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Posted by The Storm on February 12, 1999 at 03:14:03:
Just a few observations while they're fresh in mind, before I grab a few hours of sleep so I can work tomorrow. Tonight's show was surging with energy, but let me make a few more specific points:
1. Mick and Keith appear to be absolute best buddies again. They embraced at least three times: right after "Memory Motel," just as Mick was introducing Keith for his two solo songs, and right after the encore, when Mick went out of his way to grab Keith and put his arm around him. Much more so during this show than for the B2B shows I saw (one in Vegas, one on PPV), Mick was going out of his way to prance on over to Keith and interact with him. They were smiling at each other and really seeming to like each other. I was shocked. Then it occurred to me: Probably Keith, sensitive guy he is, is helping Mick get through his divorce. Probably Mick now needs this lifelong friend more than in 2 decades. Maybe that sounds a little sentimental, but no matter how much a wandering spirit, Mick's got a sensitive side, and I clearly got the impression he's leaning on Keith a bit emotionally and psychologically to get through this. I suspect that's all going to be for the best for the Stones.
2. Mick's voice is 100%. On several occasions he yelped and blurted out falsetto "bay-bays" and such. You could tell he had full confidence in the voice, and he sounded great.
3. They've sharpened YGMR up a bit. It's got more...something...than it has on the "No Security" CD; something I couldn't quite nail down. It sounded a lot better and was a real crowd please, so I could see why they added it.
4. Keith and Charlie have transformed "You Don't Have to Mean It" from a reggae song into just a slighly Jamaicanized rock-and-roll song. They reggae beat has been turned upside down, and Keith takes a couple of powerhouse rock-and-roll guitar solos in the song that make it sound very different from the Bridges version or the Vegas version. I really liked the Vegas version, though I always thought it a rather silly song that sounded out of place on "Bridges" (as, indeed, everything else does). But this version I liked better. There was still syncopation, but it was more subtle. The changes turned the tune into more of a rocker.
5. Never again, if at all I can help it, will I see a show in the Arrowhead Pond. The acoustics were terrible. You could hardly make out the songs from the small stage. Part of it may have been that they went with a cheaper sound system this time, one that was way too loud compared with the "Bridges" system, on which you could hear every crisp flick of Charlie's sticks. I suppose they had to cut a few corners to keep the costs down, but the overall sound was a bit disappointing, even though the band played with extraordinary energy, talent, and enthusiasm. (I'd be interested in hearing how other people who've heard them in other settings think the sound comes off this time--especially those who saw them in Vegas, a venue built for music.)
Well, that's all. Ya gotta see 'em. Now I'm looking forward to San Jose--and that June
release, which maybe Mick and Keith are already starting to get excited about themselves,
also partly explaining their on-stage camaraderie. They've got something good they're
going to unveil in the spring, and they know it.