Friday, 28 November 2014

Italia 2014 - 3 gigs in 3 days - Day 1 - The Rolling Stones in Rome

My yearly trip to Italy was originally planned for this concert. (I have already given a brief review here). But, as I do every time I go to a concert abroad, I looked at the listings around that date, to check if there was anything else I'd like to see nearby. And there was. In fact two of them, Arcade Fire and Motorhead in the two days following The Rolling Stones. But more about these later, in my next posts...

So, it seems that the Rolling Stones concert was the big event for Rome this year. It was taking place on a historic site (Circo Massimo) and although I've been to several Bruce Springsteen concerts in Italy (one of them in Rome) which normally attract huge crowds, I've never seen road closures to such an extent. I was able to walk from the Colosseum to the Circo Massimo in the middle of the road. It's like the historic centre of Rome was brought to a standstill.
Nevertheless, we arrived early and managed to get close to the stage. (No roll calls, this wasn't Bruce Springsteen!). And then came the long wait. It was quite a hot day, but it wouldn't be so bad if people were not walking back and forth trying to get to a better position within an area that was already too crowded. (So crowded, that even those people selling beer would not reach us. And this was the biggest problem of all!) On the other hand, it would not do much good to complain about that, remember, this was an open air concert (I still remember the lady from the couple sitting (actually lying) next to me who would complain each time (ie all the time!) somebody would step on the edge of her blanket and move her umbrella from its proper place!).

Anyway, the time DID pass and it was time for John Mayer to get onstage. He was quite good actually and he was clearly thrilled to be there, but when you're waiting to see the Stones, you tend to find most support bands a bit boring.
It was almost time for the Stones now. While waiting we were noticing a lot of activity in the VIP sections. Could that, for example, be Dan Akroyd in the stetson?

So the Stones where on stage and I realize it's probably the first time I'm seeing 70-year olds playing live. With no new album to promote this is going to be a "Greatest Hits" or "Best Of" show (actually a "Grrr!" one), so it looks very promising. (The "new" song "Doom And Gloom" is of course played). And there are actually a few surprises: "Streets Of Love" which I did not hear on The Bigger Bang tour is played! And since they haven't played many ballads on the shows that I have attended, the addition of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" during the encore is a bonus for me. (There was a rumour circulating in the Greek music press back in 1998 when they played Athens that Mick didn't want to play "Angie" anymore but this was probably untrue judging by the setlists that I've checked and the DVD's that I watched).

The second surprise of the night is "Out Of Control" from "Bridges To Babylon" which brings back memories of the Athens concert in 1998.
The night's request is "Respectable" which sees John Mayer coming back on stage to join them.

The songs that one always expects to hear on a Stones show are of course played (for example "Gimme Shelter" with Lisa Fischer), but in my opinion, the most important part of the night is Mick Taylor's presence, a link to the band's history, "Midnight Rambler" being his best, in my opinion at least, performance.
Keith's part consists of "You Got The Silver" and "Can't Be Seen". So no "Wanna Hold You" this time.
 There were rumours that the concert was going to be filmed for a DVD release (maybe, we'll see) and that Bruce Springsteen would make a guest appearance on "Tumbling Dice" like he did on a previous date. The latter, proves to be untrue... 

So the show is over and everyone's happy having seen a band play that have already celebrated 50 years of being together. The only thing that leaves a bad taste are the TV reports the next day showing all the rubbish left at Circo Massimo and the authorities wondering whether concerts on this site are worth the disruption they are causing on the city's life. Well, only the Romans can answer that. Would it be better at Stadio Olimpico? I think not, because it was this site, Circo Massimo that made this concert special...
01. Jumpin' Jack Flash
02. Let's Spend the Night Together
03. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
04. Tumbling Dice
05. Streets of Love (with Mick Taylor)
06. Doom and Gloom
07. Respectable (with John Mayer by request)
08. Out of Control
09. Honky Tonk Women (band introductions)
10. You Got the Silver (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
11. Can't Be Seen (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
12. Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
13. Miss You
14. Gimme Shelter (with Lisa Fischer)
15. Start Me Up
16. Sympathy for the Devil
17. Brown Sugar
18. You Can' t Always Get What You Want
19. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (with Mick Taylor)

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