Sound: Friday, October 21, 2005, Charlotte. For many people that live in Charlotte, it was the first time that they would step in the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena (because the ribbon cutting was the previous weekend). The sound was amazing! They opened up with 1981's "tattoo you" classic, Start Me Up. As usual, Mick Jagger's voice was well, Mick Jagger. Singing surprisingly well for a 50/60 something year old man. Ron Wood and Keith Richards were on top of things again with their classic style of guitar playing, nailing every solo and every chord. For the main part of the show both guitarists used Fender Stratocasters (singlecoil) and Telecasters. During acoustic songs such as Wild Horses, keith plays what looks like a Gibson Hummingbird. During Start Me Up (opening song), there were some squeals here and there from amplifier interference but it was quickly fixed and there were no problems at all after that. There were some other painful moments, ie Keith Richards singing Wild Horses and You Got The Silver, but he only sang those two songs equaling about eight minutes so it wasn't that bad. Overall, the sound was great, guitarists nailing ever note, and Mick Jagger doing his thing on stage. // 9
Perfomance: I've seen a lot of performing classics (Styx, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi, The Who, and .38 Special among the better ones), and never have I been more impressed with a live performance. The highlight of the show of course being when the stage actually moved (with the whole band on it) into the crowd, during Honky Tonk Women. The atmosphere was classic, drugs, beer, naked hippies, and during the whole performance the crowd was standing up and singing along to all of the songs. They only played one or two songs from their new album, (A Bigger Bang), which created an experience that could probably only be recreated in the seventies and eighties. Songs included were (the ones from Bigger Bang are left out becuase at the time, I didn't recognize them):
01. Start Me Up - classic song, they opened with this song and the whole crowd was pumped. A lot of excitement, and it was understandable, the stones were two hours late.
02. Jumpin' Jack Flash - probably one of the few times in history a capo was used on an electric guitar with a lot of distortion. Keith Richards is a genious.
03. Midnight Rambler - probably one of their best songs, not because of the riff or lyrics, but because the nearly five minute improvisation solo Keith Richards has been doing since the early sixties.
04. Mother's Little Helper - Yet another classic from their first albums, it wasn't as good as the studio version but Mick Jagger had amazing stage presence during this song.
05. Next were two songs from A Bigger Bang, then a few lesser known songs in which I kind of zoned out and was entertained by the light show going on in the background.
About two hours into the concert came the power lineup, including the songs everybody came to see. First up was Gimme Shelter, a fantastic song including an instantly recognizable solo guitar in the background. And Mick Jagger was singing so great you couldn't even tell it was him singing. After that came the first (yes there were two) climax of the show, Honky Tonk Women. When Keith Richards and Ron Wood started playing this, the crowd instantly awoke from it's slumber, stood up, yelled around, danced, and sang along to one of the Rolling Stones most popular songs. Not to mention, after the first verse the whole stage started to break away and moved into the middle of the crowd. Probably the best stage efect I had ever seen in my life. The crowd didn't settle down once after this song. The acoustic classics followed this song. Starting off with Love in Vain, which sadly, Keith Richards sang. Still, every note was pulled off with perfection. Which demonstrates Keith's amazing ability to sing like a drunk and play like a sober at the same time. Wild Horses followed, and Keith actually pulled this song off better than Mick Jagger did in the studio version. Which demonstrates his amazing ability to sing like a sober and play like a drunk at the same time. The Rolling Stones took an acoustic break playing piano hits such as Get Off My Cloud and Ruby Tuesday, both of which were perfectly played better than the studio recording, very much like the other songs played. Finally, The Stones played You Can't Always Get What You Want, another Stones classic, this got the crowd singing again, and was a WHOLE lot better than the studio version, without the intro singers, and can you say amazing acoustic guitar solo?. The lights turned off and the Stones left stage. Everybody was dismayed, did they forget to play Sympathy for The Devil, Paint It Black, and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction? A couple fans left, then, out of the blue, a startling spectrum of fast moving pitch-black, and blinding white, lights came on. Everybody heard that classic Sitar of Paint It Black and until now, never before had I heard the crowd louder than the band (forty-eight thousand people in an arena mind you) and the whole crowd started singing Paint It Black. Equally as impressive, the Stones played Satisfaction and the crowd, yelling ever louder now so that you could barely hear anything went absolutely nuts. Finally, the Grand Finale, Sympathy For The Devil. The most impressive song performane I had ever seen. The whole arena went red and black and Keith and Ron played an extremely impressive extended dual solo. Overall, the performance was the best performance I had ever seen in my life. The whole audience was crazy and I loved it. // 10
Overall Impression: Charlotte, NC, USA, the new Bobcats Arena, Friday, October 21, 2005. Joss Stone opened, played three songs, and got booed off the stage. The moving stage, the atmosphere, everything was perfect, better than my dreams even. The only bad part was Keith Richards singing. I paid $421.00 for a VIP ticket, but I got them before the tickets were even released to the public, because I work for a radio station. It was definitely worth the money though. There were a lot of unforgettable moments, the beer, drugs, naked hippy girls, just seeing the stones was unforgettable. If they ever come back to Charlotte, once again, I will be the first one to buy tickets. // 10