Stones Talk About Opening Night Strategy

September 25 [10:00 EDT] -- The Rolling Stones still draw little if any argument when they're referred to as "the world's greatest rock and roll band," and further proved their right to that title when they kicked off their Bridges To Babylon tour Tuesday night in Chicago.

The band hit the stage, which was designed by Mark Fisher, the man behind U2's PopMart spectacle, and treated the 54,000 fans gathered at Soldier Field to a night of Stones standards as well as a few surprises.

"Basically we try and start off with a good, kicking song that everybody knows that you haven't started with before," Stones guitar slinger Keith Richards said of the band's choice to kick off the tour's first date with "Satisfaction." [1.3MB QuickTime]

"We like to change the show every night, keep it interesting for the band and for the audience. It won't be the same show every night," Richards promised.

"See that's when you know people

are feeling confident. If Mick comes to me and says, 'Lets change five songs from the last show we did,' then I know my man's feeling good about the band. The whole idea of my job is when he's out there, half a mile down the stadium, that he feels totally confident about what's happening. That's the job is to make him feel free." [Mick Jagger Feeling Free, 1MB QuickTime]

However, when your bag of tricks is as deep as the Stones', there's no way to fit everything into one show, for numerous reasons.

"I can't remember half of the gigs," drummer Charlie Watts confessed. "Only at these occasions, I remember the ones we do. Ronnie writes them on a piece of paper. I don't remember half of them actually, to be honest." [800k QuickTIme]

Considering that the Stones have forgotten more great songs

than most bands will ever dream of recording, there's still plenty for the band to choose from on stage. And if the Stones looked like they were enjoying themselves Tuesday night, it's because, for most of the band, there's no place they'd rather be.

"I'm most happy when we're on the road," guitarist Ron Wood said. "It's that, 'Ahh! At last I'm with that huge family again.'" [500k QuickTime]

But again, as with most things Stones-related, Watts is the odd man out.

"We wouldn't be doing this if it was up to me," Watts told MTV News. When asked what he would rather be doing, Watts replied, "I'd be in bed. You know, I'm very lazy." [600k QuickTime]

In addition to working on Watts' work ethic, the band might also want to brush up on its knowledge of the opening acts selected

for this tour. When asked about Tuesday' opening act, Blues Traveler, Wood said, "I was told, but I must admit I've never heard of them." [500k QuickTime]

"I should be (familiar with them) shouldn't I," Watts said. "We went through a list of one of them. I've forgotten them. Blue..." [1MB QuickTime]

"Hey, you know me. Any band's all right with me," [400k QuickTime] Richards said. "These guys don't do it unless they want to."

Maybe the Stones and Blues Traveler will get to know each other a little better during the tour. Next they play Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday. Opening future tour dates for the Stones will be Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Sheryl Crow, and the Dave Matthews Band.


if you're hoping to catch the band this time around and you're wondering what you can expect to hear, here's the band's set list from opening night:

  • Satisfaction
  • It's Only Rock and Roll
  • Bitch
  • Let's Spend the Night Together
  • Between A Rock and A Hard Place
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Anybody Seen My Baby
  • 19th Nervous Breakdown
  • Out of Control
  • Under My Thumb
  • Miss You
  • All About You
  • I Want to Hold You
  • Little Queenie
  • Let It Bleed
  • The Last Time
  • Sympathy For the Devil
  • Tumblin' Dice
  • Honky Tonk Woman
  • You Got Me Rockin'
  • Start Me Up
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash
  • You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • Brown Sugar