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"'Brown Sugar' could save the world..."
adventures in oakland, 11/14-11/18
part II

11/15 tix

november 15: ladies and gentleman, night two!

Tonight there's a light rain falling as we walk out of the hotel and head for the car. Damn. We get to the Coliseum tonight around 6:30, find the Stones list tailgate party and down a beer very very quickly. My friend finally did make it last night, got to the Coliseum at around 8pm, and my other (local) friend also got there late. Tonight we are sitting together, a united PJ faction, and also united in our purpose to be in our seats by 7:15. Once again, there's this conflict, this "pj stress" as I'm calling it, but at least tonight I've got a support system.

We were up in the first deck tonight, section 131, right off the side so very close and right near one of the side video screens. (This becomes both a blessing and a curse.) i'm not so sure how great this will be for the stones but we're close at least, as close as we can be and still be in the stands. and at least it's the first deck.

7:30, we're hearing this weird drumming music that's clearly not part of the stones before-show tape and that i heard last night; it's kinda reminiscent of the drumming music pj used last tour and i say, "i think this means pj" and the lights go down and there they are again! we hear mike gently strum a chord and i go "oh, 'long road', this is gonna sound so fantastic in a stadium....." and it does. it does. it's gentle but powerful and fills the place up, fills me up with this incredible warmth and emotion. our section is 3/4 full and no one is asking us to sit down, which is a good thing. andy says eddie's wearing the same green army jacket, adored with buttons, that he was wearing at the catalyst (yes, he got in. damn him.) mike's hidden, we can't see him but we can certainly hear him.

"last exit" and it's clear this is going to be a completely different setlist than last night. it's equally clear that the band is very comfortable tonight, very happy, glad to be there. stone is right up front, jumping up and down in that trademarked stone gossard jump, ed's looking at the crowd. much less nervous.

"animal" is next, no, they are most certainly not nervous. it's great, i love this song, and this version doesn't disappoint. at the end, eddie sings, "i'd rather be, i'd rather be, i'd rather be with an english boy...." and we grin and i grin really big, at the nod to the stones and pete townshend in one fell swoop. only our ed could manage *that*. =)

eddie mumbles a bit before "hail hail" and there are some sound problems but it would take an awful lot for me not to love any version of this song. ed's pounding his chest over his heart, giving it his all. last night they were playing, tonight they are *performing*. eddie mumbles again at the end, something about it "still being dry out there". i think that pj was probably as stressed about the weather tonight as we were!

"evenflow" next, my notes say "stone is AWESOME, mike is effortless" and he truly is, the jam is extended again, eddie hanging off the mic like he always does, and stones in the "jumping groove" as andy puts it. he most certainly is and it's wonderful to hear. the sound is loud and clear even from where we are, but it wasn't much louder last night when i was down front. i am blessing the stones' multizillion dollar sound system at this moment.

after this song, eddie starts talking to the crowd, he's just chatting with us like he always does, and now i know for sure they are feeling really good tonight. he's off on one of his rambles, talking about it being the first concert he's been to or played at where he could smell cigar smoke, moves on to describing a fictional "baby boomers vs. gen x'er" clash in the parking lot before the show -- basically dismissing the bullshit that surrounded their decision to play these shows, both in the pj fan camp and the stones fan camp.

then he moved on to babbling something about how the promise keepers can fill stadiums and so should we, and then moves on into talking about iraq, and the news, and that last night he was "listening to the music and was so fucking happy" (yeah, ed, i know all about it... *sigh*) and it made him forget "all this war shit" and that "brown sugar could save the world" and the crowd (much fuller tonight for pj, people told their friends that they went on at 7:30 i think) cheered loudly in agreement.

this then went into the rap about how he'd like to have bill clinton sitting in the first row and saddam hussein, "well, put him up there somewhere," gesturing at the upper decks, and if they could just listen to the music, everything would be fine, but "don't fuckin' worry about it tonight."

"jeremy" is next, i yawn and roll my eyes, andy says "radio hits!" and that's true, but at some point during the song i am struck by how truly strong and powerful this version is, they are most definitely not going through any motions, i think it is just me but mahlon, who missed half the set last night and was really bummed about it, leans over to me and says, "this is awesome, isn't it?!" and i know it's not just me.

the opening chords of "brain of j" careen out of mike's guitar next and i clap delightedly and lean over to andy and mahlon to confirm its identity. ed's leaning back elegantly, screeching into the mic, and stoney is just ON, he's making faces and everything (see, the video screens were good for something!) and playing his heart out. love this song, happy to know that it'll be on the new album (probably), no matter what they call it.

here comes "daughter", sigh, whatEVER, let's just go with it. halfway through i notice eddie is shaking maracas, looking everything like mick jagger during 'sympathy for the devil' in the old days and i'd bet money that's where it came from. mike solos nicely during the tag, it looks as though eddie doesn't know where to go or what to sing and he sang something like "don't let the sun go down" and we didn't recognize it, but what the hell.

"corduroy" next, eddie's gracing us with some more townshend windmills, my notes say something like "hard and precision!" and it's another long jam. mike is very very prolific, it's a jam but it's totally focused and directed and he is, quite simply, playing like a motherfucker.

"wish list" follows, sounding better than it did last night. eddie's over working it out with stone and jeff, lots of interplay tonight but it wasn't that desperate born-out-of-terror-let's-hang-together interplay of last night.

"betterman", and ed's bashing his guitar against the mic stand, a nice touch. "do the evolution" follows and i am in heaven again, and ed is equally enjoying himself tonight. mike's playing a flying v, very cool (thank you andy for pointing that out), and i'm picking up more of the words tonight: "i'm a beast/i'm a man/buying stock on the day of the crash". i'm thinking that stone is just loving it, i noticed his cheesy background vocals last night, and it's confirmed when mahlon leans over to comment "stone's having a blast!"

"alive" is next, mc cready is just completely on fire, i just can't say more good things about his playing tonight. ed mumbles a bunch of blab about "thank you" and just when i'm thinking about how great mike was playing, we get "yellow ledbetter". and yeah, you all probably know how we feel about this one (jean on the cellphone later: "ewwwwwww"), but andy's theory is that mike was playing so well they figured they'd just let him at it. very nice, very very hendrix.

and the stones changed their setlist around tonight too, gave us "sister morphine" and "bitch", and blew me away when mick gave props to pj after the second or third song, thanking them for playing and how he liked their idea about saddam hussein and that he'd "send a few faxes". we were talking about this before the show, wondering if mick and the stones were checking out pj's set, and now we know for sure that he is! =)

two down, one more to go.....

[on to tuesday night!]

Copyright © 1997 Caryn Rose