Sunday 20th August 2006
I’m one of thousands of people making their way to Twickenham Stadium and I’m hit by a cloud of greed surrounding the stadium that actually included paying £25 to park your car in a Church Car Park! – “Money goes to charity” says the tubby bloke at the gate as I reverse in disgust – even Jesus’ followers are cashing in on the mighty Rolling Stones tonight but ‘oof, take that Jesus‘ as your nut jobs are getting nothing from me tonight! £25 to park my arse!
Feeder open up tonight’s show with bags of confidence and handle the stadium like it’s the Dublin Castle as they crack out hit after hit but people are waiting for one thing and one thing only and as The Stones step out onto the mammoth rig, 70,000 people go insane to the sounds of ‘Jumping Jack Flash‘ and has me leaping out of my seat with everyone else.
The stage looks like a hotel or even an ocean liner has been dumped into the middle of the stadium. Lights hang from every nook and cranny and people who paid £1000 for exclusive tickets are waiving from the stage either side of the monstrous screen so that people in Row Z don’t miss a thing. As rain pours out of the clouds above, Mick Jagger that has to be careful of where he dances – roadies with towels are soaking up the water as ‘Start Me Up‘ follows the opener and the band are looking good, in fact they are looking amazing! The rain stops as ‘Sway‘ drops over the speakers from Sticky Fingers, although Jagger has to ask the band members which album it was from, then a slower track followed by the classic ‘Ruby Tuesday‘.
The orange and electric blue lights fill the stadium, and I’m sure it looks like a ship, I go with this thought as Mick takes a guitar and performs ‘Streets of Love’, one of the lead tracks from the new album ‘A Bigger Bang‘ that will be released this September – the first studio album from the band since Bridges to Babylon in 1997 but all I want tonight are the classics. I’m a virgin to The Stones live and as I crave for ‘Paint it Black‘ and many more I have to remind myself that these guys have been playing for over 40 years and I should just be patient because you know they are gonna go out with a bang.
Keith Richards has a solo moment and just about makes it through ‘Slippin’ Away‘ and then through the fluorescent bulbs and smoke comes the chicken run! Oh yes, the entire band and keyboard player are moving towards us on a floating platform! The atmosphere reaches a new height as we all sing ‘Get Off of My Cloud‘ at the tops of our voices followed by ‘Honky Tonk Woman‘, and the incredible ‘Sympathy For The Devil‘ where the entire crowd is singing ‘Woo Woo!’ so loud that the local ambulance station must have felt slightly insecure of their technology as this noise was far more superior accompanied by flames the height of a house. They were 100 ft away and felt like they almost burnt your eyebrows off! Add the infectious ‘Brown Sugar‘ to this moment and a party massive was going on here, it was absolutely amazing.
As this was happening you felt like you were at a small gig with the band right there in front of you, and when they were not stranded on the chicken run, Jagger was running full length of the field all night long, amazing really for a man his age. Saying that though, we were invited to this show by one of the crew who has been working with them for 20 years and he said to me that he had not seen the band this hungry for shows in a long time. He said that they were on fire and have a new lease of life in them, so much so that they extended this tour for another year, but he said that this could also mean that it could be the end of an era and they may be going for it for the last time – only time will tell on that note.
The encore exploded with the monumental ‘Satisfaction‘ which literally shook the earth and as this song bit the dust tens of thousands of people stood there with the same hat on. For these cherished moments are what we live for, that split second where you know you have witnessed something special, something so classic that you could not replace it with any other artist.
I didn’t get ‘Paint It Black‘ or ‘Wild Horses‘ but what I did get was a feeling worth its weight in gold….something the Church may have forgotten about in this day and age…