The Rolling Stones Hyde Park July 13th 2013
When I walked out of the O2 in London in August 2007 after seeing The Rolling Stones at the end of the Bigger Bang tour I really thought I had seen them for the last time. Even I, as a life long Stones fan, couldn’t have imagined that they would be back five years later and that they would deliver a series of concerts which would easily match, and in some ways eclipse, their concert tours of the 70s and 80s. But as David and I walked out of Hyde Park last night I felt I had seen them do just that. In whatever way you measure it this 50 and Counting tour has been a massive success and the Stones legacy remains intact, nay enhanced, by the stunning performances that Jagger and co have delivered. I have had the privilege of attending three shows on the tour: the opening night at the O2 last November, their overwhelmingly successful Pyramid stage debut at Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago and the last night (for now? 🙂 ) of the tour in London’s Hyde Park, their home town and the setting for their iconic show of 1969.
I took the train down to London on Saturday afternoon and met David at Marble Arch at 6pm. I was staying at the Cumberland hotel just over the road. We had a drink in the hotel bar and then wandered over to the park. Jake Bugg was on stage as we made our way in through the crowds. The weather was hot, almost unbearably so; in fact this was the hottest day of the year so far. I’d been invited by Barclaycard to try out their new contactless wrist band which I had loaded with £20 to spend in the park. We spotted the Barclaycard Unwind stand and wandered over to ask which food outlets accepted payment through my wristband, and how we could access the Unwind bar. The lady assured us that most food stalls took it and directed us towards the bar which was behind the stage. Now our tickets were cheap (£100 ! 🙂 ) standard GA which didn’t actually allow access to the bar or the areas close to the stage. Still we followed her directions, and walked through a couple of gates without being challenged and ended up in the backstage bar and with access to the Tier 2 area close to the stage. Result! We had a burger and a coke each which just about used up the money on my wristband and found a spot to watch the Stones.
The Rolling Stones hit the stage around 8.30pm with Start Me Up. One thing struck me about the crowd last night. I would say the majority were in their 20s or 30s. Sure there were some old guys like me but not too many. And everyone knew all the songs and sang along and danced. This was much more a Stones crowd than at Glastonbury and you could feel the difference. The sound, the visuals and the atmosphere were all much better. No guest, but what we did get were Ruby Tuesday and Emotional Rescue, both of which I haven’t seen played for some time. For me the highlight of this tour has become Paint It Black along with Gimme Shelter and Sympathy For The Devil; but Ruby Tuesday was equally stunning last night with the whole place signing along. Oh and a mention for Doom and Gloom which is fitting in well and has become a favourite of my friend John. I voted for Street Fighting Man on the Stones website and was pleased to see them play it. You just can’t fault this band. They really are at the top of their game at the moment; Jagger is so fit and so confident; Keith is so cool and yep he does fluff some riffs now and then but hey he is Keef and he is allowed to now; anyway Ronnie more than makes up for any of Keith’s shortcomings and shines through as the musical backbone of the band along with Charlie who is just Charlie and who actually said Hello to the crowd last night. Oh and I can’t forget to mention Mick Taylor who must feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now and who pushed the band to greater heights in Midnight Rambler, which has also become a highlight of the tour. Which ever way you look at it this is the greatest rock band in the world. No question. As David and I left the park, the riff from Satisfaction still ringing in our ears my wondering started again. Could this be the last time? This time I think not.
Setlist: Start Me Up; It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It); Tumbling Dice; Emotional Rescue; Street Fighting Man; Ruby Tuesday; Doom and Gloom; Paint It Black; Honky Tonk Women; You Got the Silver (Keith); Happy (Keith); Miss You; Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor); Gimme Shelter; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Sympathy for the Devil; Brown Sugar. Encore: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with choir); Satisfaction
Thanks to David for the photographs
Archive for the ‘Rolling Stones’ Category
The Rolling Stones Hyde Park July 13th 2013
Glastonbury Festival 2013
I’ve already reported my thoughts on the Rolling Stones and Portishead sets at Glastonbury 2013, but I would also like to briefly reflect on my overall impressions of this year festival. We are just getting used to going to festivals again, having taken a long break from the days when we used to attend most of the festivals that took place in the UK throughout the 70s and early 80s. We have been to one day events in the years since then, but I really couldn’t face the prospect of camping and staying in a field for several days. Until 2010, that is, when Marie, David, Laura and I decided to take the plunge and go to Glastonbury. To my surprise and delight, we all enjoyed every minute of the experience, and we returned on 2011 and again this year in 2013. Glastonbury 2011 tested our faith, with a lot of rain and mud, and made me think twice about going this year. We hired a campervan in 2010 and 2011, but this year, partly as a result of the van getting stuck in the mud and having to get towed out by a tractor (which still gives me nightmares), we decided to try camping for real, in a tent (!) this time. So we bought a nice family size tent, and all the essentials: airbeds, stove, and even a blow-up sofa. We drove down on the Wednesday, arriving during the evening to get a spot in the campsite. Thursday was spent resting after the long drive, and moving all of all our stuff (we took far too much) from the car to the tent. Laura and David met some friends and left us for much of the time, joining us for the Stones and Portishead. We just took it easy, wandered around the massive site taking in the atmosphere, and caught a few bands along the way. Highlights of the acts that we did see were: Beady Eye on the Other Stage on Friday, Liam showing off his old familiar swagger, Bill Bragg rousing us all to think a little on the Saturday morning on the Pyramid stage, Elvis Costello singing all those hits on Saturday afternoon, Rufus Wainwright alone with a grand piano singing sweetly on the Pyramid on the Sunday afternoon, and Primal Scream, who seemed a little lost and didn’t quite get the crowd going before the Stones. There were a lot more acts that I had planned to see, but there are so many stages and so many things to do it just wasn’t possible to do so. And the weather was great. There was a little rain on the Thursday, which produced a small amount of the obligatory mud. However that mud soon dried up and the rest of the weekend from Friday to Sunday was sunny and hot. So we juts took things easy, rested some, walked around the site a little and caught a few bands. My main objective was to see the Stones, and that was achieved. Anything else was a bonus. We left later on Sunday, driving home before the crowds started. The vibe at Glastonbury is great; very friendly with people of all ages. We certainly didn’t feel out of place at all. So my faith and interest in festivals remains renewed, and we look forward to Glastonbury 2014 (hope we can get tickets 🙂 ). I think one festival a year of this type is probably enough for me now, and probably all I can cope with if I am honest with myself. I returned stiff and tired and have only just got over the whole thing. However, there are lots of other festival types and one day events that we intend to visit over the Summer, starting with Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis as part of the Manchester International Festival tonight and The Stones in Hyde Park next Saturday.
The Rolling Stones Glastonbury Festival 2013
We are still recovering from this year’s Glastonbury festival. The weather at the weekend was super, and Marie, David, Laura and I had a great time at the festival. For me the highlight was, without a doubt, the first appearance of the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury. I so wanted them to live up to the occasion, and by and large, they did. Their set had a few small changes from the gig that I attended at the O2 London last November. Anticipation for this gig was high, and the expectation of the festival crowd was pretty high. The Stones came on stage just after 9.30pm on Saturday night, opening with Jumping Jack Flash. Jagger was a bundle of energy strutting about the stage; Keith was Mr Cool chugging out those familiar riffs. We were sitting on a viewing platform towards the back, and the sound was clear but it just wasn’t loud enough. It did improve as the set progressed, but didn’t reach full volume. I heard later that some of the speakers near the rear of the field weren’t working. Nevertheless, this was a great opener and the crowd was completely up for it. The field was rammed; I’ve never see a place so full; I wonder how many people were watching Chase and Status on the Other Stage. Next up was It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, followed by Ronnie’s electric sitar signalling the start of Paint It Black. This song has become one of my favourites. The screens showed black and white images of the band; very sixtiesish. Wonderful; it just doesn’t get any better. Then we were into Gimme Shelter; Jagger trading lines with Lisa Fischer who did an excellent job. The next song was a surprise. Mick explained how he had spent Friday night visiting Shangri La and watching the Artic Monkeys (yeah right, Mick, sure you did) and then met a “Glastonbury Girl”, which was the title of the next song. Actually it was a reworked version of their 1968 song Factory Girl, with the lyrics changed to match (“offered her my luxury yurt” ! :)). A nice touch which went down well with the crowd, and although a little tacky was a pretty good song. Wild Horses followed and then a new track Doom and Gloom, which I’m sort of getting to like now. Then Jagger introduced Mick Taylor for Can’t You Hear Me Knocking. Don’t get me wrong, this was an excellent Stones performance, but it was around this point that I began to wonder what some of the crowd were making of it. Sure Stones fans would love it, but I sensed the majority of the crowd didn’t know (or care) who Mick Taylor is, and had never heard these songs. Still the crowd reaction remained strong and positive. Anyway next up was Honky Tonk Women which everyone sand along to. By this point I realised that we weren’t going to get any special guest; but hey who cares, this was Glasto and the Stones. Then Keith got his turn to lead on a couple of songs which were You Got the Silver and Happy. Mick returned for Miss You, and was joined by Mick Taylor for Midnight Rambler. This one took me back to Knebworth in 1976 (but, again, I would guess the majority of the crowd didn’t know it). Then we got another surprise. Mick announced that they were going to play a track from Their Satanic Majesties and the band launched into 2000 Light Years from Home. This was, apparently, the first time the Stones have played this for more than 20 years. The screens showed some great psychedelic liquid lens effects. Amazing. We were on the home run now. Sympathy for the Devil was next, and at this point the metallic phoenix perched on the top of the pyramid stage started to flex its wing and rise from its slumber. Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice and Brown Sugar completed the main set. For the encore, the band returned to play You Can’t Always Get What You Want, accompanied by the same choir as at the O2 gig. Satisfaction was the very last song with everyone singing along and Jagger being the ultimate showman. Excellent. The Stones nailed it and showed why they remain at the top of their game some 50 years after they started classic british rock. Was it good? Yes of course. I can think of only two areas that could have been improved. First the sound and the volume at the back of the field wasn’t as good as it might have been. And second I thought for a Glasto crowd a few more hits would have really slayed everyone. But then you really can’t always get what you want. David and I will see them again at their second Hyde Park gig on 13th July. I can’t wait.
The Rolling Stones O2 Arena London 25 November 2012
I am sitting on the 06.15 train out of London, returning home after an amazing concert.
Well they pulled it off. Last night the Rolling Stones gave me and 20,000 other fans a night that we will remember for the rest of our lives. I should never have doubted how incredible they would be.
I travelled down to London on Sunday afternoon, arriving in time to meet my son David for a chat and a pizza. I travelled across London and arrived at the O2 around 7pm, to make sure I was there on time, as we had all been told that The Stones would be on stage at 8pm sharp. I bought a programme, and took my cheap (£250 ouch!) seat in the upper tier. A lot has been said and written about the expensive prices of ticket for these 50th anniversary gigs, with most floor and lower tier seats costing £400 and upwards, and I wondered if there would be a lot of empty seats, but on the night the O2 arena was packed. The stage was modelled on the Stones’ trademark lips and tongue, with a standing area in the centre of the tongue where lucky fans could get close up to our heroes. Actually, I had a pretty good view up there; I was seated in the fourth row of the balcony, directly opposite the stage and could see everything that was happening.
The proceedings started slightly later than advertised, at approx. 8.20pm with a video of stars giving their views on The Stones in their 50th year, including Elton John, Iggy Pop, Johnny Depp, Pete Townshend, The Black Keys and Angus Young. Iggy told us “hearing Keith Richards’ guitar is like being hit in the face by a wet mackerel”! Next a troop of 100 or so drummers in Grrr Gorilla suits paraded around the floor area, filling the arena with sound and rhythm. Then the lights went down and Jagger and co took to the stage. First song was “I Wanna Be Your Man”, with Mick wearing a black and white jacket and matching trilby. We were back in the 60s, and the sound and playing was superb. From where I sat I could hear every word clearly, and it was crisp and quite loud. A screen at either side of the stage and at the back, in the heart of the mouth, showed images of the band in their youth. Next was “Get Off My Cloud”, followed by “All Over Now”. Mick was in a playful mood asking “How is it up in the cheap seats?” and adding “Oh they aren’t really cheap are they?”, and joking about how the band missed out on the Queen’s jubilee and the Olympics ceremonies, but just made it “under the wire” for these gigs. He took off his jacket, all dressed in black for an amazing version of “Paint It Black” and the whole arena sang along; Ronnie and Keith sharing guitar parts, with Ronnie on an electric sitar. Ronnie Wood really shone in those first few numbers, taking on most of the lead parts. However, Keith came more to the fore as the show went on. “Gimme Shelter” saw the band welcome their first guest of the night, who was Mary J Blige, taking the vocals alongside Mick Jagger: “It’s Just a Shot Away”; great. The tone and the pace were then lowered a little for a beautiful version of “Wild Horses”. “All Down the Line” was accompanied by a video of the Stones’ influences and heroes: John Lee Hooker, James Brown, Howling Wolf, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, and a host of others appeared on the screen. The next guest to appear was “one of our contempories” Jeff Beck who led the band through “Going Down”, playing some amazing guitar; very flashy, loud, and for a few minutes outshining the band who were clearly loving it. The next song was “Out of Control” from Bridges to Babylon, which was less familiar to me. Mick then introduced the two new songs “One More Shot” and “Doom and Gloom”. I must say that these two new tracks are not my favourite Stones’ songs, but they sounded pretty good last night.
Original bass guitarist Bill Wyman joined the guys for the next two songs: spot on versions of “It’s Only Rock n Roll” and “Honky Tonk Women”. The band, and the crowd seemed genuinely pleased to see Bill, who looked well, and had a smile right across his face, obviously enjoying being back with his old mates. Jagger introduced the band members before the next song, including Bobby Keyes on brass, who has been with the band since I first saw them in 1971.
Keith took front of stage for the next couple of numbers: “Before They Make Me Run” and “Happy”, singing and playing well, and giving Mick a well-deserved breather. Jagger returned with Mick Taylor for an unbelievable version of “Midnight Rambler” which took me back to shows in the 70s, and seemed just as dark and moody as it did in those days. Many say that Taylor was the best guitarist The Stones ever had, and last night his bluesy playing was exactly what was needed. We were on the home stretch now, and next up were “Start Me Up”, “Tumbling Dice”, and “Brown Sugar”, all crowd pleasers, keeping up the pace. The last song was a classic version of “Sympathy for the Devil”, Mick looking the part in a long black furry cloak. Jagger, Wood, and Richards were running around the edge of the tongue, playing to the crowd. Mick in particular has so much and energy and seems so fit, he really was performing just as he did in the 70s. The band left the stage to a tremendous reception; they had delivered 100%, the last two hours had just flown over, and everyone in the arena cheered for more. They were quickly back, accompanied by a choir for a sweet version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, followed by closer “Jumping Jack Flash”, with the voices of the crowd almost drowning the band. They left the stage for the last time at 11pm, the crowd clapping and shouting for more; then the tongue logo appeared with the words “Thanks for coming; have a safe journey home” and we knew that it was finally over. Apparently the set list had also included “Satisfaction” as the last song, but the strict curfew prevented them from playing it. So that was it. You have to give it to them; they showed all their critics that they could still deliver, and at a level that I haven’t seen for a long, long time. This was one of the best times I have seen The Rolling Stones; much, much better than the last time I saw them at the O2 in 2007. I can honestly say that I can’t think of any band to match last night in terms of performance, energy and the rich back catalogue that they have to draw from. And yes Mick’s voice held out, Keith can still play (and well too), Ronnie was great, and I mustn’t forget to mention Charlie, who sits quietly at the back, keeping the beat. And you could tell that they were all enjoying it. The self-styled Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World retains its crown for a while yet.
I caught a packed tube back to my Travelodge, which I reached at around midnight, and was up at 05.15 to catch this train. Wish I was going again on Thursday. Those of you who are, enjoy it. You won’t be disappointed.
Crossfire Hurricane The Rolling Stones movie live event
Last night was the premier of the Rolling Stones new documentary Crossfire Hurricane, and we all got the chance to be part of the event, which was screened live from the Odeon Leicester Square to 300 cinemas around the world. I attended the screening at my local Cineworld cinema at Boldon. To my surprise it wasn’t too well attended with 20 or so people in the audience. The screening started with a live simulcast (just picked up on that word) from the red carpet outside the Odeon, where we saw the four current members of the Stones arrive alongside past members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor and celebrities such as Liam Gallagher and members of the Stones wider family such as Jerry Hall, Anita Pallenberg and Jade Jagger. There were some interesting interviews with Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman who each commented on the documentary, and some plugs for the upcoming 50th anniversary concerts in London and Newark. The documentary itself is pretty good. It focusses on the Stones at the height of their success in the 60s and 70s, with nothing at all after that period. There is lots of previously unseen footage, and for me the film highlighted a few things: how important Brian Jones was to the early band, how crazy the 60s concerts were, and just how great the Stones are as a live band and as a musical force. A nice early evening’s entertainment.
From the official press release: “The Rolling Stones are to be chronicled in a kaleidoscopic new film, Crossfire Hurricane, that documents key periods of their career and their incredible adventures. The film features historical footage, much of it widely unseen, and commentary from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and former Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor, as well as rare interviews with Brian Jones. Period interviews, extensive live performance material and news archive footage will complete the documentary, which takes its title from the opening lines of “Jumping Jack Flash”.”
The Rolling Stones Shine A Light movie Cineworld Boldon April 17th 2008
I’m writing a chapter for a text on the Rolling Stones, focussing on my recollections of the Stones in concert. As part of that I’m also reflecting on the recent Shine A Light film, which Laura and I went to see in 2008. A strange one this in several ways. The cinema was pretty empty, which surprised me a little. There obviously wasn’t a great appetite for a Stones movie in the North East. Technically the film was outstanding, and the film sported some great guests playing with the band. However the set list was not a normal Stones show, and a little disappointing for me. I enjoyed the film, but wasn’t knocked out by it. Setlist: Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Shattered; She Was Hot; All Down the Line; Loving Cup (with Jack White); As Tears Go By; Just My Imagination; Champagne and Reefer (with Buddy Guy); Tumbling Dice; You Got the Silver; Connection; Sympathy for the Devil; Live with Me (with Christina Aguilera); Start Me Up; Brown Sugar; (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction; Shine a Light
The Rolling Stones The O2 Arena London August 21st 2007
I saw the Stones in Sheffield in 2006 on the first leg of the Bigger Bang tour, which was the 9th time I’d seen the band, and convinced me I should take every chance I could to see them so, when they returned to the UK a year later in August 2007 to finish the tour at the O2 Arena London, I decided to go and see them again, and bought myself a ticket. Having already paid top prices for David and I to go to the Sheffield gig, I couldn’t justify paying for a seat down the front, so I bought a cheap(?!) £75 ticket up in the heights of the arena in the top balcony at the side of the stage. I figured it would be interesting seeing them from that part of the arena anyway. On the night of the gig I arrived in time for support The Kooks, who played to a pretty empty arena, and a largely uninterested crowd. I knew their hit “She Moves in Her Own Way”, which is pretty neat. However the crowd was very much there to see the Stones, and everyone was waiting for the main act. During the interval I wandered around the arena, exploring the place, taking in the crowd and sharing in the atmosphere of a Stones gig. As I came down an escalator, an official with a pile of tickets asked me if I would like to upgrade my seat. He offered to swap my ticket for a seat “right down the front”. Great I thought. The deal was done, and with around 15 minuutes to show time I walked downstairs to take my new seat. My eyesight is not so good these days and not having my glasses with me I couldn’t read the row and seat number, so asked a steward for help in locating where I was to be sitting. “Oh you are in the middle of the front row of the front block, continue down to the very front” I was told! So, excited as a little kid, I took my place in the middle of the front row, in a prime £150 seat. The band/promoter/arena had clearly kept some fromt row seats back, presumably to give out to surprised fans on the night! 10 minutes later and the band took to the stage, with Keith, Mick and the rest of them only a few feet in front of me. I never thought I’d ever be as close to the Stones again. Jagger was prancing up and down the stage, incredibly lean and fit. They kicked off with Start Me Up, and went through a set of usual favourites. It was great being so close; the sound was loud yet crisp, the band so energetic, particularly Jagger. Awesome. I was buzzing for days after. Setlist: Start Me Up; You Got Me Rocking; Rough Justice; Rocks Off; Let It Bleed; Beast of Burden; Can’t You Hear Me Knocking; I’ll Go Crazy; Tumbling Dice; You Got The Silver; Wanna Hold You. B-Stage: It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It); Respectable; (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction; Honky Tonk Women; Sympathy for the Devil; Paint It Black; Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Encore: Brown Sugar.