Rome’s Circus Maximus is the perfect venue for the greatest show on earth – the Rolling Stones, larger than life! The Stones are like one giant family who roll together, and this time we rolled with them, black vans dashing from hotels, through barricaded streets, into back entrances and heavily guarded areas well before the ‘concerto’. The guys were surprising chilled, I think they’ve done it before – I was actually the nervous one, the build up was extraordinary! The main men: Keith, relaxed, quiet, but a force. Charlie, light, divine, sharp wit. Ronnie, a legend, the technical whizz, the elf. Mick, absolute focus and other worldly presence.
The set up is huge, technicians, musicians, security, all running everywhere. The stage set, perfect for a venue that is more than half a kilometre long, the band were blown up on huge screens to be 70-80 feet tall….epic!
As for the concert – extraordinary! The sound great, the energy incredible. The Romans had been entering Circus Maximus since about lunch time. The Stones came on at 9.50pm, as scheduled, opening with Jumping Jack Flash a light and pyrotechnics show. Mick was absolutely in control the whole time, so many of those wild gestures signaling tweaks to pace, volume, balance; he’s the conductor, the pied piper and everyone follows. Keith, a true showman positively loves being up there. Ronnie, the glue between all of them, played perfectly. Charlie nails the drums – and looks so smooth. The back-up singers, Lisa and Bernard, holy cow! Tic Tac on the Sax, the bass player used to play for Miles Davis so I’m told. The odd performance by Mick Taylor, still like a Jedi on his Strat.
During Brown Sugar (pre-encore), we were whisked off, back to the vans and out of there with the grande famiglia. What a night. After a few night caps to wind down, it was off to bed. Today we’re back chilling in Puglia.