It's Only Rock'n Roll
Various bands : 2:00pm - 5:00pm Justin Timberlake : 5:30pm - 5:50pm The Guess Who : 6:10pm - 6:40pm Rush : 7:05pm - 7:40pm AC/DC : 8:05pm - 9:15pm The Rolling Stones : 10:00pm - 11:40pm
The Rolling Stones flew into Toronto directly from Prague shortly after 7pm Monday night Toronto time. They are expected to fly back to Europe directly after the show tonight.
Gates opened 8am this morning, and there are expected to come around 450,000 people, all ticket buyers for the show tonigh, which will make this event the biggest paying rock show ever.
"We are all here for a weired reason", Keith said. "Toronto is now booming", Mick said. Mick was so busy thanking the nurses and healt personel, and also the armed forces of Canada and US all over the world, who watched the show live, that he forgot his main job. But Keith rushed over to tell him that there was a band to introduce, and after that Keith was on.
Luckily this great event, the largest rock concert in history, was taped and broadcasted, so you will for sure get a copy if you work on it. So I will comment on those things you may not see on the tape...
It is strange to be in a crowd of half a million people. The number of people who walk side by side you through the gates at 2pm, eight hours before the Stones are on, and the dust and feel about it, makes you think about the scenes from Woodstock and Altamont. People came in masses, all the time, all day, through three gates. There were speakers and monitors spread out all over the place, so even if only the first 150,000 or so could see clearly what happened on stage, the others could enjoy the sound and the visuals anyway. But I would not say it is the perfect way to see a rock show. This was more of an event. In fact, the guy next to me on the underground back home said: "They should do this every year!"
"Ruby Tuesday" was beautiful, and a nice surprise. Justin Timberlake made a nice dancing partner for Mick on "Miss You", but he seemed to be in a different league. There were thrown empty bottles on stage when Mick and Justin were up front dueting, and as they danced on further back to the stage, Keith did some stage police work. He walked up front, you could see the anger in his eyes, he did some pointing and waving with his hands, and he made this "you are braindead" pointing to his head, and there were no more bottles coming on stage.
It was the largest stage I have seen ever, with TORONTO in large letters on the top, and with the Stones tongue covering the middle "O". Two large monitors on either side, and a large backdrop of the red maple leaf flag behind the entire stage, which made most of the visuals read colored through the show.
"Rock Me Baby" with Angus and Malcolm was very popular, and Keith touched everybody with his statement "I Love You Toronto", before he dedicated "The Nearness Of You" to all the nurses. And even if some people started to leave during Satisfaction and JJF, I was surprised that most of the crowd stayed to watch the entire show, including the most fantastic fireworks being done in a long time at a Stones show.
PS. I was sure there would be no scalpers tonight, but as we came off the underground there were a few scalpers who offered tickets at $5 each. It was not sold out, and face value was $23. Also, Angus did his usual "strip show" during the AC/DC set, but now the AC/DC surprise letters on his pants were replaced by the maple leaf.
I was so excited to hear "Ruby Tuesday" for the first time, despite this being my 16th Stones show. Mick and Keith did not disappoint on this one. A great version with Keith's acoustic work and backing vocals as the highlight. I was just as surprised and happy to have that followed by "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Who'd have thought we'd have two ballads in a row. "Miss You" was another surprise, a rare song on this year's tour. The surprise was even bigger when Justin Timberlake did the duet with Mick. Not a good thing, but very memorable none the less. Keith ran stage center and gave some gestures and dirty looks to fans that threw empty water bottles at Timberlake.
With band introductions and Mick saying hi to the Canadian and US troops listening to the show around the world, Keith reminded Mick not to forget the "ships." Gotta remember those men and women in the Navy! A great funny moment! The absolute best part of the night was getting two songs from Keith. He stepped to the mic and said "Hello Toronto, ...it's an unexpected trip, huh?...We've gotta remember the ones that took the hit (as he points to the sky- in memory of the SARS victims)...we're all here for weird reasons...we need to at least play'em a song!" A true classic Keith moment. He started to get teary eyed!!! Then as the crowd cheered he got down to business and told everyone he had a show to do. We got a great version of the "Nearness of You." Quite a surprise to get that on this night. And then we were treated to "Happy." And in true form, after doing a masterpiece, Keith stumbled on his first verse of Happy. Those moments are priceless and show how great and real Keith is.
The final run included a blistering, extended "Rock Me Baby" with Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. A huge crowd pleaser! "Honky Tonk", "Satisfaction", and "Jumping Jack Flash" rounded out this historic show. When we returned to our hotel at Skydome we caught the replay of the 2-hour special on CBC-TV. It was awesome. The Stones sounded perfect on the television, so we were just unlucky with a bad PA mix early on at the park. All the other bands sounded fine all day. Here's hoping I'll see the band again here in the States, next year or soon after. I'm confident it will happen. Remember the ones that took the hit, and don't forget the ships!
This concert would never sell out anyway as the organizer's would never allow it. The capped the tickets sales at about 450,000 for safety reasons. They could have had more but there were major concerns about security for obvious reasons. I'm glad the scalpers were taking a beating with the GA tickets but I'm sure some had the Molson VIP tickets that I heard people were paying big money for. This section wasn't really VIP in terms of location. Not by a long shot.
The whole Justin/Mick controversy is getting way out of hand. People are missing the point as to why he was apart of the duet.
Right off, I liked the stage set-up: a sign hanging over the stage, saying TORONTO with the BIG RED CLASSIC STONES TONGUE taking the place of the middle "O" in TORONTO, nice touch. I could see right away it would be easy for me to get to one of the fences close to center stage, and "without" a problem too, (and this was "really early," for me to get to a venue. (Why camp out and get harrassed for two days, "if there is a will there is a way, I always say)." But this was a piece of cake, today.
No problem getting "anything" in either, the security just didn't check, simple as that, (not the line I was in). However, cameras were readily available on entrance to the site, so those were alowed. I then proceeded to get to the center railing, about the 15/20 row, (if they had, had them) in front of the stage. I was grateful for that place too, (explain later, below).
A lot of the bands throughout the day were local/Canandians, Sam Roberts; Kathleen Edwards; Blue Rodeo; La Chicane; Tea Party. Then The Flamming Lips (along with their antics, were there) they're from out of Oklahoma City. Dan Aykroyd was the emcee the entire day, he came on later with Jim Belushi and the "Have Love Will Travel" revue, (btw, this was great). As the day wore on, more popular performers/bands played: Justin Timberlake, (the girls went wild, 16 year olds, I mean) The Guess Who, (another treat, bringing back memories) then RUSH and AC/DC.
However, AC/DC was another thing,... where I stood the crowd became "over-whelming" and "out of control, (hence-grateful for my place, if needing to escape). There were lots of people riding the top of the crowd and some getting hurt for their effort. Lot's of people just couldn't take the crushing and had to be helped over the rail, which got me even closer up front. *~/;) Still, one could see that AC/DC aroused only "rioting and havoc" amongst the crowd, (from where I stood anyway). It was dreadful, and now I see, first-hand, how a deadly situation (in these conditions) can happen, bring to mind: "Denmark's Roskilde festival, nine fans were trampled there in 2000." I think if there were more barracades set up, to hold people at bay, it would be better for all concerned. As Chicago based crowd-management consultant, (Paul Wertheimer) said: "This was dangerous." "Even if nothing significant goes wrong, the event was planned too quickly to be safe. "And just because nothing happened, if in fact that is what happened---and of course we all hope that is---doesn't mean it was a safe event." According to Wertheimer, "Major events such as the Downsveiw Park Concert should take up to six months to a year to plan. Organizers of this STONES event spent only three months working on the show." (G&M)
Finally the moment arrived, the one most fans had been waiting for, "The ROLLING STONES" came on stage. A note: It had been announced to all of us that Keith had came early to the show, "the man was backstage," we were told, (he was there before any of the other STONES arrived). Earlier, it had been rumoured that the Stones might perform with some other bands throughout the day, but only a couple bands were to "guest appear" with the STONES, (and during the STONES' set only) so no surprises as far as that rumor was concerned, happened.
Unfortunately, our happiness was short lived as we were treated to a less then perfect set and even-more so, a less then amused ROLLING STONES band. Right from the start, Mick seemed bored with the whole thing, (body language don't lie, baby). I could tell that the STONES just wanted to, "get it over with." This attitude was not encouraging, as I had really sacrificed to get to this show, (I've really missed the band, after having done 31 US shows this past year, (now 32) and not being able to go to Europe this time, it appears, and I was really missing the Stones at this point in time). Another thing, hinting at the STONES mood was that Keith kept shrugging his shoulders at Ronnie, (whenever they chatted). I mean, there were like bad vibes throughout the whole performance). Then Keith went off "again," (as he does sometimes, always warranted though) on some audience members, they deserved it, I'm sure. Apparently these people didn't like Justin Timberlake up there with the Stones, there were bottles thrown, etc., just dreadful and terribly rude, so Keith sounded off on them, as only Keith can.
The highlight of the Stones set was "RUBY TUESDAY," and "JUMPIN' JACK FLASH". "MISS YOU, (with Timberlake) was okay, but it was done to death on the Bridges To Babylon Tour. Keith did NEARNESS OF YOU and HAPPY, both were lovely. The Stones could have done more, only sixteen tunes after all and them having come all the way from Europe, geez! (I wanted LIS, and YDHTMI, maybe next time, hint, hint), Oh, AC/DC was up there with our boys too, but I'd had enough of them, I can do without that AC/DC band, yuck)! I held up my sign which read: "ROLLING STONES, GREATEST BAND IN THE WORLD, ThankYaVerMuch!" which I saved for the end of the show,... they seemed to not care.
I took 27 pictures and bought a few newspapers for souveniers. All I can say is, for all the money put out and all, it sure wasn't no WOODSTOCK, or ALTAMONT, it could have been, (I mean, all those neat bands back then, "bad, bad, boys" and "down and dirty really rippin' bands") like I said, it could of been, I think the DOWNSVIEW PARK "free concert," was just thrown together and all too quickly. A whole lot of people came from far and wide, ya know? I was disappointed in most of it. Glad for the experience, but, I have been to better STONES shows, (which this one was dubbed as being, the whole time). But anyway,...till the next time....
The Rolling Stones are the greatest. Period. have now seen four shows on the Licks Tour and am completely blown away at the intensity and freshness of this band. During the four shows, Club/Arena/Stadium/World Record Field, I have been priveldged to witness the Stones play a total of (77) songs. The breakdown of which is as follows:
first of all, the concert was almost overly produced, not Under-produced. I worked beside Bill Graham putting on the Stones in '81 and lots of other major events since, and i can tell you this was better put together than any of the Woodstocks, and obviously the Altamistake. There was tremendous logistical organization & pre-production, effective advance communication to attendees thru the media, 36 perfectly-timed delay towers, 9 various Jumbotron screens scattered about, very smooth in-out, rows of Portopotties in places where you could have your choice of 50 nearly unused ones, and tons of polite Canadians making it all roll like a twisted fern!
in fact the papers were joking on the outsider's perspective -- "Woodstock run by the Swiss"
They had enormous 'beer tents' at the back, which were on grass, not cement like at Woodstock '99. granted you couldn't take your pints back to your blanket, but it was still a great place to go and hang during the off bands. shorter wait than a lot of bars i go to.
I'm glad to read here that people weren't crazy about AC/DC -- they sure got a lot of local raves in the press & word-of-mouth, but i thought they were their typical garage-band selves. also, a ton of people were leaving after them which opened up a lot of space up front.
you guys have all seen a zillion Stones shows, and others have handled the song-by-song flow, so here's just a few observations:
pre-show televised interview with Ronnie (probably old) where he says TRS is greater than the sum of the parts -- really rang true at this -- they're all great as individuals, but Together they become something magic, transcendent, beyond.
other interview comment: singer of AC/DC mentioned it was Keith who asked them to be on the bill.
highlight -- even tho i was rootin for the Rambler at this moment, they did the old Rock Me Baby thing, but the 4-way guitar interaction btwn both AC & DC and our Keith & Ronnie was really over-the-top. fabulous rock n roll manic 4-guitar cacophony! Angus was stalking Keith across the stage, and Keith kept backing up, encouraging Angus to play more and push him further, until Angus had backed him up all the way to the horn stand and he had to kind of make a quick slip-getaway.
Oh -- and no one mentioned this -- the song ended, ka'bang, ka'pow, big rock ending, it completely came down and hit the final crash, but then Keith and Angus kinda kept noodling it, kept playin it, kept working it, didn't want to give it up, and they started the whole song back up again like a double orgasm and did a natural unrehearsed and long rockin reprise. for sure the most exciting spontaneous musical moment of the night.
also, re: the broadcast -- only 4 songs were broadcast (on CBC) due to contractual issues with the Stones (and the other acts all day) Start Me Up, and the end: Honky Tonk, Satisfaction, JJF. most people don't have video tapes cuz they stopped watching & taping when the whole show was not being broadcast, then much later in the evening they aired the final three songs.
oh, but apparently the audio did go out on a local FM station and over the web, so at least audio should be available.
actually, i kind of felt the whole start of the show was weak, they were just stretchin their legs, never really got in the groove -- Start, Sugar, Rockin. spectacle but no synch. then Tumblin, they first got a little bit of a group collective working with the audience, then Don't Stop was better than the 1st 3 numbers, then Ruby Tuesday was of course a beautiful moment and harmonies -- but how did they do the flute? couldn't see a player so assuming synth, but stupid to not have real player if that's the case.
You Can't Always Get was when it started to lift off, but slowly, and not all the way, but then next during IORR, and really only by the second half when Keith & Ronnie & the band started to get crazy and loose that the show became special. somethin was goin on from here to the end.
keith freaking out (during Miss You i guess) was a total impromptu highlight -- he marched from the back of the stage near Charlie, stormin straight out to the front stage extension with his axe swinging by his side and just, like, Went for this guy (verbally & with sign language) -- he must have had a real good view of him. It was so egregious, over-the-top, like the teacher or the parent who's normally real cool just losing it at some idiot who uses the freedom provided to go over the line.
I know it's a water bottle and not a knife, but here's this giant 'free' outdoor concert with several other major bands, the Stones going on last and in the dark, violence-inducing fans in the front, and 35 years ago Mick's vainly pleading for people to "cool out", and now, it's in-control uber grandpunk Keef who goes stormin out and taking on the bad guy face-to-face, one-on-one. there's an almost funny compare-and-contrast essay in here.
then Keith does this incredibly touching Hogey Carmichael tune "Nearness Of You" -- whoa, wow, huh? -- and thank you for transcribing his intro comments above -- accurate and nice to read again -- very touching 'real' moment both in speech and song delivery.
then i go to see the movie 'Pirates of the Caribbean' tonight and Johnny Depp is playing the pirate as though he's Keith Richards! This light goes on in my head, and i'm goin' "nahhh, i'm imagining things. . . . i got the Rolling Stones on the brain. . . . i gotta stop this!" then after a while it's too much, I finally mention it to my friend, then come home, check online, find Depp interviews, and sure enough, that was his inspiration! ya gotta go see it! you'll die! it's Really really funny!
oh, and i'm sure some of you are Dylan fans -- do go and see the new film Masked & Anonymous, absolute Dylan peak moment, script by and staring him, produced by some British cats, and just a classic piece of work by a guy who's Like a Rolling Stone. :-) P.S. seeing Bob in a week -- 3 tiny Hammerstein Ballroom shows in NYC! and P.P.S. y'all should catch The Dead live if they come your way -- there's so many similarities btwn them & the Stones that's a whole other essay!
so Toronto has obviously been a home town for the boys for many years. and now they've decriminalized pot, are allowing gay marriages, have signed Kyoto, and nobody's even blinking an eye. i gotta say, New York (my home for the last 20 years) was once the liberal hip center of north america, but from everything i can tell it's now toronto, and here's Keith & the Pirates once again sailing way ahead of us.
I saw the stones referred to as "our house band" in the local press. Everyone who's alive in Toronto, from grandparents to little kids, and in all the surrounding miles of cities, have a bizarre, warm, good feeling about The Rolling Stones now. It's sorta like Bob Hope and the army troops. Even if you don't 'like Bob Hope', he came and kinda saved your ass when no one else did, and now he's part of the family for life. The Rolling Stones are now in a category beyond all rock bands, maybe all entertainers, in the minds of millions and millions of Canadians living in the New York of Canada, the new New York, the new world order, living in a place where The Rolling Stones are the house band.
Thanks to Emmett Pearce and Joelle Bonnet for news links!
This page will change over the next few days, as you and other fans send reviews, set lists and reports. Please send your e-mail to IORR. Thanks! For details and great photos from the Rolling Stones and their World Tour get the IORR magazines.
It's Only Rock'n Roll 2003 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe