Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Rolling Stones rock Abu Dhabi

The magic begins. The Rolling Stones start the concert on time

Wow! I still can’t get around to saying anything else!
And I was there!!!
“There” is of course the kickoff, right here in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, to the legendary Rolling Stones’ 14 On Fire tour.
It was a dream come true to see these legends live, thanks to the friendship and generosity of my friend Kamal, who got me the ticket as a Christmas present.
I was really, really there!
And I got upgraded to Fire Pit, meters away from the stage
I was also lucky to go to the concert with a great group of friends -- thejamjar owners Hetal and Neel as well as Michal and Preety. And to top it all, we were upgraded to the Fire Pit, right in front of the stage. It couldn’t get any better.
After arriving at the fantastic du Arena on Yas Island for early entry at sunset, we entered the Pit, got comfortable and braced for a long wait. But no… Although they are among the biggest stars in music, they not only started on time, but about 10 minutes before 9 p.m.

As Mich Jageer led the band on stage, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe they were actually right there, a few meters from me. I am sure everyone else had the same feeling.
Some of the 30,000 fans who attended the memorable concert had come from all over the world. There was one father and his son from Scotland, the American couple on their 28th concert and the Danish couple attending their 48th.

Two men behind me knew every single word of every single song. At one point it was difficult to tell if it was them singing or Mick Jagger. I guess there are always spoilers. They also took the excitement out of the surprise of the next song as they knew the song list by heart and announced it each time.
Although I was there to mainly see Ronnie Wood strum that guitar in the flesh, Mich Jagger is absolute magic and charisma; Keith Richards, well you have to see to believe; Charlie Watts did have a few smiles. And Mich Taylor, Chuck Leavell, Bobby Keys and Lisa Fischer just added fairy dust to the magic.
Ronnie Wood
Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards
The band gave their all for nearly two hours. Mick was relentless, running up and down the 40-meter runway into the crowd and even got Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards to join him at one point. He dazzled in super sequined red, green and purple sequined jackets over his Rick Owens black top. He ended with a red-feathered coat.
A relentless Mick Jagger...
... kept running up and down the 40-meter runway into the crowd
The energy among the band members only comes from a partnership of years. And it was refreshing to see Ronnie and Keith smoking on stage without all the politically correct mumbo jumbo.
They kicked off with, Start Me Up and wooed us with It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It), Angie, Paint It Black and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

There was also: You Got Me Rocking, Tumbling Dice, Emotional Rescue, Doom And Gloom, Honky Tonk Women, Band Introductions, Midnight Rambler, Miss You and Gimme Shelter which UAE fans voted as their favorite song and requested on Social Media platforms.
Keith Richards: "I'm happy anywhere"
Keith Richards sang Slipping Away and Before They Make Me Run, telling the crowd, “I’m happy to be here,” and adding: “I’m happy to be anywhere.”
But above all, it was the music that was absolute magic. Every guitar strum, every drumbeat, every key, every sound was pure rock’n’roll and pure gold.

We were treated to two encores, The first with Sympathy For The Devil and Brown Sugar. The second with You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with the UAE’s Al Khubairat singers) and to top the night (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
But satisfied we all were. (You can see more pictures here.)
If any fans in Japan, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand -- where the “boys” take the 14 On Fire tour next -- are in any doubt about getting tickets, do it! You won’t regret it.

Thank you Mick, Ronnie, Keith and Charlie for the music and the magic. Keep rocking…