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Rolling Stones, Giants Stadium, NJ: Night time is the right time September 15, 2005

Posted by Anton A in British music, Rolling Stones.
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It was another Stones show at Giants Stadium, and possibly their best since the 1970s.  This is still a band that can take you places nobody else can; in the end, in spite of the high prices and the hassles of stadium shows that we all know too well, that’s what matters.

Mick keeps himself in phenomenal shape and is still a dervish on stage.  Keith, God luv ‘im, one of the most distinctive guitarists ever, drives a band like no one else.  Ronnie doesn’t seem to be smoking as many cigarettes this year.  Charlie, crisp as ever on the drums, looks happier and healthier than he has in years, even seems to have bulked up a bit.  Hope that throat cancer is gone for good.

Set list:

Start Me Up, You Got Me Rocking, Shattered, Tumbling Dice, Rough Justice, Ruby Tuesday, Heartbreaker, Night Time Is The Right Time, The Worst, Infamy, *Miss You, *Oh No Not You Again, *She’s So Cold, *Honky Tonk Woman, Out Of Control, Sympathy For The Devil, Jumpin Jack Flash, Brown Sugar, Satisfaction


You Can’t Always Get What You Want, It’s Only Rock & Roll.

*on the small stage

The first three songs had just the core five musicians on stage, no backup singers or horns;  what a great way to start the show that was. 

Ruby Tuesday was the surprise of the night.  If you follow the tour on line, you know that it’s pretty much the same setlist every night, except something different always  shows up in that slot.  Previous shows got such goodies as Paint It Black or Bitch

The real treat was Keith still doing the high harmony vocals.  A couple of tours back, Mick and Keith didn’t sing together at all, and I thought that might be the beginning of the end of the Stones’ touring life.  The interplay of their voices is one of the things that makes their sound so distinctive, and if the Stones were going to morph into Mick and his backup singers, well….  But apparently they figured that out themselves.  Or maybe Keith’s voice was just shot worse than usual that year.  Whatever, Keith was chiming in with the harmonies in unexpected places all night, which was one reason why this show seemed so especially vibrant.

Night Time Is The Right Time was a total show-stopper, with footage of Ray Charles on the big screen, and spellbinding vocals from singer Lisa Fisher as well as Mick.

The small stage set was superb, as a section of the big stage seems to detach itself and float above the floor audience down to the far end of the stadium (where we were seated).  In reality it’s simply on a big gurney, but the illusion is excellent.

The new songs rock, and keep the flow of the show going.  But when they moved into the last section, starting with Out Of Control (which, at the time of the Bridges album, I thought might be the last great song they’d ever write), they ramped up the energy level to really drive the show home and delivered one of the most thrilling stretches of rock & roll that I’ve ever seen.  Friends and I used to joke that if we had to see them do Sympathy and Jumping Jack Flash one more time, we’d scream, or at least take a bathroom break.  Well, not Thursday night; they delivered those songs with such ferocity and authority, it was like the first time out.  Just pure passion.

Keith seemed so charged up, he rushed the opening chords to Brown Sugar and pretty much turned them to mush, but the band quickly recovered it.  Bobby Keys delivered another scorching sax solo, as always; the guy is in a class by himself.

Satisfaction, OK, I had to take the bathroom break then, and it was the right moment.  The encores were sublime.  “Standing in line with Mister Jitters”; what a song.

Judging from the Net chatter, the Stones irked a lot of their fans by giving Gimme Shelter and Street Fighting Man a rest on this tour.  The way I see it, that just gives us something more to look forward to next time.  They’ve written so many great songs over so many years, how are they ever going to fit them all in? They may not always give you what you want, but I always get what I need.