The Forum, reported:
"The Rolling Stones proved to a sold-out Fargodome crowd that their fans still can always get what they want...SATISFACTION! (And where is this song by the way, guys? You could add it towards the end of the show, gotta, gotta)!
Great fan shot, the fans are completely pleased! Fantastic pic of Mick too with the caption: Mick Jagger burst into the limelight for the opening of the Stones Concert which began with the venerable band's hit, "Jumpin Jack Flash."
Also a good photo of Native, Jonny Lang.
A right on picture of Keith on page A-14. He is totally feelin' the music throughout his whole body, leg up in the air, the whole bit. Caption reads: "Keith Richards charges up stage in a blaze of lights." That's right, with his shades on and ready for the action>>>JJF!
Also a "scowling," but beautiful photo of Mick here as well. (Caption): "Mick Jagger gives his legendary scowl to an enthusiastic audience at the Fargodome that numbered 22,000."
The Forum also added that, "Even in his faster guitar work, Ron Wood seemed deceptively relaxed, sometimes playing with a cigarette stuck between the fingers of his right hand."
"Charlie Watts kept up the driving beat that could be felt in the pit of the stomach."
"Saint Of Me" was back which pleased the crowd very much. (Not done in Minneapolis).
"Memory Motel" was played, (one of my favorites).
"When The Whip Comes Down" was addded again to the B-stage.
Keith surprised us and did both "You Got The Silver," and "Before They Make Me Run," instead of "You Don't Have To Mean It." Usually, it would have been it's "turn" tonight. (Me and my big mouth, see Minneapolis review)
The Forum did make one mistake though, referring to Lisa as Linda!
The crowd loves "Paint It Black," no matter where it is played. "Honky Tonk Women" and "Some Girls" are equally appreciated.
Read all about the "No Security" and "Bridges To Babylon" tours of 1999 in the It's Only Rock'n Roll magazines. New issue IORR 35 out Jan 20, 1999.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 1999 -
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