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Rolling Stones Reviewed And Viewed

Rolling Stones Reviewed And Viewed

Words Sean Gillespie – Images Karim Sahai

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Coming up to the stadium, the usual tell-tale signs were there: overflowing rubbish bins, huge queues at the railway station, fast food stands and a busker playing Stones tunes.

The pilgrimage of darkly-clothed people descending on the Cake-tin was like something out of a 1960’s alien invasion movie.

The mammoth stage had what must be the largest section of front row seats a concert has ever seen. It stretched out to the stands on both sides and a large catwalk extended the stage to the centre of the stadium, hinting at excitement to come.

As the lights went down, the buzz in the audience started to build up and was further intensified by a deep vibe pulsing out of the speakers and the stage’s 30-foot screen. The fireworks shot into the air as the on-screen entertainment took us through space with an odd variety of props and landed us at the concert.

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First on the stage was Keith – smooth and stylish. Then came Ronnie and Charlie. Mick was last out to thunderous applause and everyone knew it was time to rock.

An energetic Jumping Jack Flash was first up. Stuffing the mike in his black shiny pants, Mick got the crowd clapping their hands above their heads with him as he wooed the audience into submission.

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Mick jokingly commented on their last appearance in Wellington 40 years ago, “I don’t even think I was alive in ’66.”

The next few numbers included the well-received new song “Oh no not you again”.

Mick lets us know he knows where he is, thanking the people from Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay and various other regions for coming. The crowd gave appreciative roars for each area until Mick said, “…and as even far away as Auckland”. Humorous boos took over

Half way into the set, Mick left the stage letting us focus more attention on Keith. Dressed in a green shirt with a purple jacket, Keith sung “This place is empty without you” with a haunting, bluesy voice. Though not as energetic as Mick, Keith certainly showed off a bit of style pleasing the audience.

After a couple of songs Mick returned to sing a catchy and thumping “Miss you”. Half way into the song a small section of the stage, including the band, lifted up and rolled down the catwalk giving the audience a thrill. On the way down the band were almost touching distance from the crowd. Keith strummed hard, looked in my direction, threw his guitar pick down and smiled. The pick has the Rolling Stones tongue pictured on one side and Wellington with the date on the other.

The stage and band landed in the middle of the stadium and belted out “Rough justice” before launching into a stomping “Start me up”. Hands were clapping right up to the highest seats in the stands. The audience loved it.

The moving mini-stage started returning during the banned-in-China “Honky tonk woman”. As the stage rolled past you could almost smell the band.

“Sympathy for the devil” and “Paint it black” both kept the audience whistling, clapping, smiling and screaming.

After playing a sexy “Brown sugar”, the band left the stage to thunderous applause. The crowd knew it wasn’t over. There was still at least one song that had to be played.

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Keith came out first, re-holding the lime light for a moment before Mick, Ronnie and Charlie came out to launch into “You can’t always get what you want”.

We were seduced by a pro who had been doing it for years.

Unlike Auckland’s set, the last number of the night was the eagerly anticipated “Satisfaction”. Still full of energy, Mick strutted and danced from one side of the stage to the other pushing himself right to the edges and getting the crowd to sing along, “Sat-is-fact-i-on”, again and again.

And it was – Satisfaction.

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ENDS

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