Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Rolling Stones, Olympic Stadium, Rome July 6th, 2007

The greatest rock’n’roll band in the world touched down on planet earth, more specifically on the Eternal City, after a 17-year absence from Rome (and I was there for that one too). Two hours of great non-stop music which kicked off with their classic, “Start Me Up”. Jagger, Richards, Watts and Wood were in splendid form, a notch higher than last year’s concert in Milan’s San Siro stadium (perhaps given to Richards banging his head after falling from a tree and Wood with his drinking problems). I was fortunate as I got to sit in the press box of the Olympic stadium, site also of the 1990 World Cup final between W. Germany and Maradona’s Argentina (and I was there for that one too!). The great thing is that I got there using an old NBC pass from when I worked two years ago for NBC and anchorman Brian Williams during pope JPII's funeral and the Conclave. I just went marching up to a security guard who knew English like I know Swahili! The guy panicked and let me by to the second guard, who also let me by. I made my way into the press box where some gracious twenty-year old hostesses again blocked me. They too knew English poorly, and so I got to not only sit comfortably about 200 metres from the stage, but I also filmed it and took about 500 digital pictures!

The concert, which lasted two hours, had the following list:
1. Start Me Up
2. Got Me Rockin’
3. Rock Justice
4. Rocks Off
5. She’s So Cold
6. Ruby Tuesday
7. Can You Hear Me Knocking
8. I Go Crazy (a James Brown song with a truly magnificent Lisa Fischer on vocals!)
9. Tumbling Dice
10. A Richards’s song
11. Happy
12. Miss You
13. It’s Only Rock’n’Roll
14. Can’t Get No Satisfaction
15. Honky Tonk Women
16. Sympathy For The Devil
17. Paint It Black
18. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
19. Brown Sugar

And Jagger? At the ripe old age of 64, he was simply fantastic. A great concert which also had in the crowd Rome’s mayor, Walter Veltroni, and Martin Scorsese who had just shot a film-documentary on the Stones. Jagger hit the nail on the head with what he said a zillion tears ago, “It’s Only Rock’N’Roll (But I Like It)”! (all pics by M. Rimati)

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