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Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe/Phoenix, Arizona
Friday, Nov. 7, 1997

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Rolling Stones: Bridges to Babylon Tour, 1997/1998

 

Review by Bjørnulf Vik
(photos and comments by Max Sidorov)

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I (Bjornulf Vik) had always dreamt of seeing the Stones at the famous Sun Devil Stadium, as shown in the Let's Spend The Night Together movie, flying over the hill and the stadium. Well, the dream came through...

Phoenix was hot, indeed! The temperature during the day was 80F, probably like 25+ or so Celsius, really warm, like a European summer day. And the show was hot too!

We got SAINT OF ME for the first time during this tour. It was really good, even if Ronnie did the solo guitar works very different from the album version. OUT OF CONTROL really waked up the stadium. That song is really one of the highlights of the show. People started to dance and sing a lot, and kept dancing all through the show. And those who still wasn't turned out all went crazy when Mick did a really outstanding harmonica playing during the end of the song.

wpeC.jpg (16844 bytes)When running the internet web choice, they highlighted STAR STAR in blue, and Mick shouted out Star! Starfucker! Starfucker! Star!, just like a 5 year old boy who just learned how to swear. Brilliant duetting with Ronnie on that song!

During the introductions, Mick introduced Charlie Chu Chu Watts, and needless to say, Charlie was as surprised as us. Keith did his usual two songs. He say: It's good to be back. It's good to be anywhere!". Everybody is sitting down.

The movements in the crowd is bigger then I've seen in a long time. Security is tight, but somebody is deciding they want a real club show, and ask people discretely to pack up around the center stage. Nice security, indeed! I am 10 feet away from the "boys", and I am in Stones heaven. LITTLE QUEENIE, CRAZY MAMA and YOU GOT ME ROCKING. Mick, Keith and Ronnie moves around a lot. Chuck is turning around, asking us to clap our hands. Too soon it is over. Charlie's drumstick is hitting like one foot away from me, but I'm so deep in Stones heaven that I barely see the guy in front of me who dive desperately for the stick. wpeD.jpg (44705 bytes)

Mick is moving like a king back "home" during SYMPATHY. I rush back to my seat, and ask myself: "How short this concert is, really over before it is beginning, soon???" Well, we have still got 6 songs to go.

wpeE.jpg (14578 bytes)During TUMBLING DICE I notice flames behing the stage. Never seen that... Then the flames get wilder. It's real flames! I fear they will cancel the show, but nobody in the band is turning, they just keep playing. The flames are hugh. Most people probably think it is part of the show, but the fire brigades is not part of the show, they are there too, certainly for real. Lots of smoke, and before the song is over, the fire is gone. Scary experience!

Then they do Honky Tonk, and Start Me Up without flames. During JUMPING JACK FLASH I see a guy running from the far left wing. The stage runner is making it all the way, he is passing the backing vocalists, and is halfway between Ronnie and Mick. The security is at sleep. They have been very kind all through the show, but there is a balance between kindness and real security. Then, after what feels like a long, long time, Leroy, Mick's personal bodyguard wakes up. He is far to the right, next to Darryl, and runs like hell. He really runs, grabs the guy, who is just smiling, waving and dancing, with a firm grip around his waist, and just carry that tall guy out through the back of the stage, left to Charlie. OK, so Leroy is a strong guy, I always knew, and a gentle such. He didn't beat him up, but he probably told him a lesson backstage...

BROWN SUGAR. Final bow. It's over. Another short concert. The shorter they are the better they have been. They always run the same length, but they just feel so short!!!!

No fireworks. Probably banned by the fire brigade. But I didn't really miss them until somebody else in the crowd said so.

Well, I just wanted to do a quick Phoenix posting, but ended up giving you more of the concert. It was simply great!

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The local newspaper ran a story on the day of the concert, about a girl who went to the Phoenix concert in 1981, being pregnant in the 9th month. She went into labour during that show, and the baby was born before the Stones left the stage back in 1981. By then she had been taken out with helicopter and to the hospital in a hurry.

Today, i.e. 16 years later, she is pictured on the front page of the paper with her daughter, being exactly as old as the time between the two concerts (they haven't played the Sun Devil Stadium since...). Of course, both mother and daughter is going to the show. What a great story!

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Both local papers have the Stones on the front page the day after. "The Arizona Republic" is having the headline "Stones Rock", and a great stage shot with Keith on the video screen. "The Tribune" states in it's headline: "Stones still got plenty of flash, jack", and have two color shots of Mick and Keith on the front page. Inside they have an erronous setist. It is in fact the set list of the Ft. Worth, Texas show!

Show start time:  9:15 pm
Show end time  : 11:30 pm

The set list:  

  1. Satisfaction
  2. It's Only Rock'n Roll
  3. Let's Spend The Night Together
  4. Flip The Switch
  5. Gimme Shelter
  6. Anybody Seen My Baby
  7. Bitch
  8. Saint Of Me
  9. Out Of Control
  10. Star Star (web choice)
  11. Miss You
    -- Introductions --
  12. All About You (Keith)
  13. I Wanna Hold You (Keith)
  14. Little Queenie (center stage)
  15. Crazy Mama (center stage)
  16. You Got Me Rocking (center stage)
  17. Sympathy For The Devil
  18. Tumbling Dice
  19. Honky Tonk Women
  20. Start Me Up
  21. Jumping Jack Flash
  22. Brown Sugar (encore)

 


 

Review by Brian Preston

Three years ago, I saw the Voodoo Lounge Tour, and thought that I would never see anything that could match that. I was wrong. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees with clear skies. Third Eye Blind was a horrible opening act, they had one song and the crowd was starting to get a little rowdy when they finally got off the stage.

My heart raced when they the lights were turned off. The opener was Satisfaction, I about had a heart attack when the video screen shot flames out from all round. I was blown away. The boys were in great form. It was great to finally here Saint of Me. The crowd really liked it. Out of Control was used as a break for most of the 55,000 or so fans. I really enjoyed watching Mick dance and run the wings during that song. As for Gimmie Shelter, I want to join the Lisa Fischer fan club. She is beautiful and she can really sing.

The center stage was awesome. The whole thing from how they got out there to the songs played. Crazy Mama is a great song. I had never even heard of that one. The crowd really got into You got me Rockin. Sympathy for the Devil was a great song but it caused a little confusion among the crowd. After the song was over, one of the red flames tipped over setting the wooden bleachers behind the stage on fire. It was one huge fire. Mick and the boys ignored it and most of the crowd thought it was part of the show. During Jumping Jack Flash a man made up onto the stage. He caused no problems for the band simply raised his hands in the hair and then was quickly escorted off stage. The lights, pyrotechinics and most importantly the music were better than Voodoo. What a night.

 


 

Review by Robert Bagel

Each time I go to a Stones show, I never worry about seeing a great performance: I know the band will be excellent. Because of this consistent quality, I thought that it would be impossible to single out one Stones show as being the best I have ever seen. Last Friday in Phoenix changed that for me, however. It all started with Keith Richards, who played like a man possessed throughout the show.

The sweetness, clarity, and rhythm of his Chuck Berry chords on It's Only Rock 'n' Roll were jaw dropping, with looks and gestures between Ron, Darryl Jones, and Mick indicating their reaction was the same as that of the audience. The band seemed more comfortable with Flip The Switch than ever. A further hint of how superior this show would be came when this song approached its finish: Mick and Keith walked toward each other and Keith mouthed, "One more!" to Mick, nodding him toward the front of the stage for an extra chorus.

Keith was clearly a man who personally felt that he (of all guitar players!) was especially hot tonight. Keith's playing took the entire band higher, with Darryl's bass on Miss You being an unexpected and extraordinary highlight. Out of Control seemed like mostly Mick's song in prior times that I have seen it, but again Keith's rhythm at the finish was worth equal attention compared to Mick's harmonica. It almost seemed like a friendly competition for the attention and affection of the audience, with the result being a great song kicked up even another notch. Everyone was a winner from this contest!

The debut of Saint of Me was a highlight of highlights, with Ronnie's leads perfectly complimenting Mick as he put everything into what seems like a new signature song. The "Oh yeah" part was great for audience participation, and Mick excitedly high-fived Ronnie after the new song was done. It was easy to see that Mick was thrilled with how it came off, and with how the crowd reacted to it.

This amazing level of performance sustained throughout, with the Little Queenie/Crazy Mama/You Got Me Rocking center set sounding especially fresh. Even the confetti of Brown Sugar was perfectly distributed across Sun Devil Stadium by the gentle desert wind.

With the show over, it was difficult to comprehend that there could be one Stones show that stood out from all of the other great ones that I have seen. But in recalling the chain of magical moments throughout, it is easy to understand. Later as I walked north across the Salt River, I looked back and could see, right to left, a bright half moon enlarged by the Arizona sky, the mountain known as Hayden Butte, and Sun Devil Stadium, still buzzing from the greatest rock and roll show I had ever seen.

 

 

Last updated: October 30, 2003

 
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