The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 1, 1997 · Page 28
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 28

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, October 1, 1997
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Page 28
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4 WEDNESDAY. OCTOBER 1, 1997 APPLAUSE THE SALINA JOURNAL THE ROLLING STONES: THE SPARK IS STILL THERE By JON PARELES c. 1997 N. Y. Times News Service CHICAGO — As the Rolling Stones started their new world tour here at Soldier Field on Tuesday night, everything was golden: the curtains, the inflatable women, the frame for the video screen, even the speakers clustered overhead. It's a none too subtle reminder that the Stones are likely to rake in huge profits as the tour circles the world through next year, reactivating the rock-and-roll cash machine that grossed $124 million when the band last toured three years ago. For starters, Sprint reportedly paid the band $4 million to $6 million as the tour's main corporate sponsor. Soldier Field's 63,000 seats were sold out for opening night, and of the seats that have gone on sale for other dates, priced at Up to $60 each, 92 percent have already been snapped up. But once the Stones start playing, the only corporate logo to be seen is the band's famous tongue, rotating like an old-fashioned LP on a turntable. The Bridges to Babylon Tour, promoting the album that is due for release on Tuesday, has all the things big stadium shows are expected to muster strobe lights and video montages, costume changes and fireworks, backup singers and a horn section, and tolerable doses of new material (three songs) among the oldies. A $3 million sound system was so clear that it was possible to hear the lyrics, even in a Chicago wind. Mick Jagger, still skinny and rewed up at 64, racked up ample pedestrian mileage in a set that lasted 2 hours 20 minutes, strutting long walkways that curved into the audience from both ends of the stage. He pouted, he shimmied, he pointed his finger and he Jumped around. And he was a one-man fashion show, layering long dusters and shiny, skin-tight club wear against the chilly autumn air. Thirty-five years into their career, the Stones are a good-time band, singing about memories of debauchery rather than its continued possibility. A song like "Let's Spend the Night Together" shocks no one anymore; "Sympathy for the Devil," which never actually advocated devil worship anyway, is now an excuse to listen to Keith Richards' telegraphic guitar jabs and hoot "Whoo! Whoo!" But Jagger sang them with spirit, selling them as hard as he did three decades ago. He brought back his mock-Southern accent on "Let It Bleed"; he made a new song, "Out of Control," sound like a genuine plea instead of a down-and-out pose. With a few exceptions, the set list on opening night concentrated on songs about love and lust If there was any message behind the band's song choices, it was about holding on to kindness (a theme that ran from "Ruby Tuesday" to "Rock and a Hard Place") and about simply rocking on, from "It's Only Rock and Roll" to "Start Me Up" to the new "Flip the Switch." Like U2, the only other band now on the stadium circuit, the Stones played a few songs on a small stage in the middle of the audience. Unlike U2, they didn't treat every song as an elaborate music- and-video set piece. Often they just wandered around while they socked out the songs, the thing they do best What keeps the Stones from being smothered by their production is that they still play like a bar band, not a show band. Richards and Ron Wood constantly rerouted their gui- Whits® Server Only 3/4 Thread Differential Limited Quantities IDWEST SEWING & VACUU 340 S. Broadway • 825-0451 • 9-5:30 M-F. 9-5 Sat. When you t/i/nk of Windows think ofWoyne. Wayn«W«tz«l, Owner DougWctnl - (9I3) 827-5600 Carl Stricter • (913) 827-5050 "I never knew it was so easy to sand these hardwood floors. I'll save a bundle doing it myself/ thanks to Just Ask Rental!" Floor sander from Just Ask Rental... \ 2106 S. 9th and 460 S. 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And when they hit the set's home stretch of swaggering riff-rockers — "Honky Tonk Woman," "Start Me Up," "Jumping Jack Flash" — the open- tuned power chords were a rock paradigm, never regimented but al- ways perfectly aligned. The band had some contemporary trappings, at one point using the video screen to show its Web site (http://www.the-rolling- stones.com), where fans had voted to add "Under My Thumb" to the Chicago set (perhaps indicating that Internet addicts have problems with women). When the band moved to the smaller stage, Jagger was wearing a shiny silver hooded shirt suitable for a night at a rave. But he was singing Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie." It hardly matters if the triennial new Stones album is mostly filler (as it is) or if the tour is surrounded in hype and hustling. On stage, the Stones still play rock-and-roll with its primal spark. 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