The Rolling Stones in Chicago
June 2013
Reviews and Photos courtesy of "Benstones"

Reviews and Pictures of the Chicago’s shows
United Center
From Benjamin D. (France)

To see the pictures, please go under my reviews.

I know that there are other threads about Chicago but I am creating a new thread, more general, of my amazing experience of the three Chicago’s shows with some good pictures that I made. I hope you will enjoy it andI will do my best for you to understand my English.

Before beginning the reviews, please allow me to introduce myself , I am a young man from France. I am 23 years old and I am a huge and hard fan for a long long time. I know the Rolling Stones since I am 4 and my first show was in 1998. I feel so happy that I saw them many times on this tour but on the other hand I am sad that my dad, who passed away recently, couldn’t see the Stones at their best. He really missed excellent shows. He is the one who gave me my first Rolling Stones ticket in Stade de France (Paris) in July 1998, I will never forget that. Moreover, I also feel sad that my mum will “only” see the Stones in Hyde Park. This tour in the Arenas is just amazing. The best tour since I follow the Stones. The tongue pit is a great experience that my mum doesn’t know. My mum is a huge fan either. I am fan thanks to her. She has everything about the Stones. Thanks to her, I could discover the Stones by myself. No one in my family obligated me to be fan. Obviously, with her amazing Rolling Stones collection, it was very easy for me to become a fan.

So as I just said, I saw the three Chicago’s shows. It was my first concerts in 2013 after the two excellent New Jersey’s shows. I saw in Chicago my 11th, 12th and 13th show. Not the last because I will see them again in Hyde Park #1.

For the first show, I was with my friends Mireille from France and her husband Rainhart from Germany. I met them in 2007 during the Bigger Bang Tour, in Lausanne (Switzerland). Really nice people that I now consider like my family. We were in the Tongue Pit, front row, in the middle/Ronnie’s side. Very good location.

The first Chicago’s show was excellent. Gimme Shelter is one of the highlights of the show. Simply the best version I have ever seen on live. No one else than Lisa can do it. She is the best. And the interactions between her and the group are fantastic. Gimme Shelter is her song!
Also, it is the first time in my life that I cry during the set of Keith Richards. You Got The Silver was wonderful. I was just front of Keith and watching him during YGTS is priceless. Before They Make Me Run was also a killer version. Basically, I am a HUGE Mick Jagger’s fan. But this tour, Keith is fantastic. Yes, I say this tour because I saw some shows in 2007 where Keith was not at his best. The difference between 2007 and this tour is a miracle! Keith Richards is BACK!
The encore’s set was incredible too! At this moment I really told myself that Keith was definitely back! He was so confortable: he played very good and he used his famous gesture! It is hard to explain in English the gesture of Keith but every Stones fan understands I think. When you see Keith Richards the mouth open in a “O”, moving his leg up, playing with rage, it really means that Keith is in a good night.
About the guest, Taj Mahal, I can’t really say if I liked or not, because I didn’t hear almost anything. I had the impression that his microphone was off…
Whatever, the first night was an excellent show and for the first time in my life, I had a pick from Keith Richards. The pick felt down between the stage and the rail but the chef of the security (who is there at every shows) came to me to give me the pick. It was really nice from him because everyone was asking for the pick. I was not asking anything because I was concentrating on Keith who was doing a solo just front of me and the chef of security put the pic in my hands. I was so happy. I was waiting for this moment for a long time.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The second night was very special for me. It was the first Stones show for my girlfriend. She is not a fan but she knows all the warhorses and some rare songs that I love and sing all the time. She has no idea about what she’s going to see tonight. Again, I am doing the line very early (approx. 12am). My girlfriend is really surprised by the other fans. She thought that we would do the line without speaking to anyone but she found everyone very friendly. She even told me: “Do you know all of them? I have the impression that you are a family”. And she is right, when I go to a Stones show, I become friend with a lot of other fans very easily. But I have to recognize that American people are very nice and friendly, much more than in France. I find the American people more “open mind” than French or even European people. I did the line many times in Europe and it is just a horrible moment. Here in USA, everyone respects the order of the line. I am still very surprised.

Finally we are front row in the middle of the Tongue Pit, just under the microphone of Mick Jagger and between the two Teleprompters. On my right, I am with my new friends Nicole and her daughter Kelsey. (Nicole arrived at 7 in the morning). People are really nice around us, we speak a lot with the fans. I love this atmosphere!!!!

It is now 8.55 and the video begins (a little bit late). I am so excited to see the reaction of my girlfriend when the Stones will enter on stage. By the way, the video is really good and it makes the crowd crazier, it gives a lot of excitation. It is the first time of this tour that I don’t hear the guy saying “Ladies and Gentleman, would you please welcome, The Rolling Stones” because the crowd shouts too much, that is a very good sign of what we are going to see tonight!

The Stones are on stage, and I look discretely to my girlfriend. I see her very impressed by the entry of the Rolling Stones on stage. The show starts really good. I don’t hear any little mistake. I am always scared to hear imperfections, I don’t know why… I guess I like the perfection. Gimme Shelter is, again, excellent, with so much energy. Keith even started GS better than the first show. Lisa is on fire again. She communicates a lot with the group, kissing Keith and Ronnie. She provokes Mick a lot! She sings perfectly, this version of Gimme Shelter is a bomb! And the crowd knows and answers perfectly to Lisa when she finishes her vocals.
Then it is Shine A Light, the fans request, it is a good surprise that they did it really good. The voice of Mick is better than the other tours.
All down the line was a good surprise too, it was with Sheryl Crow. I don’t really like her but she did a good job. She knows Mick by heart, she didn’t seem lost or shy like some other guests on this tour. Of course I would prefer Buddy Guy as a guest but Crow was not the worst guest of the tour.
But one of the highlights of the night was Can’t You Hear Me Knocking. What a surprise! I was expecting Honky Tonk Women but when I heard the beginning of CYHMK, no one can imagine how happy I was. And to see the genius Mick Taylor on it was just fabulous. Best version I have ever seen and heard in my life (I heard CYHMK 3 times in Europe). Mick Taylor did an amazing job on it. Everything was just perfect on this version. I can now say: I saw CYHMK with Mick Taylor. Never in my life before this tour I would imagine that.
The set of Keith was a little bit less good than the first night, he looked less concentrated, but still very good job from Keith.
Another highlight of the night was Midnight Rambler. What an amazing version we had that night. The best version of Rambler in my life. Much much better than the New Jersey shows. Mick Jagger was on fire, Taylor was incredible again, all the band was really close. I will never forget it.
The rest of the show, the warhorses, were just perfect in my opinion. I don’t really like Miss You but let’s be honest, this song works so good on live. Fans can complain, but people like my girlfriend love this. Me too actually. I love Miss you in live. Mick is great, he does an amazing job. Not only thanks to his vocals. It is a show: Mick walking and singing around the lips of the Pit, with Keith and Ronnie playing all around the lips too, we all love that. Mick Jagger is the best front man in the world. Maybe arrogant, he never looks to the crowd, but he is very professional! No one can say that he is not good. He is the best!
The end of the show is very powerful! I especially love Sympathy this night and the encore’s set was formidable. The crowd was great! The best crowd of all the show I went to.

My girlfriend definitely loved the show. She spent 30 minutes in the phone with her family to tell them how it was. She is impressed by all the energy that the Stones have. She said: “I am 21 years old and they have more energy than me”. I am so happy she discovered what was a Stones show. This second night in Chicago was, I think, one of the best show of the 50 and Counting Tour. When I came back to the hotel, I couldn’t sleep at all. My mind was still in the United Center. I loved this show. This band makes me so happy!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The third show had everything to be less good for me. I was alone, without my friends, without my girlfriend and the people around me were really arrogant. 3 women from NYC were front row, like me, and they asked me to move just because they arrived first. I didn’t understand why they asked me to move because me also I arrived very early to have a good place. Actually, they asked me to move really far, and they were taking a LOT of place with their legs. But a couple of minutes after, I understood why: they were waiting for friends who didn’t have the tongue pit package. They were really arrogant and they didn’t respect the other fans. As I told them, I stopped arguing with them because they didn’t have the Rolling Stones spirit. This time I had a very good place, on Keith side.

The show was far from perfect but we had great moments in this Chicago 3. The first part of the show was excellent. During the first songs, I cried really bad. I can’t really explain why. I think this is something personal that you, fans, can maybe understand. Keith saw me crying and at the end of IORR, he smiled at me and did a wink to me. He showed me his guitar’s pic and tried to give it to me but the pic took another direction at the last moment. I already had a pic of Keith during the first show so it’s not that important. The most important is that he wanted to give it to me. I was a really moved by this nice gesture from Keith.
Gimme Shelter was much less good than the two first shows, I felt that Lisa was tired.
But Sway and Live With Me were the highlight of the show. Even if Sway is not a song for Mick Jagger, this version killed thanks to Mick Taylor.
As Tears Go By would be amazing without Taylor Swift. Mick began the song so good. Perfect vocals and Taylor Swift came… but why? I didn’t hear anything of her vocals, the microphone was not loud. For the eyes, WOW, but no no no, she ruins the song. I don’t mean that she did a bad job. But it is The Rolling Stones ! She doesn’t hold a candle to them. Mick alone with Keith would be so perfect. Emotional Rescue was a little bit limited this show, Mick was not really happy about his performance but Doom and Gloom killed today!!!!! I think it was the best version of the 3 Chicago’s shows. The set of Keith is again really good, I think better than Chicago 2.
The warhorses are not as perfect than Chicago 1 and 2 but it is not really important. The show is still very good. I think that I feel sad that it is my last show in an Arena. I will see them in London but I am so disappointed about the changings of the map (Tier 1 in now on the left).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To conclude, I saw 5 shows in Arena in 2012/2013. It was totally different than the other 8 shows I saw in Europe because I saw them in Stadiums. It was one of my dream to see them in smaller venues. I am a lucky guy. I don’t like to compare the shows but my favorite concerts this tour was Chicago 2, Chicago 1 and Newark 1. Newark 2 was excellent but there were too many guests. Lady Gaga was good but Lisa eats her easily. I didn’t like Bruce Springsteen. The setlist of the first Newark was incredible and John Mayer was for me the best guest of the tour. Around and Around was one of my favorite moment in my life. In Chicago, my favorite moments were Get Off Of My Cloud 1, 2 & 3, Gimme Shelter 1 & 2, You Got The Silver 1, CYHMK and Midnight 2, Sway and Live with me 3, the warhorses in general, Doom & Gloom 3, and much more...

Today we are the 8 of June. I am a little bit sad. I am scared that it will maybe the last time I will see the Stones in this disposition (Arenas). I met great people during this tour. From America, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada… We are all a family because we love the Stones.

I will see the Stones one more time now in London Hyde Park #1 with my girlfriend again and my mum. My mum and I are really disappointed about the location we will be. We bought the tickets so expensive and AEG changed the map. I hope we will have a good view but it will be of course totally different than the Tongue Pit.

Here are my pictures of Chicago 2 and 3. I decided to not take any pictures the first show. I hope you will enjoy the pictures. I used an old camera that someone lent to me. Which are your favorite pictures??

Hope to see some of you in London,
Benjamin D.