It's Only Rock'n Roll
Memory Motel replaced Moonlight Mile as played in Oakland on Monday. Not a bad replacement. Popular song, now back to it's basics without Dave Matthews, as you get it on the No Security CD recorded in Amsterdam. Keith walked up to Mick's microphone to do his verses, and it was a crowd pleaser of course. Sweet Virginia was another surprise for us.
Paint It Black was again a winner, and everybody in the crowd seemed to enjoy it just as much as I did. I just wonder why it took them so long to bring it back. Well, we got it in 94/95, but it is so great, and we just can't get enough of it!
They relocated Honky Tonk Women from the small stage, and moved it back onto the main stage. That way I felt it worked better, don't know why. May be because it's replacement was so perfect for the small stage: Midnight Rambler. They performed it like it was in a blues club in Chicago. Mick's harmonica was howling and the guitars were backing him up. They worked so well that I never thought it lasted probably a lot longer that the usual small stage songs. Hopefully they keep it for the small stage, because that's where it belongs now!
Out of Control started, and I was waiting for the cage to lower down from the roof. The guys up there worke like crazy to get it loose, as it was swinging almost dangerously sideways. But it never started to lower, so I guess they had some sort of technical problem. And I am glad it never came down, because who would know what could happen if the cage was coming down while Mick was coming up? Mick, by the way, is blown up in a split second, like a flsh, coming by some sort of elevated instant speed from under the stage and into the "jail". If t works it is fun, but it looks a bid dangerous to me, given all the things that can go wrong.
The Oakland fans had the Stones visiting them just over a year ago, and have seen the Stones during every tour. But the Sacrament fans have not seen the Stones since the 60's. That's why they loved this so show so much, and that's why I though it was so good also. Too bad I can't go to the 2nd Sacramento show next week, but I am sure all the fans in Sacramento will top the performance of tonight and make it another great 2nd show to keep as a memory forever.
On we go to San Jose...
Start time: 9:22 End time : 11:20
The set list:
I WANT TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT! There was a reviewer from Mondays Oakland show who stated the changed lyrics on Some Girls where "black girls just wanna.... I don't have that much CASH" and thus resulted in Charlie laughing. He was laughing because the CORRECT new lyric last night AS WELL AS WEDNESDAY IN SACTO. is : "WHITE girls just..........that much JAM" .
During H.T.W. on Chuck's Piano Solo ( I know you're WAY AHEAD of me) Chuck and Keith do that OLD REALLY TIRED BIT that I mentioned in Monday's Oakland review. Keith,Chuck SERIOUSLY! Please resist doing this bit. If not for me than how about for Voodoo in Connecticut (KEITH) and Lily in Georgia (CHUCK) If they could tell you they would!!
During Keith's set, he reminisced about the time he was here in December 1965 and was ELECTROCUTED on stage. He said, "That's why I am playing Acoustic here tonight." After Y.G.T.S. he said, "Maybe I should have done that earlier." On Out of control there was NO CAGE. This may be due to some negative reviews from Oakland. I thought it was sort of flame throwing jumbo snake cherry picker firework poke a stick and then get eaten by a big rainbow colored inflatable dog.....JUST PLAY!!
On a serious note, Charlie has been topping himself. He will add a back beat or throw in a fill and he is hitting the floor tom very hard. Charlie's good tonight ain't he? Mick's vocals were great most of the evening but I started to notice around Start me up he was having problems with his voice that unfortunately got worse. By Brown Sugar he was in real trouble. He wasn't really singing but he tried. By the second verse I could tell that Mick was frustrated and he that he couldn't really do anything about it. He did what could be done like holding back on the high notes etc., drop a few bars and shorten the last few songs. Something else that made me respect him even more than I do already was when his voice was shot, rather then stress it even more he started to do his hyper dancing and even a few high jumps with leg splits like 1975 era. This naturally made the crowd go wild and I would even bet that some of the crowd had no idea about his voice due to his showmanship.
Not to be a downer but it would not surprise me if the friday san jose gig is postponed. There is still 48 hours so maybe it will be ok? M.P.J. I know you read this from time to time. You tried, and you tried, and you tried, and you tried. I still was satisfied! :-] Despite what some people think, you ARE human. Get well, rest and all things considered you still did great. See you in a few days.
The band sounded great. I agree with the earlier reviewer who said that Keith was in very fine form. I've seen the band on enough occasions to know the difference! If this is any indication of how the tour will go, it will be nothing short of a triumph. I give the boys lots of credit for going with a sparse stage and subdued attire. This is, after all, the definitive rock and roll band. No inflatables, not gimmicks, just absolutely solid rock and roll done right... This was a clinic on how it's done. Everything supported the music rather than the music being just part of the show. For example, the stage lighting was very effective, but it fit so well that you had to remember to check it out in order to appreciate it.
As a guitar player, I particularly appreciated their choice of good old fashioned rock and roll guitars. Keith with Telecasters, ES335 (the big black one for those who don't play and very very cool Les Paul Jr for Midnight Rambler. Speaking of Midnight Rambler, this is the tune I hoped they'd play. What a classic show tune. And I'm particularly happy that they chose to do it from the small stage. I had thought of this as a natural big stage song, but on the small stage, it was just like how it would be in a club. Hot, sweaty and intense! And again, kudos to Keith, Woody and the entire technical crew. The guitars sounded perfect. I got a huge chill when they got to THAT part... "Talking 'bout the Boston.........." BAMMMMM. The sound of that chord will be in my head for days!
The small stage is a brilliant concept. When the band comes back, it absolutely energizes the back half of the hall. Those that are lucky enough to have seats near the back stage get closer to the band than anyone! (Those in the front of the hall are well behind the stage to allow for the video cameras to move around.)
Some other observations...
Sure I would have liked to see Mick and Lisa fire up Gimme Shelter, but having seen then do that tune many times, I was happy to get Paint it Black, Midnight Rambler, Route 66 etc. This tour's set really works. And their older stuff really holds up.
I want to echo the sentiments of one of the other reviewers. I also noticed that Charlie was in fine, very fine, form. If you go to any of the shows, try to keep an eye on him during Brown Sugar. You'll be very impressed.
And OK, let's face it, Jagger isn't the younger man he once was. But he remains a consummate showman. He seems to know his limitations and if you never saw him in 1972, you'd never know he'd lost a step or two.
It is only rock and roll, but I really do love it. At 45, I'm very grateful for this chance to see the boys at their best. I don't know if I'll get to see them again, but for thirty years, they have continued to convince me that they really are "the greatest rock and roll band in the world."
Two last observations...
1. It's time to make Daryl Jones an official Rolling Stone. He's played every song onstage with them for almost 10 years. He's got all of Wyman's chops and more. I know he's not 50 and English, but he's a very real part of this incredible band. After a decade, he's earned the right to be the fifth Stone.
2. While seeing the Stones in a small building is worth every penny these tickets cost, the high price did bring with it a different kind of audience. It's just a bit too weird to see much of the crowd be restrained at a Stones show. There were plenty of enthusiastic people in the building (like me!), but it also seemed like there were plenty of people who were there simply because it was the coolest place to be and they could afford it.
Well, that's it from the River City. To all my friends in San Jose, get ready for some great shows.
YGTS was played differently and much better than Monday's opener. Instead of Ronnie on pedal steel, they brought out the acoustic slide guitar on the stand for him....it fit in much better and his playing was much more apart of the song. He and Keith together on the famous slide riff was wonderful to behold. By the way, Blondie is also sitting down on a stool and strumming an acoustic guitar.
Just My Imagination was extraordinary, especially coming on the small stage. I believe this song was played just the once (in Detroit) on the B2B tour, and that version was pathetic, from the tape I've heard. This one burned with an intensity that was quite surprising. Keith's background vocals were loud and clear. It rocked like '81!
Midnight Ramber was also something special on the small stage...completely unexpected. When I saw Jagger drag a harp out and begin blowing, I had to believe we were about to see the debut of Confessin' the Blues (as has been reported from the rehearsals). Instead out comes MR...squint a little bit and you swear it's '69 all over again. Wow.
Memory Motel was gorgeous...easily eclipsing the NS version and others I've heard from last year. Shine a Light was a delight...and, I don't know how many folks noticed...but Keith and Ron were each playing electric guitars, with Mick playing the only acoustic. Very different feel to it...but it sounded perfect.
On You Don't Have to Mean It, Keith closes with a very unexpected and delightful "rock and roll" solo, which somehow fit very nicely. In general, I have to say, he and Ronnie have never sounded better together....
The setlist was full of surprises once again, and the changes from Oakland were fun. Not only different songs, but a different order in some cases, moving HTW to the main stage where it just worked better, and taking Midnight Rambler out of the encore and to the B stage. Sadly, I think we missed one other addition, Gimme Shelter, which I think was going to be the first encore. Probably dropped due to Mick's fading voice. (I got a glimpse of the "elter" on the setlist during one sequence of Charlie on the big screen, and could definitely see there were 2 encore numbers written, so my guess is Gimme Shelter was encore #1.) Maybe someone could confirm this?
For whatever reason, I simply enjoyed Sacramento more than Oakland. I think Some Girls in Oakland was the highlight of both shows so far though; Mick's energy and sarcasm were simply brilliant! Start Me Up was fun in Oakland too, with Keith "toying" with the audience slowly strumming the intro 4 times before finally kicking off the song. It was much the same in Sacramento but lacked the drama and spontaneity this time. Keith had already had everyone in a frenzy once though, when he marched to the front of the stage, then stood there in the spotlight as the roar got louder and louder, before finally ripping into JJF to kick off the show.
All in all they were both great shows for their own reasons. I was hoping to hear some of the other tunes rehearsed: Hang Fire, All Down the Line, Get Off My Cloud, to name just a few, but it's always the same when there are SO many great songs to play. I have been treated to several songs over the first two nights I had never seen played live before, so it was a great bonus for me nonetheless. Still, you have to wonder why the Stones don't take a few more chances, instead of relying again on numbers that have already been played quite a bit over the last few tours.
For the closer, I don't feel that Sympathy cuts it as an encore, and may soon be gone anyway as TheRollingStones.com now has an encore vote link (not yet working though). Perhaps the biggest plus was not having to sit through Miss You again. Both shows rolled all the way, hitting only the bumps of Undercover both nights, which I suspect will soon be dropped as fan reaction was somewhat cold for this one, as usual.
The stripped down stage is great, no distractions, just the Stones doing what they do best, and they certainly don't need any added props or effects. Even the horns and backup singers were absent for a good part of the show, more so than I remember for B2B. No Security is what I have been waiting 18 years for now, an arena show again. My first Stones show was in `81, in an arena, the only arena show I'd seen. Until now...
Sadly, I also had tickets for San Jose to complete my week long Stones vacation. I hope I'll be able to get back for the rescheduled shows, but I don't know. The last thing I read said that back to back dates were doubtful for a reschedule - I sure wish they could arrange another Friday/Saturday! All I can say is - GET WELL MICK!
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 -
© The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe