It's Only Rock'n Roll
Rolling Stones 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Mick continued the tribute to Wilson Pickett by singing lines from "In the Midnight Hour" during Satisfaction.
Perhaps his sullen mood resulted from the front-page headline in the day’s Chicago Sun-Times -- “Exile on Lame Street” -- which was followed up inside with a withering review of Monday’s show. The Chicago Tribune’s review was not much kinder. And I thought the second show might be just as bad.
Even though the first few songs included Love is Strong and Memory Motel, Mick just seemed to be going through the motions, just as Jim DeRogatis of the Sun-Times (rightly) described the Monday show. I was disappointed that they played Rain Fall Down yet again, but I was elated to be able to hear “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” for the first time in my Stones travels. Mick preceded the song by reminding us that the band recorded a lot of tunes at the Chess Studios on South Michigan Avenue, but this wasn’t one of them. He found his footing as the song gathered pace, working the stage much more aggressively than before and signaling to Charlie to keep playing a few more rounds.
Charlie kicked off the next song, “Midnight Rambler,” with what Mick jokingly called a drum solo. It led in to one of the most powerful versions I have ever heard, pitch-perfect, intense and beautifully paced. Maybe I’m being a totally narcissistic asshole, but as Mick held his hands above his head to lead the crowd’s hand-clapping during the climax, he seemed a little out of time. He looked at me in the front row, fixed his timing and smiled at me. And at the end of the song, he smiled again. Now, it’s quite likely he was leering at some college girl behind me, but I’ll live the fantasy for a while.
Perhaps the best thing about “Midnight Rambler” was the realization that Lisa would not get her turn in the spotlight – no “Gimme Shelter” and no “(Night Time is) The Right Time.” “Tumbling Dice” was a great showcase for Keith, who wandered all over the stage in a crowdpleasing turn.
During the intros, Mick introduced Darryl as the local boy made good, and ‘’… definitely not local. From Wembley, on the drums – Charlie Watts.” Keith led him a few feet in front of the drum riser.
For once, the band was audible on the small stage for those of us gathered around it. Indeed the whole show was a deafening experience. They dusted off “Respectable,” the sixth and final new song.
The home stretch awakened the rather sedate crowd, and Mick used the catwalk to great effect, most notably during “Satisfaction,” when he ran out at the end of the song and returned to the main stage covered in streamers. Instead of improvising the words to “Mustang Sally” during the outro, he sang the chorus to “In the Midnight Hour,” going to great lengths to ensure that the backing singers were on the same page.
Ronnie was low-key throughout the evening, concentrating on his playing rather than throwing picks into the crowd. As with Keith, it’s amazing what sounds he can coax out of his guitars despite a fairly minimalist style. Mick’s voice was better tonight. I thought he sounded whiny on Monday. Not only are they done with the new album, they’re probably done with the U.S. tour, focusing on the Latin American gigs, which will likely be the highlight of the entire trek.
The second show of the Stones' two-night stand at the United Center took
place in the wake of lukewarm to dismal reviews in the Chicago press. [The
front page of the SUN-TIMES was topped by the headline "Exile on Lame
Street", and the review was headlined "Skip the Stones."] I wasn't in the
audience at Monday's show so I can't speak of its relative merits (or lack
thereof) with personal knowledge. Nevertheless, I wondered whether the
Stones were aware of these generally poor reviews for Monday's show and
whether they'd raise the level of their game for the Wednesday show.
For whatever reason, the band that took the stage on Wednesday wasn't just The Rolling Stones, it was THE ROLLING STONES!!! I've seen the Stones about ten times (my first show was the Tattoo You Tour in 1981), and I really think Wednesday's concert was the best I've ever heard them play.
After the first half dozen or so songs (concluding with a fine rendition of "Midnight Rambler"), I leaned over to my girlfriend -- it was her first Stones concert -- and I said "if they keep this up, with the set list surprises and this level of energy, this will be the best Stones show I've ever seen." By and large, the Stones didn't make a liar out of me. There were a few ragged moments, but they were more reminiscent of the Stones sloppy glory than of incompetence or carelessness. In fact, "careless" would be among the last words I'd use to describe this performance -- it really seemed to me that the Stones CARED about doing a great show Wednesday night.
One last observation/comment: Among the merchandising offerings was a Chicago market-specific t-shirt featuring a posterized image of Al Capone with the Stones logo tongue sticking out of his mouth. Absolutely brilliant! Needless to say, I got one!
I look forward to hearing what others have to say, especially any of those who attended both Monday and Wednesday's shows and who can compare the two.
|Honestly, seeing the two shows at the United Center from essentially the same seats both nights (Upper level, row 13), Wednesday blew Monday clear out of the water. On Monday, Mick still had his cold and the band seemed to be playing rather mediocre. Yes, they still were good. They just were not the Stones I'm used to going to see. However, neither was the band we saw play on Wednesday, The Stones I normally see, play no where near as good as they did on Wednesday. Wednesday was an amazing performance. I've seen them three times on this tour now and once on 40 Licks and this was by the far, the best one. Love is Strong, Respectable, Memory Motel, Aint Too Proud to Beg all were incredible. Every one of those songs took me by surprise. I think most people who attended last night though, will agree, the highlight was definately Midnight Rambler. The Stones were just amazing last night and Ronnie and Keith were on fire, Charlie's drumming was fierce, Mick was running up and down the stage as usual. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear they were still in their 20s. However, they are alittle too old for that to be believeable. This show definately convinced me to go to the next tour (when or if that is). I hope they don't make me wait too long.|
Enough of that - tonight was my (lucky) 13th Rolling Stones concert since the Voodoo Lounge days (including 3 this tour), and I have two words - MIDNIGHT RAMBLER. 13 shows, and I've never had the pleasure of witnessing them do this great jam live - STELLAR! The band's energy was great all night. "Love Is Strong" for the first time in a LONG TIME and many other highlights, but most importantly -
Screw the Monday reviews in the Chicago Sun-Times. The bottom line for me - these guys never cease to inspire me. Watching them play music together, MAKES ME REALIZE WHY I HAVE DREAMS AS A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN. Anyone who dares question the performance or motivation of Keith Richards & Co. better think twice about why they love rock-n-roll music. The Rolling Stones lay it on the line EVERY NIGHT! These guys love what they do, and they love each other - and I've never heard them sound better.
It's not every night that I get to spend two hours in the sane building with my heroes. I savor the shows I have left in this lifetime with my favorite band of all-time, and will beg, borrow & steal to have the great fortune of listening to them make live music together. LONG LIVE THE ROLLING STONES...
The first half of this show was perhaps the best hour of Stones I've seen anywhere on this tour....but the second hour would place it Down In The Bottom.
JJF worked really well as the opener. (Aside from the great debate - when they open with JJF or Brown Sugar it's always a much better version of either and more true to form, but when they open with SMU, it gets that out of the way and is a good opportunity to adjust the sound, etc.)
IORR was actually very well played, including Keith adding a very strong "extra" guitar stint at the end which really rocked and made for probably the best version of this tune I've seen in years.
Rough Justice was strong and fresh, perhaps sounding better after the "rest" since it was not played on Monday night.
Love Is Strong turned out to be one of the 2 best highlights. Mick has rarely used the harmonica on this tour, but you'd never know it from seeing this tune. The extra guitar overlay added a driving beat, and Mick was getting into one of his soulful, playful modes, and the song seemed to fit his on stage mood at the time. I went from being glad I saw this for the first time since the V L tour to wishing it would stay in the set list.
Mick put on his light blue long "ballad jacket", and did his "We're gonna slow it down for you..." but didn't say what was next. I was thinking maybe Wild Horses (they did Ruby Tuesday in September in Chicago)...but along came Memory Motel. A solid performance, even if Mick, again, did the "Hannah baby....." part to start the first 2 verses. Keith was great on his lines, but did them from the microphone back by where he stood, NOT coming up to the front. And Mick and Keith seemed to both totally enjoy doing this one. If it was part of the act, they carried it off extremely well.
Rain Fall Down continues to, in my opinion, be the best performed song from A B B. As always, very solid, and the soulful element remains in the live versions.
Mick then talked about Chicago and having recorded here, as a lead in to Ain't Too Proud. (Which was NOT recorded here, but that's not imporant now.) Only the 2nd time this tune has ever been performed by the Stones in the Chicago area. They made up for it. Strong performance from the horn section, without the overkill.
And then.....the stage goes dark, the group all back toward Charlie, and the sound of Mick on the harmonica......RAMBLER!! The highlight of an already great night. It wasn't the 'down and dirty' version, but more of a rocker that slowed down when it counted version. And a very long one, I'd say at least 10 minutes. Mick dancing and prancing all over the place, Keith walking around, Ronnie going at it, and Charlie in the engine room making it all work. My first time seeing Rambler in my 10th show of the tour...and it was almost worth the wait. This was one of those "why we do the things we do to see the Stones" versions.
A version so solid, I was glad they "only" played Dice after, because it took a couple minutes to get back into the swing of things. The high from Rambler on "one of those nights" continued.
But it stopped being "one of those nights". Keith's set was OK, I'd say a better "Empty" but a sub-par "Happy" compared with Monday's show.
Miss You, while continuing to be performed better on this tour than B2B or Licks, didn't have the soul it did on Monday night and a few earlier tour stops I have seen. I could tell the energy level was drained a bit from the "different" songs and all the running and effort on Rambler.
After Miss You, Mick went over by Charlie, said "What's next? Oh", and said "So Respectable". woo hooo! Not only another 'different' song I haven't seen on the tour, but a great song as well. However, it didn't take long to realize that it misfired.
If Mick hadn't introduced it, I might not have known what song it was. It sounded like some of the band was playing something else, but not like the MSG foul-up a few years ago. The key and the tempo were off. Such to the point that Mick didn't even sing the entire first chorus, as if to pause and try to find a point to come back in.
I love the song, but not this way. I'll call this "Train-Wreck-Able" from here on out. This was my 59th "once-in-a-lifetime" experience of seeing the Stones, and if asked for a low point out of all of them, this version of Respectable will right there.
As much as I love Get Off Of My Cloud and Sympathy, I've seen better versions, especially on Monday night. To show how drained Mick was getting, even though he was prancing around with more running and more stage energy than Monday night, he actually let out a hard spit right onto the stage in front of Charlie's drum set during the intro to Sympathy, acting as if he was strutting.
The only other noteworthy point from there was the "I'm gonna wait till the Midnight Hour" lines sung twice during the wrap-up of Satisfaction, as still another Wilson Pickett tribute, making this a unique version of Satisfaction.
This show was about 5 minutes longer than Monday, even with one less song. Mick, especially, had more stage energy than on Monday night, and made numerous "Chicago" references, even during songs. Probably the most location references I've ever seen him make during a show.
But this stands as a split decision....
I first saw the Stones in the Chicago Amphitheater in '72, Howling Wolf was in the audience. The acoustics were horrid. Had it not been for years of album after album, over & over again, I would have hardly recognized the songs between the resonance of the steel roof beams. Today's technologies are light years away from the old days, and the band keeps right up with, if not exceeding the drive. Amazing !
In my opinion; the best outdoor concert ever by far, was Voodoo Lounge ' 94 in Soldier's Field, with the sultry video graphics, film clips & near perfect sound, top notch high tech stuff at the time, 1st world class. As for indoor venues 1-25-06 was all right up there also. The crowd did well on a few favorite choruses, but in a change of attitudes also booed Keith upon lighting up a cigarette. I wonder if he heard them ? The cavalier way he tossed it over his shoulder, makes me think he might have, just as well do without.
In moving around a few times throughout the show, not once did I see anything but everyone standing, and / or dancing as space allowed, start to finish. In regard to the music, well well well ! Personally, my favorites were; either Cloud or Miss You on the center stage, as I ended up right in front of it by chance. On the main stage; Midnight Rambler for sound, and Sympathy for show. Charlie Watts wins first place, to say the least. Although I was disappointed that they didn't get around to Jiving Sister Fanny, or many any other of the obscure live possibilities, it only goes to show that You Can't Always Get What You Want but if you try sometime, you might just get Satisfaction for an encore. All in all, It's Only Rock & Roll ......... How about ' The Last Time ' for the Super Bowl show ?
I am very happy to report that the message was received.... you could tell from the opening chords of JJF that Keith and Mick were on fire. As the set progressed the gems started to come, they included "Love Is Strong" with Mick playing a powerful harp.... "Memory Motel", how can anyone not think Keith is the coolest cat on earth watching him hang on the mike stand and sing "She's got a mind of her own and she use it well..." Wow! "Ain't To Proud to Beg" was spectacular. The next two tunes aren't rare by any means, but they were played to perfection...."Midnight Ramber" was downright decadent and "Respectable" was raw on the small stage.
The Chicago Sun-Times article also stated that Mick showed no energy and that the bad boy image was a thing of the past. I truly believe that this information made it to Mick as not only did he show a ton of exhuberance but he was darn cocky and every bit the bad boy throwing cups of water at the crowd on the main stage and lifting his shirt to the crowd on the small stage.
If this is the reaction that the Stones have to a negative review then we fans may be in for many a good show to come... I can't thank Jim Derogotis enough for writing the article and I can't thank the Stones enough for sticking it to him and putting on the show of there life. Chicago thanks the Stones big time.
We had tickets in the so called nose bleed sections, but they directly faced the stage. The stage was quite sparse compared to the stadium show, but since this is an arena I expected something different. My friends from northern Michigan, Sue & her brother Buzz, came along.
The opening was fantastic. It was almost like an Imax experience, with things flying over the screen with the impression they were coming towards you. Mick, as usual, was fantastic both vocally & physically. The Stones never cease to amaze me. I won't dissect each song, except to say that the crowd itself did seem rather sedate as one reviewer put it. Maybe I'm used to Detroit crowds, who tend to generate lots of excitement.
Long live the Stones. Once they retire, who will replace them? I doubt anyone will. It will be the end of an era. The newspaper critics should keep this in mind when they critique a Stone's show.
I had a feeling the boys got wind of the B.S. press and said "rubbish!!", we'll give them something...." and boy did they. I have seen the Stones many , many times and never the same. We would all I am sure love to sit and see them play all our own personal favorites every show. Not reality. Some people have no idea what goes into what they have done and continue to do.... They make history night after night. How long have they been touring now this time. lol... They worked their you know what off.... Memory Motel was incredible. And Keith did his thing. The boys brought it tonight and did the deal. They were having a blast. What a lucky time to be alive. My kids will never forget it. Chicago loves the Stones and the critics can kiss my A$
We were in a box with about fifteen people about half that had never been to a stones show and they got a solid treat. - a real honest first impression It was a solid show throughout. I was hoping for You Got Me Rockin but after they played love is strong, my good friend mentioned that since they were on the same album it probably sealed the fate that I wouldnt hear it. Regardless for one week in January the Stones came back through and I am certain they got me and ALL of the other UC attendees ROCKIN !
Props to the merchandisers--only $25 for Four Flicks!
Now, onto the show. We (my dad, brother and I) were in the second to last row of 322, "behind the stage". Antigone Rising was alright, they definitely have talent. The vocalist was pretty hot and had a nice voice and range, but some of the songs were kinda samey. Nice cover of Fat Bottomed Girls, though.
Our view was quite obstructed for the opener, with the curtain up and the big Ameriquest banner, we couldn't see much.
But when the Stones took the stage, our view was lots clearer. We could see Mick almost the whole time, Keith about half the time, and Ronnie the entire time. Sadly, we only saw Charlie on the B-stage.
It was definitely a great show. Jumpin' Jack Flash works well as an opener, but I'd like to point out that for the first portion of the set, they really seemed to be going through the motions. IORR was very sluggish and "off". I wish they'd have stuck with LSTNT, my favourite Stones song. Memory Hotel is a nice song, one that I've never heard before.
The show definitely picked up in energy with "Ain't Too Proud to Beg". Good cover, nice vocals by Mick.
For a friend of mine, this was his fourth show. He was there Monday as well, but he came back to hear "Midnight Rambler", and he got it last night. Great performance here, nice and the tempo changes were done perfectly! Nice vocals and good guitar work by Mick and Keith. It was a nice long performance that really personified the "character" of the band. Classic.
Tumbling Dice! One of my favourites. Perhaps the most instantly recognisable song of the night from the opening guitar notes, it sounded nice and warm, as it does on record. Mick's vocals were better on this than other recordings that I've heard. I was satisfied. Ron played some good guitar here.
Introductions! Keith smoking a cigarette. It must be noted that as of January 16th, the United Center along with most of Chicago is a smoke-free zone. I love Keith.
Here I expected Gimme Shelter, but we didn't get any? I don't know why. It would've been very welcome. This Place is Empty was very off due to the vocals, but it was nice and pleasant nevertheless. Happy was great, Keith's aged voice suits it quite well.
The B-stage was great. We could see Charlie, finally! All the songs were good, nice performances though Miss You can get quite old.
SYMPATHY! Great vocal work by Mick! Keith's solos on this might have been the most enthralling part of the show for me. He played most of it on my side of the arena and my binoculars were locked onto him the entire time. I was surprised that Mick can still get the "TELL ME BABY, WHAT'S MY NAME" falsettos out! Impressive.
The warhorse stretch, of course, was great. Mick seemed to be putting a lot into this show, running around a lot -- from what I've heard, more energised than Monday.
All in all, a fabulous show. I'd definitely go again. I'm hoping to get to a stadium show next tour.
Despite what all the naysayers may say, the Stones can still rock hard.
I had finally found a ticket at the last minute (I was able to obtain the last ticket available on-line the night before!). There was not an empty seat at the UC tonight from what I could see!
I have heard and read great (and not-so-great) reviews of this tour; granted, this band can have their nights where they kick-ass, and some nights where they just “go through the motions” (sort of speak).
Tonight I believe that it was a “No-holds-barred” concert, after from what I read and heard from the Monday show (1/23/06). The band were in fine form and appeared really up for this show tonight!
The song selection was great (for the most part-could have done without “Miss You”-still wasn’t to bad live; not my personal favorite).
From JJF to Satisfaction, another fantastic performance by the greatest live “R’n’R” band in the world! From St. Louis and Indy (1989), to Toronto in 2003 (along with 450,000+ fans), and now Chicago, home of the blues:
As Pete Townsend once said; “Long Live Rock!”
I say to you, Long Live the Rolling Stones!
Going through the set list on this web site and as performed at the United Center, there really aren't any of the "greatest hits" one would expect the Stones not to play - replacing "Jumping Jack Flash" with say "Let It Loose" ain't the concert that they played "Let It Loose," it's the concert they didn't play "Jumping Jack Flash." It's enough that they try to squeeze some in.
If the Stones stayed in one city and played a set of fifteen different songs on five separate concerts they still wouldn't have enough time to cover the material that's "expected" of them. And, if they played these five different concerts in five different cities, do you really think anyone's going be happy? No pun intended.
This Chicago Sun Times critic sounds like the guys who complained that Bob Dylan or Muddy Waters should not play electric guitar - it ain't folk music, it ain't the blues -or that Hendrix doesn't play it like the records or why didn't the Beatles didn't play the whole White Album live? The only thing I agree with him about is that he should have gone to Las Vegas. Thanks Keef, I had a great time. See you next time. Sorry to Mich, Ron, Charlie and Daryl the others, who were all great too - but I'm a five string guitarist!
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The reviews will show up here soon! Thanks!
Thanks to Jim Pietryga for the great photos.
Also thanks to Gary Gallmyer for photo of Ronnie&Mick Jan 25.
Thanks to B. Miller, Axel Schumacher, B. Miller and Arcadio J Ramirez for news links!