Rolling Stones in Twickenham Stadium, London 20.8.2006.
It's been over 23 years since we last saw the Rolling Stones live. The date was July 1982 and it was the first of many concerts to feature big name acts performing in Roundhay Park Leeds. We are now in London to see them perform on their A Bigger Bang Tour. I know how much I have changed in nearly 24 years. I hope time has been kinder to Mick, Keith and the crew!
The venue is the Twickenham Rugby Stadium, used for England Rugby Internationals/6 Nations matches. It is a typical stadium arena, with 60,000+ capacity on 3 sides, plus floor seating at a premium price of £125 ( $190 ) and some on stage seating obtained through a ballot/lottery system.
As I approach the arena I resist the temptation to contribute to Mick and Keith's pension fund by forking out £15 ($25 ) for a brochure. Tight you might think, but £15?? Come on!! As my wife Val and I enter the venue it is already buzzing. It's a sell out . Great venue. All seated. I wish more citie sin England had a purpose built venue like this. It's really quite extraordinary that, citizens of a city the size of Birmingham (England's second city) have to travel to the likes of London and Manchester as Birmingham is consistently shunned by large acts on their tours of the UK because of the lack of a big enough venue.
A 60,000 strong roar erupts from the audience as, all at once, they get to their feet to greet the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. The next 2 and a quarter hours fly by as the band effortlessly perform their set spanning 4 decades of music. The set goes from classics from the 60's such as Get Off My Cloud and Ruby Tuesday , through to crowd pleasers from the seventies Brown Sugar and Honky Tonk Women right through to songs from their new album, (Streets Of Love, Oh No Not You Again, Rough Justice). One of my overriding memories of the concert in Roundhay Park all those years ago, was Mick Jagger's enigmatic, pulsating and vibrant performance. Bearing in mind his advancing years I was half expecting his performance tonight to have been adapted somewhat. How wrong was I. For the whole 2+ hours Jagger gyrated and performed on stage with such an immense spellbinding presence it was riveting. Pure entertainment. Jagger's distinctive voice seemed as commanding as ever. He showed his versatility too with a rendition of an awesome Ray Charles number (Night Time Is The Right Time).
Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards put in stellar performances and looked very much the part of two haggered old Rock and Roll party animals. Charlie Watts held it together with aplomb throughout. Considering the length and the pace of the 2 and quarter hour performance, it's a real tribute to the stamina of Charlie who, at sixty four, is just months away from collecting his state pension. I'm not sure how much he is relying on the money from his state pesnion though!
There were great special effects throughout, particularly on Sympathy For The Devil (lots of hellfire flames) and the moving stage during Miss You. The sound was clear and the playing was precise, tight and fluid. Very powerful overall effect. I had not realise dhow good Keef and Ronnie were until this show.
From both a musical and entertainment perspective these guys are just consummate professionals and after tonight's performance , in my eyes , justly deserve to keep their oft touted title of The Greatest Rock and Roll Band In the World ( but only following the demise of the unbeatable Led Zeppelin).
Thank you Malc for sharing this review.