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Sunday, December 01, 2002

Tumbling Dice

Once again, IORR (It's Only Rock n' Roll, The Rolling Stones Fan Club of Europe) provides a great blow-by-blow of last night's show, along with the full set list. Here's my own take on the highlights.
  • Best moment: first moment. Kieth Richards striding out from a darkened center stage, blasting the opening chords of Street Fighting Man as he came on.
  • Best use of the back- and over-stage video monitors: hard to say, because the monitors consistently are a great addition to the show. They're performance art, a live-action music video with cameras capturing angles you least expect, projecting in turns to an enormous full screen or split perspectives. I liked the Ronnie Wood cam, a small, cylindrical affair strapped to the neck of Ronnie's axe during If You Can't Rock Me. As Ronnie ranged the stage, the camera flashed a fret's eye view of his riffs and the rest of the band. During Wild Horses, an L.A. freeway traffic scene -- fourteen lanes across -- topped the stage, with white headlights streaming down and right, red taillights snaking up and left, and the right front quadrant dominated by a "billboard" of Mick intoning this classic. Finally, during Honkey Tonk Women, an exclusively g-string-and-thigh-boot clad avatar of male fantasy had some interesting interactions with the familiar Stones Tongue. Let's just say she gets hers in the end.
  • Best move: to the "B-stage," for Mannish Boy, Only Rock n' Roll and Brown Sugar. Think Elvis Presly '68 comeback special. Square platform, audience level, minimum of amps and gadgets. Playing to all sides, pick-flicking gleefully into the crowd, twenty feet away from our seats just behind and right of the soundboard. **Bliss**
  • Best showman: a surprise pick here, Ronnie Wood. He non-stop flirted with the crowd. His enthusiasm was palpable. You expect this -- and more -- from Mick so to see Ronnie having so much fun was a kick.
  • Best snapshot: Ronnie and Kieth proving they can still puff and play.
  • Best Jagger wardrobe change: this requires some context. I don't know if these are at all the shows, but I doubt it (?) because they're not sold at the concession stands with the official tour merchandise. Someone in the MGM Grand was selling lighted "Tongue" pins that flashed, blue and red. In the darkened arena, this was a great effect as you saw them blinking all over the crowd. It took forever for the band to transition from the B-stage for the encore. Just as the crowd noise was cresting, twin rows of flickering blue/red lights emerged from the darkness of the main stage, coming forward. Mick had rounded up twenty or so of these things and pinned them down the button lines of his shirt.
  • Best people watching (husband's contribution): the five women in front of us were indistinguishable from Kate Hudson in "Almost Famous." And extremely friendly with one another.
  • Most "Wha'?" moment (husband's contribution): Would they really leave a verse out of Sympathy For The Devil? "I shouted out, who killed the Kennedys..."
  • Most effective post-show consumption of Red Bull: cut with soda, on ice. Mixing this stuff with vodka makes very little sense, and drinking it straight is not an option.

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