Pleased to meet you

{mosimage}They are
very close to the Steel Wheelchair Tour 2010, but on Wednesday The Rolling
Stones
confirmed once again that they are the majesties of rock and roll. As
usual, the Stones put an extraordinary show supporting an unbeatable collection
of songs that can hide any defects (which are many) of their playing.

 

After a
stormy and cold eve, the good weather and the sun did not want to miss one more
Rolling Stones concert in Finland: a nice summer evening welcomed an audience of
35,000 people at the Olympic Stadium. The band came on stage around 9pm with a
big bang of fireworks and the famous riff of Start Me Up and everyone stood up.
It was a rocking start in which the band adventured into an odd succession of
songs, which included not so popular songs such as All Down the Line, She’s So Cold
or Love Is Strong and ended with the country rock ballad Sweet Virginia.

This was
the most outstanding fragment of the show. All the special effects were put
aside and on stage there was just an honest rock and roll band with all its
virtues and defects. Although focused on the show more than one could have
expected, Keith Richards’ playing is nowadays more erratic than ever, hitting wrong
notes or just stopping playing. But that’s Keith Richards, anyway. Ron Wood showed
some nice slide guitar playing, Charlie Watts played a solid beat as usual and
Jagger held everything together.

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This first
part of the show manifested the curse of the Stones. The tremendous popularity
and the stadium do not seem to allow them trying new things. Of course, they
just do not need it, although the music would improve if they would bother to
dig deep into the band’s repertoire or to explore the country influence that has
been present in many of the Stones albums. Sweet Virginia sounded sweet, with
Jagger laying down some good country vocals. They could easily deliver great
performances like the ones that were compiled in the magnificent Stripped album.

After the
extended jam of Can’t You Hear Me Knocking and Keith’s moment (he sang amazingly
clearly You Got The Silver and he looked amusing hugging his guitar in I Wanna
Hold You
), the concert became predictable: all the hits. But there is not a
better collection of rock classics. It’s the greatest hits of rock and roll. It’s
the time for the visual show: the trip to the back of the stadium with a moving
stage, the giant balloon tongue on the stage… Sympathy for the Devil is the
great “golden god” (or better evil) moment for Mick Jagger. Dressed in a red coat
he stood on top of the stage. But that’s what deserves. He is the best frontman in
rock and so it showed in Helsinki: dancing, running from one side to the stage
to the other, speaking Finnish to salute the crowd…

During the
last segment of the show, the whole band sounded tighter, louder and rocking.
They played a terrific version of Paint It Black that was probably the most acclaimed
song of the entire night. The encore of Brown Sugar preceded the fireworks and everyone
was happy.

There were
no surprised, but again… it’s only rock and roll!

 

Toots &
The Maytals

Introduced
as the greatest reggae band opening for the greatest rock and roll band, Toots
& The Maytals were indeed a good opening act. The Jamaican band played a
short set based on from its first album: Pressure
Drop
, Funky Kingston and even the cover of John Denver’s Country Road. It was
just a pity that a stadium is such a big place for an unknown legend like Toots
Hibbert and his band and the crowd did not pay the deserved attention.

The only bad
thing of the evening was the tight security. One wonders if it is really
necessary to have one security guard for every 100 people during a seating concert, with a
mainly mellow and aged audience. Indeed the security did not help at all to create
an enjoyable atmosphere, especially when the guards would not allow anyone to
dance or move more than ten centimeters from his place. After paying tickets costing up
to 100 euro, the audience deserves some right to enjoy the show and not be
observed and watched like a flock of sheep. After all it was just a rock concert,
not a mob convention.