Make no bones about, I f’n love The Rolling Stones. I’m not shy about my Stones fanboyness ever. They are as big of a part of my early rock and roll makeup as KISS. I saw them 10 years ago for the first time in Charlottesville, VA where a bomb threat interrupted the show.
The Stones are on their 15 date North American Zip Code Tour and booked a show in Arlington, TX and there was really no way I’d miss it. I was able to score a floor ticket near the back of Cowboys Stadium. Not the best viewing but not bad and a bit cheaper than most floor tickets.
Pablo and I drove up from Austin, grabbed some dinner in Arlington then made our way to our reserved lot. We grabbed some merch and made out way to the floor. He had a seat closer to the front. Grace Potter was the opener and we spent most of her set in the downstairs lounge. My foot has been bothering me lately so getting some sitting time was essential. After her set we just stood in the back of the floor area and people watched for a bit until about ten minutes before the Stones’, then we went to our respective seats.
The stadium roof was open, the lights went down and the Stones hit the stage with Jumpin’ Jack Flash and followed it up with It’s Only Rock and Roll. The crowd was electric and I was loving it. Mick sounded great. No surprise, he was all over the stage the whole night. I had seen previous setlists from the tour and they had been mixing it up a bit. The list remained pretty consistent until just after Moonlight Mile where they played a snippet of All My Exes Live In Texas then rolled into Rocks Off from Exile on Main Street marking the first time they’ve played it on this tour. Honky Tonk Women was next which included band intros. Mick left the stage after and Keith took over for Before They Make Run and Happy. He’s got this childish grin that just cracks me up. His voice sounded pretty good, as good as expected. For as old as he looks, he still retains some teenage boyishness about him. Ronnie and Charlie were both great. Charlie’s unorthodox drumming style is difficult to watch, but he gets it done.
The whole band sounded great, just like I expected them to. Look, The Stones aren’t the tightest band in the world, but they never were. But they’re great. They did a heavy rocking version of Miss You that was just great. The whole show was a blast. Surprisingly, I don’t think it was sold out though. It was close. I hope it’s not the last time I get to see them. I would love to have seen Monkey Man and a handful of others, but I’m not complaining. The Stones truly appear to enjoy playing live even after 50+ years of doing it. I can’t speak highly enough about Mick’s voice. There were some high notes that he hit that just blew me away. I honestly didn’t want the show to end. It was a blast. The 4 hour ride home was rough, but we made it.
Long live The Stones.
To call me a punk fan would be the overstatement of the decade but there are a few bands in the genre that I’ve always liked including Circle Jerks, Black Flag, JFA, Dead Kennedys, Reagan Youth, some Sex Pistols and GBH…especially GBH. Not sure how I became a fan but it was probably through a roommate I had in the 90s. I’ve always wanted to see them and that last few times they came to town I just happened to be out of town. That changed last night.
Opening the show was L.A.’s Total Chaos. I had heard a lot of people slagging them prior to the show as being generic. They didn’t do anything for me but the crowd seemed to enjoy them. I caught half of their set and went to another bar for a bit. Local punks Krum Bums came on next and I’ve seen them a few times before. They were solid and are definitely a local favorite. I only caught the tail end of their set.
We got back to Red 7 right before GBH went on and I secured my spot with a decent view of the stage and away from the pit. They came on at full power with original singer Colin Abrahall saying, “We are GBH from Birmingham, England” and went right into their set with a newer song (2010) called Unique then went back to the Leather, Bristles, Studs, And Acne album with Race Against Time. GBH still has original guitarist Colin “Jock” Blyth and the whole band was killer. The show was sold out by the time GBH came on and they rolled through their set with only minor banter between songs. I got to hear all of my favorites and they played most of City Baby Attacked By Rats and the Leather album and a few from the follow up, City Baby’s Revenge. They were solid and I had a great time. Glad I finally got to see them live.
Tonight marked the third time in as many decades that I’ve seen RUSH. First time was in Chapel Hill, NC on the Counterparts Tour. My main takeaway from that show was that RUSH was having an off night. They didn’t sound tight and I can remember seeing Peart dropping a stick a few times. Not helping was that Candlebox opened. I also caught the R30 Tour in Virginia Beach, VA. The main thing I remember from that show is how utterly bored I was overall. It was cool that they played By-Tor and the Snow Dog and some other classics, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was supposed to catch them on The Power Windows Tour but my grades were bad and I had to sell my ticket. Bummer.
I hadn’t planned on seeing tonight’s show but after a decent poker game last night, the show ended up being free. I scored a ticket mid-day and rode with some friends to the show. I had spied the current setlists before buying my ticket and the selection looked pretty good.
They opened the show with 3 songs from Clockwork Angels, all of which I was not familiar. They then went into Far Cry, which I like, and The Main Monkey Business from Snakes and Arrows, another that I wasn’t familiar with. They continued with one each from Vapor Trails, Counterparts and the title track from Roll the Bones. As a new song from each album was played, the “crew” from Moving Pictures would change stage props matching what the stage looked like on each respective tour. The setlists from the last 4 shows showed them playing either Distant Early Warning or Between the Wheels from Grace Under Pressure. Sadly for me, we got Between the Wheels. That was pretty much the only letdown for me. They finished their first set with Subdivisions and that finally got the crowd going.
The second started with Tom Sawyer and then into The Camera Eye. Some stops on the tour were getting Red Barchetta. I was a-ok without it as The Camera Eye is probably my favorite song from Moving Pictures. This set was great containing Jacob’s Ladder, Cygnus X-1, much of 2112, Spirit of Radio, Closer to the Heart and Xanadu.
The encore was really good and consisted of Lakeside Park from my favorite RUSH album, Caress of Steel. They then went into Anthem and 2 from the debut to close the show, What You’re Doing and Working Man.
It was an enjoyable show and easily the best of the 3 times I had seen them. Geddy’s playing was superb. He also botched a few lyrics here and there and it was good to see him be a human even though he had a teleprompter on his keyboard. His voice sounded pretty good and he didn’t reach too hard to hit notes he knew he couldn’t hit. Peart was on his game as was Lifeson. It was noticeable, however, that many of the songs were played slower than their original album speed. That was no surprise as those guys aren’t getting any younger.