It's Only Rock'n Roll
Stereophonics (warm-up) : 8:15pm - 9:00pm The Rolling Stones : 9:40pm - 11:45pm
I mean, after the mediocre Olympiahalle/Munich and Oberhausen shows, I started to get worried, but last night in Bercy gave me back my Stones feeling. Definitely!!
I went on a bus tour, left Monday morning at 3 am from Holland, and arrived at Bercy at noon. Found Mark and Rik at a cafe. There were about 100 people in queue, it was hot, so we sat outside the cafe for over 2 hours, before queueing. At 4.30 pm first people started to get up, which led to the standing up of all...and it was still another 1.5 hours before gates would open... We stepped out of the queue and sat in the grass, much better. Decided already on B-stage. At 6.30 pm we were at the B-stage, front and second rows. I ended up 5th row, but what the heck.
Second song, IORR, I already heard the difference with Olympiahalle, they were into it tonight! IYCRM was great, good reception. Rocks Off was great to hear. Then the Let it bleed theme, which was disappointing a bit as we had that in Munich also. But Love in vain was incredible!! As described above, Keith's acoustic and Ronnie's steel, both very loud in the mix, the stage to the 2 guitarists, that was mesmerizing!! I loved it. We were thrilled. Live with me was 10 times better than in Munich, very together. Monkey Man the same. In Munich this was fucked up, loose sand. Last night it was there again, as it should be. Almost like they rehearsed it a few times, lol. Midnight Rambler was ok, but Munich version was better. But still a good version, enjoyable. But what made this song outstanding, was the way Mick let himself go onstage, dancing, grabbing between his legs, wiggling, waving, unbelievable. We all stood in awe. The audience whistled and cheered and Mick was reacting to us, fired up again. It was one of those rare magical moments between crowd and Jagger!!! Really bloody fantastic, I even feared for his heart. The others onstage were watching him too. TD was ok, just, you know, TD.
Band intros were nice, I think Ronnie got the biggest applause and cheers, well deserved last night! Thru and thru was great. Many people hate the song, but I love it live. The backing parts of Bernard and Lisa, Charlie's beats, Ronnie's playing. Keith's singing was very loud and clear, very strong and very, very good, I loved him. My heart got all warm watching and hearing him. Just too bad Keith's guitar playing suffers from his concentration on singing. The first few minutes he played most tunes off-key, but wtf. Happy was standard, but nice to hear again after all those Before they make me run's.
Start me up was standard, not too long thank God. Then Can't you hear me knocking, which was outstanding for the most part, much and much better than the one in Munich!!! Ronnie's guitar was so loud, that when he hit the first strings for his solo, we all were startled and jumped up, that loud! But what a solo, he was on fire, his eyes closed, pure concentration and passion! We all stood there with our jaws dropped to the floor. I looked at my friends and I saw the same joy and speechlessness reflected on their faces. Very cool, I hope to hear this song on this high level again soon! They still have it, they can still do it. JJF was the only song which was really messy (except for some small other mistakes on previous songs), tempo problems. Chuck was waving and standing up to try to get the band's attention to adjust the tempo, but everyone just sort of continued the way they did. The result was a unnatural feel and non-matching instruments, almost like echoes or something.
B-stage! Our spot! Fantasticly played set, very well done, very engaged. Mannish boy was great, very smooth. YGMR was standard, but strong and high-tempo. Mick really run around the stage to get everyone's attention for the 'hey, hey's'. BS was strong and they really enjoyed themselves. There was some family or friends of Pierre de Beauport at the stage, Pierre as well as all band members were at some point smiling or talking to them. Bobby was great, shy and smiling. Keef was in his classic rock pose a lot, legs spread, back bent, arms like a hook. The sight of them that up close keeps being amazing! The wrinkles, the look in Mick and Keef's eyes as they make eye-contact with people. Like a dream. I took lots of photos, but as I was 5th 'row', lots of arms and heads, but we'll see. They left the stage through the audience, right beside me, very cool. Satisfaction was strong.
What a night, we were all thrilled. All we could say was 'what a fantastic show that was!'. I am so happy now. Afterwards we got the setlists from the B-stage security, and the left over bottles of water, which we needed, I can tell ya!
Now fingers crossed I'll get a Olympia ticket...
I thought Jumping Jack Flash did not sound right on Keith guitar. It was cute to see Mick pat Keith on the shoulder, a rememberance from the past when they were singing on the same microphone... Overall they are the greatest, the band and their support musicians are awesome and make you forget about all the so called VIP and invited people who look as bored as if they were watching a dumb TV show. When I think I tried all day without success to get tickets to the Olympia and that all the same people will go there just to say they were, it is a shame. But on to tommorow at the Stade de France for a second show.
Rock on Stones, you make us feel so good.
Atmosphere built well before the boys' entrance, with impressive Mexican waves adding to the entertainment. I was hoping for some differences in the set-list, but the first 4 songs made me nervous. I must say that "It's Only Rock n Roll" wouldn't be on my dream set-list, but it was played excellently, and we loved it. "Don't Stop" sounded great, but very much like a song from one of Jagger's solo albums. The next 4 settled me down, with "Rocks Off" (brilliant), "Love In Vain" (by the book, not a great effort required), "Live With Me" (great), & "Monkey Man" (awesome!). I did notice that Monkey Man was one of a number of songs that they had trouble ending (Interestingly enough, a few times during the gig Mick could be seen exhorting Chuck to get an ending sorted out!).
The rest of the songs were standard fayre. Worth pointing out that Ronnie was wasted, and hit a lot of duff notes. He was however, clearly enjoying himself, and did a great job during "Happy". I thought his "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" was a bit lame (I've heard much better on recent bootlegs), but Mick & Bobby were superb. "Happy" had a false ending, and was re-started by Keith, thanks not least to Charlie's ability to read his mind. This could have been Keith's response to Mick's elongation of Midnight Rambler; the music was progressively slowing towards the dramatic middle part, when Mick decided to crank it up again - the crowd loved it, and we must have had a couple of extra minutes of Rambler!
B-stage was when I got to see Ronnie very close up. Man was he wasted. He tried to change his guitar after "Mannish Boy" but no-one took it, and "You Got Me Rocking" didn't have any Ron guitar I could hear. "Brown Sugar" was great.
Next it was confetti raining down and a rousing "Satisfaction" to close. I did wonder whether the longer "Rambler" & "Happy" had deprived us of a "Gimme Shelter", but it didn't matter. This was my only Licks gig, and I and my Stones virgin wife had a great time.
The Ronnie Be Goode sign was in attendance, but regrettably waved in vain! I don't think too many noticed how much of a passenger he was, and it certainly didn't spoil the gig. I do however wonder if Ron's fall from the wagon is the main contributor to the shrinking & progressively more predictable set-lists? This could be too harsh (after all, "rock & roll guitarist performs under the influence" won't make any front pages!), but when the small club gigs arrive Ronnie will either be sober or very obvious.
Having said that, great concert, and a great crowd!
Previous to the show I bought the great “LicksParisiennes” T-shirt (so sorry I will attend only the first lick…). It is a must to mention the organisation for the show, where everything was correct, and everybody of the staff was very polite and kind (nothing to compare to the chaos and disorder of the show in Madrid).
Support act were the Stereophonics which I found they had a great rocker attitude but they sounded too dirty. With another philosophy of arrangements I would find them really suitable to open for the Stones.
After their set, we had to wait the usual time for the Stones to set the place upside down. I noticed what it looked like a recording board next to the huge mixer, and don’t know if it’s always there, but it accentuated the hungriness for a soundboard of this show…
And finally, lights out, the sound of thunder, and Keith over there, roaring with the chords of SFM once again. Generally the people got crazy, but on the far seats in front of the stage where I was, me, 31 y.o., I was the youngest (and craziest), in a row that maybe would be of 45 average… Nobody stood up at the start, and only someone here and there, from time to time, raised up to cheer some of the great moments of the night. I must say that after the shows in Bilbo, Madrid and Barcelona, there was a noticeable difference in the audience reaction. At Bercy, you could see the people crazy when the Stones finished their numbers, but during them they were basically listening, which is also great, but made and overall feeling that there was still some distance between the band and the audience.
The set-list was great even if they did quite usual numbers for an arena, and similar to the one they played in Munich first night.
I took some notes right after the show to remember all the details I could. Here you are:
SFM: Keith wanted the song to never end!!! Again you could see what is usual these days with Mick trying to make Keith aware that he is taking it too long, but Keith was enjoying his playing and stopped precisely when he wanted!!!
IORR: A great rocker once again.
IYCRM: It will always be amazing to hear this song live. It’s a huge rocker that has spent too much time awaiting to come out again (since ’76, that’s a crime!!!). I thing this has been the version with less mistakes of the tour. Perfect.
D.S.: Again a crowd pleaser to sing along. It looks like the band likes it more now than when they started playing it last year.
LIV: Once again a highlight of the night whenever it’s played. Keith and Ronnie played wonderful guitars and Mick sang it beautifully.
LWM: Another enthusiastic rocker with Keith rejoicing to the top playing over the solid base of Charlie’s drums.
MM: The whole band was great in this one, but I must turn to Keith again for the licks he extracts from his guitar.
MR: The best of the night for me. As we had in Madrid (when they stepped in an unexpected bluesy part), they (and it is thanks to Keith) extended the song in the middle part (this time in a middle-fast tempo) in another rejoicing moment for them and us. Great, great performance at Bercy, including the harp playing by Mick and the energy of Charlie again.
TD: Standard but powerful version.
Intros: No big/long ovations this time, neither the usual Charlie-Charlie-Charlie nor an specially extended one for Keith.
TAT: Another highlight, which it is again every time they play that one. For me this is the song of the tour, and it did not disappoint me this time also.
Happy: As in Madrid, we got a restart for this one – great, more seconds of pleasure.
SMU: Another rocking standard.
CYHMK: Huge Keith, huge Charlie, huge Mick with his harp, huge Ronnie, huge Bobby. The best performance I’ve heard of this one, including the best solo from Ronnie.
JJF: I can’t get used to hear it in this point of the list. It is unexpected indeed, but I think it lacks the energy they put on it when the song means a special moment of the show, like the beginning or the ending… Anyway, unexpected or not, I enjoyed that one to the top, as always.
Arriving b-stage: The sound was strange, guitars a bitlow. I’d say the stage was lower closer than other times. I clearly saw somebody reaching Keith’s leg while he was playing close to the edge of the stage.
MB: The audience got hotter when the guys came to the B-stage, and stood up in their seats until the end of the show. It is great that the Stones still bring the legacy of the old bluesmen with this number (just as if they play IJWTMLTY or LRR) to crowds like this with thousands of people attending this great “lesson of all times popular music”.
YGMR: I will always like hearing this one live. It’s a truly rocker and crowd cheers engager. Oh, I almost forgot… check the boot if you can, and you’ll hear Mick forgetting the lyrics of the 2nd verse. He just said something like, “ok I tell ya”, and started the whole verse one round of chords later (again, more seconds of pleasure for us).
BS: Great to have Bobby at the b-stage. Another “really rocker”.
Leaving b-stage: they left “through” the audience (not really through, ‘cause they had all the way ready for them…)
Then I got amazed that a lot of people understood that the show was over!!! (isn’t it common at a rock concert to wait at least for one encore????). The greatest thing was that the couples I had to my left and right also left (one of these guys kept on looking at his watch for about the previous four or five songs!!!!! – so I was pleased they left, they almost bore me too with their presence!!!!).
SATISFACTION: The great ending. Again Keith never wanted to stop, and he kept on grabbing sounds from the pink Tele when the rest of the band had finished. Great crowd pleaser, of course, with great sing-along.
Overall let’s say that Keith had a great connection with the crowd and he threw a lot of picks to the fans in front of him.
To sum up, another great show. Now I know I can’t compare between shows. Every show is different and great. I still have 3 more to come this tour, and I’m sure they will also be perfect, whatever they play.
Hmmm, hard to say. The Stones were good, very good ...maybe too good. There was no room for surprises or innovations. The Stones played their old standards, efficiently, like a perfectly ran machine but I missed the little spark that makes a good concert memorable, such as the 2 MSG ones (e.g. the amazing versions of Loving Cup, Midnight Rambler or Monkey Man). Mick was awsome, Keith just ok, Charlie was perfect as always and Ronnie was both ok and unbelievable at some points (e.g. CYHMK).
But let's see how the songs went: Street Fighting Man was a good start; Keith was perfectly on beat, but the sound wasn't so good It's Only Rock'n Roll and If You Can't Rock Me were a little slow and lacked energy; the audience on the other hand was singing "It's onl rock'n roll" and that was a fun moment Don't Stop was the first big moment of the night; it sounded, again, like an old song, with a deep influence of Mick Rocks Off was ok, even though the trombone section was sometimes a little offbeat
Love In Vain was one of the best songs of the evening, definitely. The sound was great, Mick sang it really like in the old days and Ronnie did a terrific job at the slide guitar Live With Me was ok, but they played this song so often that I'm not sure whether I still like it or not! Monkey Man was terrific too, great great song and first really good job by Keith, who, until then, didn't sound so excited to be there Midnight Rambler was good but by far not as good as the MSG's version (I'm sure the DVD will be out soon, check it out) Tumbling Dice was very good, great drums by Charlie Thru And Thru (Keith) was an excellent surprise; let's face it, I'm usually not a good fan of the "Keith moments" because they can either be very good or very bad. Thru and thru was excellent, Keith really gave life to the lyrics. Happy (Keith) was horrible. Sorry. Keith sang half of the words, forgot to sing the other, played a lot off-key... Quite disappointing.
Start Me Up was standard, I just heard it too many times... and nothing can beat the Flashpoint version. Can't You Hear Me Knocking was fantastic. Ronnie gave an unbelievable performance. I've said in my previous reviews that he astonished me at the Garden, but, oops, he did it again this time. The sound of his guitar, his attitude, his solos...everything was amazing, really. Everybody around me was mesmerized. For me, Ronnie was THE man of the concert. Bobby Keys' saxophone also sounded great, but with Bobby, that's never a surprise, he's always at the top.
Jumping Jack Flash was correct, though a little messy Mannish Boy (B-stage) B-stage was unbelievable, not necessarily because of the sound (I couldn't really hear them play) but because I was a meter away from the stage!!! I've seen Charlie from very close (I've seen him play and chatted a bit with him at the Blue Note in NYC, when he came with his band) but I had never seen Mick or Keef so close. Making eye-contact was a very cool experience and Keith does look satanic! Chuck Leavell was just in front of me, very cool guy, trying to joke with the crowd. Ronnie looked like a cool guy too. Mannish Boy was good, with a great Mick on harmonica. Still one of the best rock singer playing harmonica our Mick. You Got Me Rocking (B-stage) was really soft, not so convincing. Brown Sugar (B-stage) was ok too, but no spontaneity at all. Satisfaction (encore) was strong, excellent singing and guitar. Keef made it sound like a new one.
And that's all! Just one encore, I was both surprised and disappointed! I could understand that for the HBO show the Stones had to finish at 11:15 pm straight, but here???
Well anyway, very good concert...So why am I a little disappointed? Hard to know: is that the lack of spontaneity? the fact I've seen them 3 times in less than a year (compared to once every 3-4 years)? the fact they didn't play Sympathy, Gimme Shelter or Honky Tonk....? or were the Stones just training for the Stade de France and the Olympia coming concerts? Who knows...
I had a great time anyway and I hope I'll see them again, for the 7th time... Just keep rocking guys, you're still the Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band in the World.
So the Stones went on stage, and it was “one of those nights…” all of them were dynamite. I must admit the audience of the POPB helped them a lot in being so, since the atmosphere was great throughout the show.
It was funny and strange enough to hear them start with the song that traditionally ends their concerts, i.e. “Street Fighting Man,” which was already exquisitely performed. And by the end of this song, Mick had understood that the show was on the right track as the audience was highly receptive (“Vous ętes un bon public,” as he put it)…
Great choice to keep the audience in a trance by singing “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll” and especially “If you can’t Rock me” then (and we weren’t ready to let anybody take our place to rock the Stones, we did it quite well by ourselves…). “Don’t Stop” and “Rocks Off” were well performed too, and it was rather surprising to see and hear relatively young fans singing them aloud, especially the latter, composed at a time when most of them weren’t born…
The four numbers extracted from “Let it Bleed” were announced with the sleeve of the album shown on the giant screen: enthusiasm spread all over the hall. The version of “Love in Vain” was fantastic, with Keith at his best on the solo; a great “Live with Me” followed, with Darryl at his best this time. To finish with this “1969 interlude”, they offered us two fine versions of “Monkey Man” and “Midnight Rambler.”
After ending a nice “Tumbling Dice,” Mick introduced “la petite troupe”, and the audience’s favourites were acclaimed as usual: huge ovations for Bobby, Lisa, Charlie (“Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!…), Ronnie and last but not least, Keith, more than all the others put together. And it was time for him to sing then, which he did with “Thru and Thru” and after confessing that so he was…: “Happy” (he spent the show showering the first rows with plectrums, throwing one into the audience at the end of each song!).
“Start Me Up” woke up those who could have been foolish enough to doze, followed by a “Can’t you Hear me Knocking” during which Bobby was a little out of breath, unfortunately… “Jumping Jack Flash,” on the contrary, was most powerful and exciting.
Then the people in the back rows could benefit from the three numbers played on the B-stage, i.e. a superb “Mannish Boy,” and the two rockers “You Got me Rocking” and “Brown Sugar”.
And as all’s well that ends well, a very punchy version of “Satisfaction” ended that stupendous show. The Rolling Stones seemed to have spent as good an evening as we had…
I like the stereophonics but what a shame for them to have such an awful and unbearable sound!!!
9.45 pm : "street fighting men" come up on the stage!!! the show will be incredible, big, GREAT with a setlist I only see in my dreams!!! Charlie has been incredible, what a beat!!!! and the "french" speaks of Mick between the songs are always a great "pleasure" for me!!! :-D "Bougez-vous les fesses!!" which means "shake up your asses!!" they are happy to be here, I think, we could feel it...
... and I was really pleased to see Ronnie back to the world of the livings!! his solo on the superb "love in vain" was beautiful : Mick taylor could be jealous!!! really..! other great highlights of the evening was : "midnight rambler", "mannish boy" and of course a very long "can't you hear me knockin'", with a magical harmonica by Mick!!!!!!!!!!!!
looking forward fot the Stade de France, on wednesday!!! :-P
Thanks to Joelle Bonnet for news links!
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It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
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