The Rolling Stones appeared on Tuesday, February 4, 2003, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The Stones found their way to San Jose on this late date that was added as one of the extra concerts tacked onto their 2003 Licks North American Tour leg.
Blinking Stones tongues were flashing all over the venue as the Stones opened with their controversial 1968 single, "Street Fighting Man". Keith Richards cranked his guitar for the solo on "It's Only Rock'n Roll". A mellow break at the bridge coaxed a softer coda exit by the band.
The first musical surprise of the evening was "No Expectations" from Beggars Banquet. Mick Jagger strummed acoustic guitar, and Ron Wood sat on a stool to play dobro leads that Brian Jones originally laid down on the 1968 studio track.
"Sweet Virginia" signaled an Exile On Main Street suite of songs for the San Jose audience. Jagger introduced the number with a harmonic solo and continued to perform with an acoustic guitar. Richards supported Jagger with harmony vocals, and Bobby Keys added a powerful saxophone solo.
The Horn section accompanied the band on "All Down The Line". A trio of backing harmony vocals from Blondie Chaplin, Lisa Fisher, and Bernard Fowler gave the song a lift. Richards dusted off his 1994 chestnut, "Thru And Thru". An infrequent musical rotation piece on the Licks Tour, Richards nailed the subtle guitar and vocal parts of his growling power ballad.
Richards faithfully played the guitar intro for "Can't You Hear Me Knocking". Drummer Charlie Watts displayed his finesse behind the skins on this stage showcase for the Stones and their entourage of support musicians. Jagger's harmonica passages, Wood's guitar solo jams, and Keys' saxophone bursts generated an impressive concert impact on this live tour de force.
Richards literally ripped into the lead guitar introduction for "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Jagger pranced on the right wing of the stage as the Stones hammered out a tough version of the classic 1965 rocker. The driving melody climaxed in a crescendo with search lights, a flaming tongue image, and Jagger jumping front and center on the pavilion stage.
Richards' guitar chords were accompanied by Chuck Leavel's organ passages to jump start "Like A Rolling Stone" on the B-stage. Jagger delivered another strong harmonica solo, and Wood contributed choice guitar licks on the shopworn Bob Dylan cover.
Richards struck his guitar neck with determined passion to launch a politically-sanitized rendition of "Brown Sugar". Jagger became animated on the intimate stage and was aided on the chorus by the crowd. Keys reappeared to deliver another stunning saxophone solo. After a band bow, the group exited through the rear floor portal.
Once again on the encore, Richards stoked his guitar for the intro on "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Multiple venue cannons fired a blizzard of red paper petals over the arena audience. Chaplin complimented the melody foundation on acoustic guitar as the Horn section powered up the finale presentation. Cheers and applause welcomed the four Rolling Stones as they returned for a group bow together on stage.
San Jose setlist: Street Fighting Man * You Got Me Rocking * If You Can't Rock Me * Don't Stop * It's Only Rock'n Roll * No Expectations * Sweet Virginia * All Down The Line * Tumbling Dice * introductions * Thru And Thru * Before They Make Me Run * Start Me Up * Gimme Shelter * Can't You Hear Me Knocking * Honky Tonk Women * (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction * When The Whip Comes Down (B-stage) * Like A Rolling Stone (B-stage) * Brown Sugar (B-stage) * Encore: Jumpin' Jack Flash
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surpass all expectations
San Jose enjoys stellar performance
by Timothy Tilghman