This last weekend my wife Judith and I, along with my children Katie (15) and William (8), travelled to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. None of us had ever been in Ottawa which is a bit strange: it's the capital city of Canada, it has a rich history and great museums and restaurants, and it's about five hours from our house. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed both the city and the people we met there. I would be lying, though, if I told you we just picked Ottawa on a map and decided that it would be a nice place to visit. Granted, we did have a choice of places to go, but that's where we decided to see the Rolling Stones on the "A Bigger Bang" tour.
I saw the Stones once before, in 1975 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. I was seventeen and to this day I can't remember how I got my ticket. I went with some friends and, for all I know, they got the tickets and I paid $10 or $15 for mine. I do remember that I was very far away from the stage and it was the loudest concert I had ever been to. This time we were lucky to be closer, but we did have to pay more than I did in 1975.
The concert was in Lansdowne Stadium, about 2 miles from downtown. We took a cab from the hotel but were only able to get to within four blocks of the stadium because of traffic and closed streets. The walk around to the back of the stadium seemed even longer as we squeezed through the throngs of other concert-goers as well as the hundreds of people who were attending an amusement faire on the stadium grounds. Eventually we got through three ticket and security checks and were on the field about 5:30. At 6:00 the first band Les Trois Accords came on, followed by Our Lady Peace around 7:00. The Stones started playing at about 8:40 with fireworks and a excellent, and obviously expensive, light show. The set list was
My kids are Stones fanatics and they loved evey minute of the concert, as did Judith and I. Sympathy for the Devil was particularly good with red lights, smoke, and huge gas jets on top of both sides of the eighty foot high stage. Mick did such a good job of leading the audience that evidently the guitars were without sound for about two minutes and we didn't even notice. These guys have lost nothing. Mick scrambled from side to side, Keith got better as the night went along, Ronnie was allowed to showcase his guitar skills early on, and Charlie was solid despite his recent recovery from throat cancer. Katie claims that toward the end of the show Mick made eye contact with her when he came to within about fifty feet of us on stage left. All in all, this was one of the greatest concerts I've ever been to and it sounded like a rock band at their peak, not one who was dishing out oldies.
The new album A Bigger Bang will be released on September 6. For a limited time, you can hear the complete album on the Rolling Stones website. I particluarly recommend the last song Infamy, sung by Keith.[Read More]