It's Only Rock'n Roll
The set list
Show start : 8:40 pm Show end : 10:40 pm
We sat up close on stage right in the first mezzanine section and it was very loud. Glad we brought earplugs for protection as the sound was simply too much. We are wondering if anyone's ears are ringing after seeing the show.... Ringing ears after a concert long ago lost their allure. As others have previously reported the pyrotechnics were awesome, and those close enough truly do feel the heat of the flames. Looking forward to the next tour in 2007-2008 (Next time we bring our 3.5 year old daughter Sara who will be nearly 7 at that time) Wonder just how much tickets will cost for the next tour! Back in 1975 when I saw them at Madison Square Garden, we had to shell out an astromomical $12.50! (and just to put that into perspective, just 6 months earlier I had seen Led Zeppelin for $6.00.
The crowd reaction was great from the start, but "Ruby Tuesday" made 60,000 people scream, and from that moment and on is was just a winning game for the Stones. Night Time was fantastic. Keith did his songs with great emotions, and he even talked to the crowd in a different way, sort of more direct, not the usual phrases.
The B-stage songs were great as usual. Security thought their job was to keep the crowd away from the band so nobody were anywhere near the B-stage, while half of the "Monterrey Security" staff down there watched the show rather than watching the crowd. Worst security for sure for the entite tour. Later on there was a riot and 5 people from security spent all of Jumping Jack Flash to get a guy out. Normally it should take one or two security guy. And the crowd would not be bothered at all.
Out Of Control was just great. Fantastic singing and dancing by Mick. Ronnie on fire. They could have played it all night but it had to finish. Jumping Jack Flash gave us Keith all over the stage, standing, sitting, split legs, almost lying, still playing his strongest riffs we still hear in our minds hours after the show. Probably one of the best versions of JJF I have heard ever. Brown Sugar had the same energy. Fantastic.
When 60,000 people are singing "You Can't Always get What You Want" you know the show has been a great success. Mick was all smiles. Oh yeah he says smiling. It could go on and on.
One of those shows that finish long time before you got time to think about the finish, simpy because it was so very, very, very good. Hard to beat this one!
After the usual versions of Start Me Up and You Got Me Rocking, change was in the air as Rough Justice came up #3 on the list. And it worked quite well there, setting the rocking tone for the rest of the night.
I wasn't sure what to expect after Tumbling Dice, but moving She's So Cold to the 5 spot also worked. As was the case in Milwaukee on Thursday, SSC has been turned into more of a guitar driven rocker, and remains one of the best performed songs on the entire tour.
Then Mick, wearing a black t-shirt with black pants for the early portion of the set (making him harder to find a few times - especially after the bright red shirt he wore early on Thursday), said "we're gonna slow it down for this one"... and on went Ruby Tuesday. This version was done along the lines of the SW tour version, with the back-ups working hard to contribute the additional instrumental sounds that, in this instance, added.
Shattered rocked far more than when I saw it in Fenway on opening night, and Mick was as charged up for this one as I've ever seen him. More importantly for this song, so were Keith and Ronnie and it showed. Whether my vantage point or the way it finally is, the sound allowed the guitars, along with Charlie, to dominate the arrangement.
The sound mix, keeping the guitars way up, along with Charlie's drums, paid major dividends during Bitch. Early on, I actually had to look over to see if the horn section was playing. That made it magic. The horns were waaay down in the mix, and that was perfect. Bitch became a guitar driven hard rocker, and that big bass drum had my heart beating. This had me thinking back to the '72/'73 tour versions, and before I listen to one, I'm thinking this version was even better.
Next, on to The Night Time Is The Right Time, with Mick doing an extended intro talking about how Ray Charles was an inspiration to the Stones in their early days. The photo of Ray didn't appear until after Mick did his intro, just for the first few seconds of the song. And, as always, this proved one of the 3 major highlights of the entire night. Mick now is prowling across the stage, and actually seems to be going where his heart takes him, and not the same route as every other show. Lisa continues to belt out her part, and even walked out onto the ramp on the Ronnie side, covering more ground than past versions. And, Mick once again sang a couple of the lines in a falsetto voice and it was quite strong.
Keith has The Worst in top form at this point, and once again Bernard came up to the front and shared the microphone with him. Infamy, while I'm glad this one stays in his set, suffered a bit on this night as Keith seemingly forgot the words during a couple of spots, but it could have been he was so into the guitar on that song as much as he was charged up for everything else in the set. Interestingly, at the end of Infamy, Keith went back to the mic and thanked Bernard and Tim Ries, then saying something like "we've got to keep this really good band...".
Miss You turned out 110% better than the Milwaukee version on Thursday night, perhaps due to not having a rough start, and how charged up the crowd was as the B-stage came out to the back half of the filled stadium. The funky edge was back, and it makes a difference with this tune moreso than any other.
Oh No Not You Again also recovered from Thursday, and kept the show rocking, even if the crowd wasn't as in to this tune.
Next, Satisfaction from the b-stage. I haven't looked, but it seems to me this was the first time this has EVER been played on the B-stage. During the 2nd verse, we suddenly couldn't hear Mick and lost a couple of lines. Evidently his head set microphone went out. It looked he tore it off, and went to the front and grabbed another microphone off the stand. The level was low for the next line, but the microphone worked, and by the end of the 3rd line that followed, he was right back up there in the mix. Whether it was the band realizing what happened, and/or whether it was the band having the chance to wing it a bit by not having the light show and the back up members playing, the energy surged.
It's almost hard to believe I'm saying this, but 40 years after its hitting the top of the charts, but Satisfaction was one of the 3 big highlights of the whole show. Keith jammed away toward the end, Mick was prancing, Ronnie was having a great time (as was the case all night) and Charlie pounding away. As much as I love the bluesy feel from the '69 tour versions, this may have been the best live version I've heard.
After the usual HTW, Out Of Control became the other of my top 3 highlights of the show. Mick was totally into singing and performing it, rather than reciting the lines and being in position for the 'dance' part. They were all totally into it, and it showed. And the crowd was totally loving it, probably moreso than any other time I've seen OOC performed. You'd have thought it was another of their greatest hits based on that reaction.
Sympathy was well received by the crowd, and well delivered. Mick was up on the top part of the stage at the bottom of the wide screen for the first verse. During the "woo woooo" part, he motioned for Bernard and Lisa to come down toward the front and help out, which is quite unusual. I found out later that Mick, again, had some microphone troubles, so he needed the backup singing more than usual, and evidently figured he would highlight it to cover up the problem. But it didn't stop from a strong version.
JJF was, finally, the most true-to-form version I've seen at a stadium show. Keith was on fire, moving around, doing the leg kick, and showing the enthusiasm only he can. At the end, he held the guitar out, kissed it, and smiled. I'm sure you are reading this thinking "ya, right". But I'm telling you, this looked sooooo genuine. It was as though even he couldn't believe how well JJF came across.
Brown Sugar was longer. They jammed a bit more and this time even Mick led the extra round of "ya ya ya....wooooo" on the end jam. But having the horns lower in the mix made a huge difference. When it's the guitars jamming, it was fine to go along for a few extra minutes.
YCAGWYW had an extra bluesy feel during the early part, and IORR, again, is played much better, more like a driving rocker, when it is during the encore.
So, yes, some technical glitches, and a few rough spots. But this show was one of the most consistent shows from start to finish I've seen, and this was my 53rd show - so far.
Mick commented to the crowd about how nice it is to see Soldier Field rebuilt and that they couldn't play there the previous time (when they played at Comiskey Park instead), and, of course, how great it is to be back in Chicago.
To Mick and the boys - it was obvious!!
The place was packed to the most distant seat, and the energy level high as the Stones and the crowd seemed happy to break in the new venue together. The night’s only disappointment was that Back of My Hand was not played: a great new blues song acknowledging Chicago’s blues tradition in a new stadium that acknowledged the tradition of Soldier Field would have been perfect. Instead, we did get excellent versions of Ruby Tuesday, Shattered, and Bitch. A minor concern is that the number of new songs in the set has gone from four to three during the week the new album was released. There are so many tremendous songs on A Bigger Bang, I hope we get more—not less—as the tour goes on. As people get hooked by seeing live versions of Rough Justice, Oh No Not You Again, and Infamy, they will check out A Bigger Bang and realize it is a classic album that has and will overcome much doubt and cynicism like Some Girls did. While the new songs zoom to the top of the Most Played list on our iPods, here’s hoping we also get to enjoy them live.
One previously unnoticed highlight was on She’s So Cold, where Blondie Chaplin played a manic acoustic guitar, giving subtle compliment to the interwoven guitars of Keith and Ron. The magic of the B-stage worked especially well tonight, as the stage had a longer track than at Fenway. As Miss You was played, the band made considerable progress toward Indiana, finally stopping a great distance away from the main stage, energizing the back section of the venue. The songs flew buy incredibly fast, with both the band and crowd working hard in the beautiful warmth of a late summer night. As It’s Only Rock’n’Roll reached its peak, Mick using every part of the huge stage, he ad libbed to the music, “Chicago you’ve a great fucking audience!”. It was unusual to hear a town complimented mid-song, but it was certainly deserved as it was clear that the city and the band came psyched for a big production, and delivered for each other.
Start Me Up- 3 big(ger) bangs and out comes Keith, firing off the opening riffs to this classic. The crowd went crazy when Mick came running out in a red hat and jacket. This one was a great opener tonight.
You Got Me Rocking- This is a song I don’t really care for, but last night they delivered an edgy version.
Rough Justice- A raw, rough rocker from the new album, but the crowd didn’t seem into it.
Tumbling Dice- This classic from Exile just kept on rolling.
She’s So Cold- It’s so good to finally hear this song after 25 years since it was last played live, the crowd just loved it.
Ruby Tuesday- This is where the show finally took off. When they started this one, the whole crowd started screaming. Mick then led the crowd in a huge sing along during the chorus.
Shattered- A pleasant surprise, this song rocked with a funky groove throughout.
Bitch- Another pleasant surprise, the horns made this one a winner.
Night Time- Cool tribute to Mr. Charles, Lisa got a huge ovation after her solo.
Intros- The biggest applause went to Darryl, the hometown hero, and to Keith.
The Worst- Keith and Bernard singing together on this country-flavored tune.
Infamy- This new one from A Bigger Bang had a funky beat to it.
Miss You- The move to the B-stage was quite a sight. Mick was on a headset microphone while playing guitar.
Oh No Not You Again- A raucous rocker from A Bigger Bang, this one had the most edge.
Satisfaction- This one rocked the entire stadium from the little B-stage.
Honky Tonk Women- As they moved back to the main stage, a huge psychedelic tongue was inflated over the video screen.
Out of Control- Great to see this one back in the set again. The entire stadium was lit up during the chorus.
Sympathy for the Devil- Everyone was wooing as fire heated the crowd.
Jumpin’ Jack Flash- A slower version sounded better than previous live versions.
Brown Sugar- This one brought the main set to a close with sparks flying at the end.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want- Biggest sing along I’ve ever seen in my life.
It’s Only Rock and Roll- This one ended the show with huge fireworks as the Stones left the stage.
Everyone was on fire tonight. This concert was awesome. The Stones are indeed the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World!!
Thanks to Jim Pietryga for great photos!