Rolling Stones – Licks Tour Europe 2003 Amsterdam (Windmill-002A/B)

 Licks Tour Europe 2003 Amsterdam (Windmill-002A/B)

Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – August 19, 2003

Disc 1 (70:56):  Intro., Brown Sugar, You Got Me Rocking, Don’t Stop, Rocks Off, Wild Horses, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Paint It Black, Saint Of Me, Miss You, Introductions, Slipping Away, Before They Make Me Run

Disc 2 (64:32):  Sympathy For The Devil, Star Star, I Just Want To Make Love To You, Street Fighting Man, Gimme Shelter, Honky Tonk Women, Start Me Up, Jumping Jack Flash, Satisfaction

The Rolling Stones played five shows over the course of eight days in the Netherlands on the Licks tour in 2003.  The last was on August 19th before 52,000 in the Amsterdam ArenA.  Licks Tour Europe 2003 Amsterdamuse a very good but noisy audience recording of the show.  The PA doesn’t seem to be at full strength so the music is quite soft and the audience around he recorder are loud and demonstrative.  Its chief virtue is picking up on the vibe of thousands of people in an arena enjoying the Stones. 

The concert itself is tough to get through.  After the introduction they try to start with “Brown Sugar” which is a complete disaster.  Windmill reproduce two reviews posted on the It’s Only Rock And Roll website and both point this out, saying:  “Well the Stones opened up with ….. huh what the hell did they open up with?!? I’m still making my mind up! Keith came up on stage and started something that vaguely reminded me of Brown Sugar, but he messed it up completely and I mean FULLY completely! It was that bad that Ron Wood looked as if he saw water burning. He seemed ready to call 112 for an ambulance. Holy shit what a way to start a show! So bloody embarrassing. I got a feeling of what am I doing here? And I kept having that feeling the whole show, despite Starfucker on the b-stage. After de Kuip II, Ahoy and Vredenburg this show was one too many for me!”  (Wilco Shepen)

And:  “Well, back on earth again. I still was in heaven after the Vredenburg show until 21.20 I was dropped on earth again when I heard the first chords of Brown Sugar. This is the most played song this tour (98 times already) but for sure it has been also the most fucked up song. Really bad to start a concert like this. I was standing at Keith’ side 15 meters from the stage in the first section and the sound was just OK, for but I could imagine that their must be a lot of echo’s in the back of the stadium.”  (Hendrik Mulder)

Despite the rough start and the lackluster performance, the audience have fun and there is much of interest in this concert.  “You Got Me Rocking” is much more effective in getting the audience moving and is much tighter than “Brown Sugar.”  Before “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” Jagger asks, “How are your voices tonight.  Strong??”  The crowd sings along to the song and continue by turing “Saint Of Me” into a football chant by the end, continuing singing the song even after the band are done playing.

After “Sympathy For The Devil” they move onto the b-stage accompanied by cool groovy jazz preserved on this recording.  They play “Starfucker” on the Licks tour for the only time and “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” in a slow bluesy arrangement for one of the very few times. 

The show ends with rather standard arrangements of “Start Me Up” (which has trouble getting started), “Jumping Jack Flash” and the long “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”  While there is much charm in the performance and energy from the audience, there are much better recordings from the tour.  This serves as a good souvenir for those who were there, but is certainly not essential.  The Windmill is an ad hoc label releasing three of the shows from the Netherlands (since windmills are normally associated with the country).  The label also released Licks Europe Tour 2003 Utrecht (Windmill-001A/B) with the August 16th Utrecht show and Licks Europe Tour 2003 Rotterdam (Windmill-003A/B) with August 15th in Rotterdam.

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