Another Paris first: My first rock concert. Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones performed, frolicked, jammed, teased, and tantalized tout Paris last night at the Stade de France.
Vincent, my partner and I took the RER D, which is the Paris commuter railway, to the concert. By the looks of what everyone was wearing, most people on the train were going to the concert. The sweetest site was a young 20-something guy wearing a rolling Stones T-shirt with an older man in his late 70’s who was probably his grandfather, father, or uncle. I hope I have cutie like that to take me to rock concerts when I am in my 70’s. The stadium was about a twenty -minute walk from the station as I bitched and moaned in my New York style about why they couldn’t build the stadium closer to the station.
The Stade de France is a massive outdoor stadium much like Shea Stadium in New York. Although we had good seats, the stage was hundreds of feet away in this anything but intimate setting. It was a sultry night with dark clouds threatening rain and we were lucky to be sitting in seats that had a roof over us. As we waited for the show to start, we perused the crowd and were amused by all the variations of the lips & tongue logo on Tee-shirts, jackets, light-up pins, tank tops, etc. the audience was wearing.
In typical rock concert fashion, it was 9PM and we were patiently waiting for the 7:30PM show to start. Rock concert behavior is universal, and the crowd got restless and started to do a series of waves. Refusing to participate by folding my arms against my chest, I laughed at the naiveté of the crowd believing that by doing waves, the Stones would come out sooner. Fat Chance!
The Stones rolled out at 9:30PM (sorry, that pun was too good to pass up) preceded by a bells and whistles show of fireworks and colored lights. The boys were in fine form, looking and sounding great. Mick especially looked good as he just turned 63 two days before and it was apparent he didn’t look like a senior citizen who was going to retire and collect his social security anytime soon. Keith Richards brilliantly performed two solo songs on guitar dressed in a Kelly green shirt and purple sequins headband. He looked like he recovered just fine from the Fiji tree falling incident. I know the Stones have an eternal youthful spirit, but what the hell was a sixty plus man doing climbing a tree?
They did mostly crowd pleasing classic songs including You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Honky Tonk Woman, Miss You, Jumping Jack Flash, and Brown Sugar. The highlight of the evening was a fierce blues driven cover of Ray Charles’s Nighttime is the Right Time, with an electrifying solo by one of the female back-up singers (Unfortunately I can’t locate her name anywhere, so if anybody knows who she is, please post it as a comment). The only thing that was missing was a few more ballads and I longed to hear Angie. They finished with a bang with Satisfaction, which the audience had more than “got”.
I’m a lucky guy having been able to see the world’s greatest rock band in the world’s greatest city.