Sure, it had been 70 degrees and sunny in Chicago on Monday, but by Wednesday night when the Stones were to play Soldier Field, it was down right bone chilling cold. Reminiscent of the United Center Shows in January! The wind off Lake Michigan gave us a wind chill into the low 20's come showtime.
My friend E and I began the trip the day before the Stones gig by staying at our usual hotel, the Fitzpatrick, which is now called the Affinia, bought out by another Irish Hotel chain. Hopefully the refurbishment, brings it back to where it once was.
We wandered over the the Penninsula to see Blondie & Jim from Big Karma Records and had to wait, the 4 of us, and 2 other folks for the bar to open. Ugh. Bad idea. It was a cigar bar and the smell when they opened the door was enough to turn your stomach (later it did, mine). We hadn't eaten anything and we'd had a beer at the airport, so we decided to have a few drinks, 2 martinis to be exact. E & I chatted with Blondie & Jim and then went across the street to Walgreens to buy Blondie some Riccola throat lozenges. Unfortunately, upon our return to the bar I began to feel ill, and when Bernard came over to ask "Hey Lena how you doing?" All I could muster was "I feel like I'm gonna barf!" Sorry B! LMAO. Anyway, long story short, we headed back to our hotel to take a nap, my nausea worsening. Ordered room service & couldn't eat a bite. We both took a nap and shit when we woke up it was around 9pm! We were supposed to have gone to Tim Ries's show at Martyrs, but we could only catch the first set because at 10pm we were due at Blondie & Nick Tremulis's show across town at Fitzgeralds.
We drug ourselves out of bed, me having promised Blondie & Jim that I'd shoot pictures of the show for his web page. We took a cab over and the weather was still fairly warm, close to 60 degrees, but raining. The cold front was moving in. Fitzgerald's was crowded, but not so packed that you couldn't move. Saw quite few people we knew including Chris, John, Marcia, Karen and Mary. I made the wise choice to stick with water at this show. Blondie & Nick did a great set to promote Blondie's new cd "Between Us" though Blondie did quite a few numbers from his still unreleased Fragile Thread album. I took a ton of photos & collected the setlist afterwards for a future Stones Planet story (check our Winter 06 issue).
On show day E & I had lunch at the Penninsula with Allie & her cousin Barbara. Blondie joined us for a bit, as did Jim, Chris, John & Marcia. Blondie spotted Jennifer Aniston and her entourage, who were in the hotel because Jen was filming Oprah. Oh yeah, and Bono was in town too, to promote his Aids benefit, he & Oprah were spotted the next day on Michigan Ave. Anyway, Chris & John were kind enough to give us a ride to & from the show.
We arrived early, went to the merchandise stand, but they were already sold out of the sizes of stuff we wanted. Once inside we were supposed to hook up with Bill, but that never happened due to their being no cell signals! Damn. So, after numerous failed calls & messages, we went to the VIP in the Cadillac Club where we met some new friends, and some familiar faces, like Cecelia & her sister. They had gummy soldiers for Soldier Fields & an odd assortment of chocolate goodies. We watched Elvis Costello, who was the opening act, on the tv. We dreaded having to go back out into the cold, but we had great seats and didn't want to miss it!
We waited as long as we could & then ventured back out into the cold & wind. Brrrrrrrrrr. We didn't have winter coats, gloves or hats...it was downright bitter. I mean, I was at a few cold shows before, but this beat them all.
When the Stones finally took the stage, we wondered how they would be able to play? The crowd resembled fans at a Bears game, not a Stones concert! They had big white tubes that were blowing heat onto the stage and also heat lamps in the back of the stage, but we found out later from Blondie & Tim Ries that they couldn't even feel that heat. Blondie likened it to "playing an ice guitar", and Tim said that because it was so cold they had to continually blow warm air into the horns, and some instruments went sharp & some went flat, and the techs had a hell of a time keeping everyone in tune.
But, God bless the Rolling Stones for performing at all! I sincerely don't know how they did it, but they did. Wind, bitter cold & all. We were told the band was wearing long underwear! Poor Ronnie looked like a popsicle.
We got a great setlist though, and the crowd tried to keep warm by singing and dancing all night. The first 4 songs back to back were excellent. Despite the cold, the crowd seemed to be having a great time, and Mick really worked the crowd to keep them enthused. And, what made the show all worth the while was song #5, a first ever, Sge Was Hot! And man did they nail it, perfect with the line "on a cold Chicago night". It was the best! At one point during the show Mick said "I can't feel my feet!" And I couldn't either!
1. You Got Me Rocking 2. Live With Me 3. Monkey Man 4. Sway 5. She Was Hot 6. Streets Of Love 7. Midnight Rambler 8. Tumbling Dice 9. You Got The Silver 10. Little T&A 11. Under My Thumb 12. Rough Justice 13. Start Me Up 14. Honky Tonk Women 15. Sympathy For The Devil 16. Jumping Jack Flash 17. Satisfaction 18. Brown Sugar (encore)
When the show ended we were literally frozen solid. My thighs burned when I climbed the stairs. We piled in the car and headed back to the Penninsula, only to find the bar to be packed & full of smoke and the restaurant to be closed and not serving food. Five star? I think not. Anyway, we sat in the lobby area, having spent a 1/2 hour trying to ger one drink. We ended up leaving the lobby area around 3am and headed back to the hotel to bed.
The next morning we had lunch in the hotel again before flying home. The next show was to be Atlantic City for my birthday, but it ended up getting postponed due to Mick's voice problems and rescheduled for Nov. 17.
See my Soldier Field Photo Album!