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Rolling Stones
A Concert Review

September 23, 1997

Soldier Field

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Left
The Rolling Stones are still the world's greatest rock and roll band, and they proved it again at Soldier Field (were they were also 18 point favorites against the Bears last I checked) as they kicked off the their latest tour in support of their new album, "Bridges to Babylon."

Before I discuss the show there are a few colorful characters that need to be introduced, the first of which I'll call "Beavis." Beavis is a male in his early thirty's who had been grossly over-served, which I know from first hand experience. My first clue to this was the fact the only words he could seem to pronounce were "Rolling Stones!!!!," which he repeatedly screamed at the top of his lungs starting about a half-hour before the Stones came on. I then made out through his slurred speech that prior to entering Solder Field he had trouble deciding if he should come in for Blues Traveler or stay on the bus and drink. The Dude on the Right quickly guessed he choose the latter. After some analysis I predicted he would last four songs.

More on Beavis later, now it's on to a strange couple of birds I'll call "Mr. LSD" and friend. Mr. LSD was an older gent, in his late fifties I would guess, who allegedly writes for a magazine called LSD (Lake Shore Drive). My theory is that Mr. LSD did a little too much LSD during the sixties for he seemed whacked out of his gourd. He was dancing around and made little to no sense when spoke. His "friend" was a nice lady also, I would guess, in her fifty's who was very embarrassed by his behavior. She too had a story to tell. She had her scarf catch fire on a hot plate in the hospitality tent. No one was hurt and the scarf looked unharmed.

Enough with the character descriptions, and on with the show. The night started with the realization that it's good to be a guy. The line to get inside Soldier Field was way longer for women than it was for men. I wondered to myself if a woman could frisk me if I waited in the other line (or maybe paid a little extra), but time was short and the female security didn't look like my type so me and the Dude on the Right continued on our merry way.

The Stones took the stage about 9:15, and were dressed to thrill. Mick was in a black jacket with turquoise stripes and a gold sequin back. Keith was decked out in a leopard skin trench coat, and Ron was sporting a bright red overcoat. With a flash of fireworks they tore into "Satisfaction." The band was in top form from the start. The first thing I noticed was the band didn't suffer from the loss of Bill Wyman on bass. Darryl Jones, a hometown boy made good, did a great job filling in what is arguable the greatest rhythm section in rock and roll. The unique twang of Keith's guitar ripped through the cool Chicago night. They ran through five classics including "Bitch," "Let's Spend the Night Together," and "Ruby Tuesday" on which Keith sang a haunting backup. Oh yea, Beavis, looking a little green headed for the exits during the fourth song, damn do I know my drunks. By the end of the first new song of the night, "Seen My Baby," Beavis had returned, but was much more subdued. In any case, the band followed with "19th Nervous Breakdown" and into another new song, "Out of Control." Mick played a little harp on this song and showcased that strut that made The Stones live shows a thing to behold.

As much as The Stones have remained true to their roots, they too have entered the 90's. The Rolling Stones web site has a place to vote for a song you want to hear at the show. Tonight "Under My Thumb" won out. They followed with "Miss You," during which they showed some bizarre sexual cartoons, as well as pictures of some fallen greats, Stevie Ray, Jerry, Muddy and more. Next was the Keith spotlight where he did two songs. A Keith Stones' song is a lot like a Phil Dead song. The vocals aren't great but there's something about them that is kinda' catchy.

Then The Stones did a Bears imitation. They marched from the end zone to midfield and stopped. They played three songs from a small stage in the middle of the floor. The first was the old Chuck Berry tune "Little Queenie," following into "Let it Bleed," and "Last Time." This got Beavis and Mr. LSD all fired up again. At this point Mr. LSD had switched from his baseball cap to wearing a captain's hat and dancing on his chair, and Beavis, not to be outdone, was doing his best to dance on his chair, but all he really succeeded in doing was falling on me repeatedly.

Well, the band then made their way back to the stage to crank though "Sympathy for the Devil," one of my personal favorites. The set continued with a mix for songs from the newer "You Got Me Rockin'" and "Start Me Up," to the classics "Tumblin' Dice" and "Honky Tonk Women." The show ended with a smoke filled stadium and a bitchin' version of "Jumping Jack Flash."

The encore of "Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Brown Sugar" were followed by a small fireworks display not really worthy of The Stones. The show ran about two hours from start to finish and it was nonstop party the whole way through.

Blues Traveler was the opening act for the show, and I have never been fan so I don't want to say a whole lot about them. I will say they were better than I thought they'd be. They did cool version of "Blister in the Sun," and ended their set with a rockin' version of "Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Mick's manic sprints across the stage may have slowed to a leisurely jog, and Keith, well Keith looks like a cast member from "Night of the Living Dead," on that big screen, but The Rolling Stones have shown once again why they are the world's greatest rock and roll band, and that's why they get TWO HUGE THUMBS UP from me. I just hope Beavis and Mr. LSD remembered what a great time it was when they woke up the next morning, or more likely the afternoon.

'Till next time, Hang Loose!

 

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