THE ROLLING STONES CHRONICLE

2003
 

Your tongue licking way out of place


January 6, 2003: The Rolling Stones reunite for tour rehearsals in Montreal, Canada.
 

January 8, 2003: The Rolling Stones kick off the second leg of their Licks North American tour, featuring
    almostly exclusively arena concerts this time, at Montreal's Bell Center.
 

January 10-12, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena, then do a return visit to
    Boston's Fleet Center.
 

January 16-18, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform two more concerts at Madison Square Garden in a
    return visit to New York City, the second of which is broadcast live on North American cable television
    and will be used as the arena concert in the eventual Four Flicks DVD package. Howlin' Wolf's guitarist
    Hubert Sumlin and Sheryl Crow take part in the shows.
 
 

Mick Jagger (January 18, 2003): Onstage in New York

I read in the paper today that this is probably our last show at the Garden. I don’t think so! 


 
Charlie Watts (2003): The telecast concert

We did a live HBO special during the second leg of the U.S. tour dates, which added another level of pressure. Although in principle the show was just another show, anything can go wrong when you're playing live and the thought of it all being shown on live television can drive you mad... I find it quite nerve-racking... I'm not a great thrill person like that. But I do love it when everything goes right; it's what keeps you doing it, really.


 

January 21-22, 2003: Back in Chicago, the Rolling Stones perform two more concerts at United Center.
 

January 25, 2003: The Rolling Stones start another swing through the American South with a stadium
    concert in Houston, Texas. Johnnie Johnson joins the band onstage during Honky Tonk Women.
 

January 28-30, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform in Oklahoma City and Pheonix, Arizona.
 

February 1-4, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, where Jonny
    Lang guests, followed by San Josť, California.
 

February 6, 2003: The Rolling Stones make a return visit to Los Angeles' Staples Center for a special
    benefit concert to bring awareness to global warming. Ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton makes a speech
    and introduces the group.
 

February 8, 2003: The Rolling Stones conclude their North American tour with a return to Las Vegas'
    MGM Grand Garden.
 

February 16, 2003: The Rolling Stones hold a press conference in Sydney, Australia, to advertise the
    Licks Australasian Tour.
 

February 18, 2003: The Rolling Stones kick off their 2003 Pacific Tour with a small-scale concert, their
    first of the year, at Sydney's Enmore Theatre. The band's Australian concerts are their first siunce the
    Voodoo Lounge tour. Malcolm and Angus Young of AC/DC join the band onstage during Rock Me Baby
    for many such cameos during the rest of the year.
 

February 20-22, 2003: The Rolling Stones switch to arena mode for two concerts at Sydney's Super
    Dome.
 

February 25-March 1, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform three concerts at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.
 

March 4-5, 2003: The Rolling Stones conclude their Australian visit with two shows at Brisbane's
    Entertainment Centre.
 

March 7, 2003: Now in Japan, the Rolling Stones hold a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in
    Tokyo.
 

March 10, 2003: The Rolling Stones start their fourth tour of Japan with a theater-size concert at the
    legendary Budokan in Tokyo.
 
 

Charlie Watts (2003): Japan the fourth time around

The first time we played in Japan, one of the most amazing things was that everyone came in their suits, and changed into their rock & roll t-shirts, with their shirts sticking out from under the sleeves and their ties underneath. They all clapped and went home, and this time it's truly different. Nowadays in Japan nobody was in their seats from the first song onwards.


 
Charlie Watts (March 2003): Life and the Stones

A tour like this is a repetition of what I've been doing for the last 40 years. For me there's nothing new as far as the Rolling Stones are concerned... (T)he most important part (is that it's still satisfying) and that's why I am still with the Rolling Stones. I am happy with it - although the group has never played the kind of music I am really interested in...

I've never been very ambitious. If the Stones would call it quits, I would say, Thanks, we've had a good time. I don't have a problem with it. Those were good years, no more than that. I have never showed off the fact that I am with the Rolling Stones.

I have always had the fortune of a solid home base. My wife and I will have been married for 40 years next year. We first met on the day I started playing in Alexis Korner's band, even before I became a member of the Stones. My wife has known Mick and Keith for as long as I have. She's a sensible woman, she has always kept well away from the Stones.


 

March 12-16, 2003: The Rolling Stones complete their Tokyo "trilogy" with an arena concert at the
    Yokohama Arena and two stadium shows at Tokyo Dome.
 
 

Mick Jagger (2003): Loving Cup at the Yokohama

On the Forty Licks tour, when we were preparing the set list for a show in Yokohama, Chuck Leavell suggested we play Loving Cup, the ballad from Exile On Main Street. I didn't want to play the tune and I said, Chuck, this is going to die a death in Yokohama. I can't even remember the bloody song, and no one likes it. I've done it loads of times in America, it doesn't go down that well, it's a very difficult song to sing, and I'm fed up with it! Chuck went, Stick in the mud! so I gave in and put it in the set-list. Lo and behold, we went out, started the song and they all began applauding... Which just proves how, over time, some of these songs acquire a certain existence, or value, that they never had when they first came out.
People will say, What a wonderful song that was, when it was virtually ignored at the time it was released. 


 

March 20-21, 2003: The Rolling Stones' 2003 visit to Japan ends with two stadium concerts at Osaka
    Dome.
 

March 24-26, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform their first concerts in Singapore since 1965, at the
    Indoor Stadium.
 

March 27-28, 2003: The Rolling Stones announce their first ever concerts in China, in Hong Kong,
    Shanghai and Bejing, are cancelled because of the SARS epidemic.
 
 

Keith Richards (October 2003): Mongolia next

The Chinese are being a bit obscure - let's put it that way. But we wanted to play there. I hate to miss gigs. I'll play outer Mongolia, even inner Mongolia. If you are scared of a rock & roll band, you've got problems. We're not running opium.


 

April 1, 2003: The Rolling Stones hold a press conference in Bangalore, India.
 

April 4, 2003: The Rolling Stones resume their Australasian tour following the Chinese cancellations with
    their first ever concert in India, at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore.
 

April 7, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform a second concert in India, at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai
    (Bombay).
 
 

Charlie Watts (2003): Charlie & Mick, museum buddies

Occasionally (Mick and I) go out together. When he was still with Jerry, we saw each other quite a lot. But after those two separated, it's become less and less. But on tour he's still the one I hang around with most. For instance, we go to museums together. Through the years we've developed the same cultural interests.


 

April 10, 2003: The Rolling Stones' Asian tour is cut short as their first ever concert in Thailand, in
    Bangkok, is cancelled because of technical problems with their aeroplane in India.
 

    Mid-to-late April 2003: Keith Richards and Ron Wood stay behind in India for a holiday.
 

    May 2003: Keith Richards contributes to recording sessions for Toots & the Maytals in New York City.
 

    May 14, 2003: Mick Jagger is in Paris, France, where he is interviewed by press.
 

June 1, 2003: The Rolling Stones reunite on Ron Wood's birthday in Munich, Germany, to start rehearsals
    for the European tour.
 

June 4-5, 2003: The Rolling Stones kick off their 2003 Licks European Tour with an arena concert at the
    Olympiahalle in Munich, then hold a press conference the following day.
 
 

Keith Richards (June 2003): Pre-gig rituals

We just go about our business. The Stones, you all suddenly come together just before you go onstage because there's wardrobe and perestroika - that's make-up... reconstruction. Everybody's flying about so over the years we've got used to gathering together five minutes before we go on. What's the first song? You want to have dinner after?


 
Keith Richards (June 2003): Gnat's piss

I could never knock the benign weed but apart from that there's a time and a place for everything... (I)t's totally weird (at customs). It's totally the other way around. They used to go through me with a fine-tooth comb. Now it's, Oh, it's KEITH, he's not a real problem. Whatever he's got, he probably forgot it anyway. I'm meticulous, I don't carry a lot of shit... (I'm n)ever (totally straight). Not since I first tasted it. I mean, my father said to me, Keith, there's a difference bwetween scratching your arse and tearing it to bits. I've always borne that in mind. I do drink through the day, but I don't wake up in the morning and get stoned right away. I like to work my way in, but I can take it or leave it. I guess it's because of heroin. If  you've been through that one and got through it, the rest of it is really like gnat's piss.

Ronnie's done what he had to do. I drink, Ronnie was a piss artist. He never stopped. After the last tour I stayed round his house and he'd wake up in the morning and go sambuca and water! No, no, no, Ronnie, no!


 

June 6-8, 2003: The Rolling Stones complete the Munich trilogy with a stadium concert at
    Olympiastadion and a theater show at the Circus Krone.
 

    June 7, 2003: Charlie Watts and Darryl Jones help out Tim Ries with his Rolling Stones covers jazz project in Munich.
 

June 10, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform their first Italian concert in 13 years, at Milan's Stadio
    Giuseppe Meazza.
 

June 13-15, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform stadium concerts in Oberhausen (for the first time) and
    Berlin in Germany.
 

June 18, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform at Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna, Austria.
 

June 20-22, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform more huge concerts in Germany, in Leipzig and
    Hockenheim.
 
 

Keith Richards (June 2003): Hanging out on tour

It kind of depends on the hotel. Sometimes we have a whole floor, sometimes we're scattered around so you don't see people so much. There's always a knock at the door and you say either fuck off or come on in, have a drink. Charlie is the most reclusive, I'd say, he always has been. You have to go and see him, but now and again he'll pop in. Ronnie's round my place a lot.


 

June 24, 2003: The Rolling Stones announce they will interrupt their European tour on July 30 to
    headline an enormous benefit festival in Toronto, Canada, on July 30, that will advertise to the world
    that Toronto is now SARS-free.
 

June 25-29, 2003: The Rolling Stones bring Licks to Spain, performing in Bilbao (for the first time),
    Madrid and Barcelona.
 
 

Mick Jagger (June 2003): Big-sized fun

They're a communal celebration, these big outdoor shows. I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but it is amazingly successful to do this kind of tour at any time. Whether you're 20 or whether you're 60, there are very few people out there - I mean you can count them on the fingers of one hand - the bands who can pull off a tour this size. It's great fun, really. That's the thing. It's hilarious watching the whole of Barcelona get wound up for the Rolling Stones - there's the most enormous build-up. Reading all the papers, I go out on the street and they're all going, Oh, I bought my ticket 3 months ago, and there's all these footballers all lined up with their model girlfriends to come to the show. I mean, it's hilariously funny. To have that effect, it's an enormous laugh. And, of course, you get paid for it really well. You feel fantastic at the end of the evening if you give 50 000 people a great time and you're earning tons of money. So who's losing out? 


 

July 5, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform at the Velodrome in Marseille, France.
 

July 7-9, 2003: The Rolling Stones play arena and stadium concert in Paris, France.
 

    July 9, 2003: The film Pirates of the Caribbean is released, with actor Johnny Depp using Keith Richards as
        inspiration for his role and mannerisms.
 
 

Keith Richards (August 2003): Pirates

(Johnny Depp and I) met about five or six years ago and started swapping clothes. This is Johnny's shirt, by the way. He has an incredible guitar collection. We have dinner sometimes and get together: his kids and my kids. He's a good guy. I like him a lot. But I had no idea he was studying me. Everybody that's seen it is, like, God, it's you. (Laughs) This is the only time I've been accepted by Disney!


 

July 11, 2003: The Rolling Stones complete the Parisian trilogy with a concert at L'Olympia, filmed as
    the theater concert for Four Flicks.
 

July 13-16, 2003: The Rolling Stones start their traditional swing through Scandinavia, performing in
    Copenhagen, Denmark and Helsinki, Finland.
 
 

Charlie Watts (2003): The Stones: loners vs. social butterflies

I am what you would call a loner; I can get along just fine without people around me. We live on a farm, you know. Even worse, we have two - one in England and one in France. My wife runs the farms and I live there, so to speak. The only people about the house are men and women who are in agriculture... 

Occasionally we go out and dine with friends, but not too often. I'm not like Ronnie Wood who needs to have people around him all day. If I'm honest, I enjoy the conmpany of dogs more than that of humans. Not that I loathe my species, but I'm of no good to them. They would find me a miserable little man after a while. Keith doesn't go out at all either. He lives with his wife in Connecticut and his life isn't all that different from mine. Mick is the only one who, through the years, has succeeded in dragging me out of the house, time and again... (I)f it was up to Keith and me, we would never set foot outside our homes, so to speak.


 

July 18, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform at Stockholm Stadium in Sweden.
 

July 20-22, 2003: The Rolling Stones complete a trilogy in Stockholm with an arena concert at the
    Globen and a theater show at the Cirkus.
 
 

Keith Richards & Ron Wood (2003): Taking some chances

Keith: The small shows make it possible to do a tour and keep it interesting and alive, because you are able to try a new idea or a new song out. If it really works, you can bump it up to the medium show, and if it really, really works, then you bump it up to large. We did rehearse a lot of songs for Forty Licks and I was always pushing Mick to use them: Why did we rehearse all these songs, Mick, if you're not going to sing them on the road? Mick's general inclination is to stick on the safe side of what he knows, whereas I usually like to take a few more chances, and so the small gigs give us the opportunity to say to him, Go on, throw it out to the wind... In general I would let Mick decide the set lists because he's the one who has to sing the songs, and his decision depends on how he feels on any particular day, but sometimes if I thought he was flaking me, I would push him... For instance, Mick would want to open the shows with Start Me Up because he'd say it was totally obvious, and I would say, Yeah, that's what wrong with it, it IS totally obvious. That is the difference between our brains. That's Mick and me.

Ron: On the Forty Licks tour we changed the set list every night, throwing in some songs and often going back to the drawing board... We all got off on the challenge of a new surprise every day. The variety and the choice of the songs helped contribute to keeping the liveliness of the band alight, plus the fact that we were still doing a soundcheck before every new show.


 

July 24-27, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform concerts in Hamburg, Germany and Prague, Czech
    Republic.
 

    July 26, 2003: Mick Jagger celebrates his 60th birthday in Prague.
 

    July 28, 2003: The Rolling Stones leave Europe and fly to Toronto, Canada
 

July 30, 2003: The Rolling Stones headline the day-long SARS festival in Toronto, Canada, at Downsview
    Park in front of 490 000 fans, the biggest audience in their career up to this point. Justin Timberlake,
    as well as Angus & Malcolm Young, guest with them onstage.
 

August 5, 2003: The Rolling Stones' concert in Benidorm, Spain, is the first postponed on this world tour
    because of band illness, as Mick gets laryngitis.
 
 

Ron Wood (2004): On tour sober

I don't think Keith likes it at all. He's lost his drinking partner. I only went to his room three times on the last year-and-a-half tour. I used to be in his room every night, or he was in my room. But last time I would just go back and suffer in my room. I'd take my mind off it with Jo by renting a great movie.


 

August 8, 2003: The Rolling Stones are back once more in Germany, performing in Hannover.
 

August 11-13, 2003: The Rolling Stones play two concerts at Rotterdam's Feyenoord Stadium.
 

Mid-August 2003: The group's coffee-table-book autobiography, According To The Rolling Stones, a
    chronicle of their history in their own words, is published.
 
 

Keith Richards (2003) & Charlie Watts (2005): The Rolling Stones: The Book

Keith: Actually, I haven't read it all... I know Charlie was involved with a lot of the layout... It's a coffee-table book, isn't it? No one's going to spill the whole fucking beans. That stuff can't come out until after we're dead.

Charlie: Didn't even read it. It's wrong. It's full of lies or myths. People get things down wrong, someone repeats them and...


 

August 15-16, 2003: The Rolling Stones complete a trilogy in Rotterdam-Utrecht, with an arena concert
    at the Ahoy and a theater concert at the Vredenburg.
 
 

Keith Richards (August 2003): The Y-Front Tour

We call this the Y-Front Tour because the gigs come in small, medium and large... The big gigs are always fun, but you don't have a lot of room to manoeuvre. You're locked into video screens, lighting - whatever it says on the list, that's what you're gonna play. The small gigs: you get up there and suddenly you're back in Richmond. It keeps us in touch with where we come from... We couldn't just do stadiums again.


 

August 19, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform the first of two concerts at the Amsterdam ArenA. The
    second, set for the next day, is postponed because of Mick being ill.
 

August 22, 2003: The Rolling Stones postpone the first of two concerts at London's Twickenham Rugby
    Ground because of Mick's illness.
 

August 24, 2003: The Rolling Stones kickoff their London trilogy with their first ever concert at the
    stadium-size Twickenham Rugby Ground.
 

August 27-29, 2003: The Rolling Stones complete their initial visit to London with a theater concert at
    the Astoria and a performance at Wembley Arena.
 

September 1-3, 2003: The Rolling Stones start the fourth month of the Licks European tour - the longest
    of their career - with two concerts at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre.
 
 

Charlie Watts (2004): Terrifying

Oh blimey, (the Stones' songs) all terrify me. The music scares me. The drums scare the life out of me. Can't You Hear Me Knocking: it's great if it hits the groove. It can be fantastic but some nights it's a real struggle.


 

September 5-7, 2003: Back in England, the Rolling Stones perform in Manchester, then head off to
    Belgium to play a stadium show in Werchter.
 

September 9-11, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform in Ireland for the first time in 21 years, at the
    arena-size Point i Dublin. Mick Jagger jams with local musicians at Lilly's Bordello in Dublin following
    the second concert.
 

September 13-15, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform two more concerts at Wembley Arena in London.
 

September 20, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform their rescheduled second concert at London's
    Twickenham Rugby Ground, which is filmed as the stadium concert for Four Flicks.
 

September 22, 2003: The Rolling Stones play their rescheduled second concert at the Amsterdam ArenA.
 
 

Mick Jagger (October 2003): Few postponed concerts on the Licks tour

I didn't cancel any (because of illness). I postponed three out of 115. Which is better than the last tour.


 

September 25, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform their rescheduled concert in Benidorm, Spain, their
    first ever in the city.
 

September 27-29, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform for the first time ever in both Coimbra, Portugal and
    Zaragoza, Spain.
 

October 2, 2003: After four full months, the Rolling Stones's Licks European Tour ends at Letzigrund
    Stadion in Zurich, Switzerland.
 

October 29, 2003: The Rolling Stones gather together again and hold a press party in New York City for
    the upcoming release of their DVD set Four Flicks.
 
 

Mick Jagger & Ron Wood (October 2003): Post-Licks reflections

Mick: We are like the proverbial old building. We've been around so long, we've bone gack into being cool. We were so baroque on the last (Bridges To Babylon) tour, I wanted to tone it down a bit. This new format really dit break it up. I was surprised and delighted. It worked for the audience, and it kept us awake. Routine kills spontaneity. As a result, I am not as tired coming off the tour, not as drained. 

Ron: It was the best-ever tour. For me, it was the first tour I really saw, knowing everything I am playing... and remembering the next day. In the past, I did a lot of hard work, still played good, but it wasn't with clarity, it was using the crutches of alcohol and dope. Doing it with a new and more sober attitude was quite a lesson for me. Quite a kick. It was very rewarding to know I was someone who could be relied on.


 
Keith Richards & Charlie Watts (October 2003): Current band relationships

Keith: When you work with guys this long, a deep friendship can appear as antagonism. Ronnie and I insult each other terribly, so that anyone else in the room runs out in horror. It's perverse. These guys are not given to talking about their emotions. Neither am I. But there's a strong bond, stronger than we admit. 

Charlie: We got on the same as usual. Actually, it was a bit better. We didn't have as many dramas. Keith brings emotion, Mick brings direction.


 
Mick Jagger (October 2003): Don't stop

I can't see us stopping. Not at the moment. Maybe we won't tour as we did - 16 months nonstop - but more regularly. I don't like to stay away from the stage too long, but I don't see us as just a live act. I think we have to do a record soon... (But b)eing a live band gives you instant gratification; records don't.


 

    November 2, 2003: Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood arrive in Hong Kong, China.
 

    November 4, 2003: Mick Jagger arrives in Hong Kong.
 

November 5-6, 2003: The Rolling Stones rehearse for the Hong Kong concerts.
 
 

Keith Richards, Mick Jagger & Charlie Watts (November 2003): Re-starting Licks for one last go

Keith: We've flown basically half way around the world (laughs) to do two gigs because we said we'd play here.

Mick: It's hard to know what actually drives you to do that but I think it's your own self, sort of esteem, and what your own goals that you set for yourself. And you don't want to give up on that.

Charlie: Well over 40 years we've rarely missed anything. In fact there are very few. It's harder than just doing two shows after Zurich, which was the last show we did in Europe. If we had to come here and do two shows (just after Zurich), it would have been fine but that month off you go through so many... You know, you've stopped. And then suddenly you're up there again, doing whatever. It's just remembering all the sections really.


 
Keith Richards (November 2003): Chinese politics & the Stones

You know you kind of realize that somewhere along the line we're being used as a political football between the mainland and maybe the Ministry of the Interior or Security and maybe the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Sports because they've got to think about 2008, the Olympics. They're probably more progressive. So which is why we end up in Hong Kong. But that's where the English started anyway, selling opium (laughs).

We just want to make our mark here. And just see what the mainland thinks about it. After all, there's a lot of them out there (laughs). They might wish they invited us now.


 

November 7-9, 2003: The Rolling Stones perform their first ever concerts in China, at Hong Kong's
    Tamar festival site, which bring to a final end their 2003-03 Licks World Tour.
 

November 11, 2003: The Rolling Stones' four-DVD set chronicling the Licks Tour, Four Flicks, is released, which includes complete stadium, arena and theater concerts in addition to tour documentaries, interviews and other musical performances.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mick Jagger (2003): The Rolling Stones: The DVD

You always want a stab at something new. We held back on any deals or TV rights until we worked this out. Our worry was that it would ve very expensive, like buying the whole season of Sopranos. We wanted to get the retail price down.


 

    December 2003: Charlie Watts is home in England, Keith Richards holidays in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Mick
        Jagger spends time in London and Paris with L'Wren Scott.
 
 

Charlie Watts (October 2003): Coming down again

(My wife) is at home. So when I get home, mentally I'm still on the road, but I'm actually straight back into being there, with people who have been there for two years and I've been there twice in two years. That's a very strange thing.


 

    December 8-9, 2003: Ron Wood guests at Sheryl Crow concerts at Shepherds Bush Empire in London, England.
 

    December 12, 2003: Mick Jagger is knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in London.
 

    December 17, 2003: Ron Wood joins Stereophonics onstage at Earl's Court Arena in London.
 

    December 18, 2003: Keith Richards turns 60.
 
 

Keith Richards (November 2003): Lust for life

People say I've got a manic lust for life. But I've got no idea about that, really. To me it's just the way I am. As far as I'm concerned, life is all you get and I'll make the best out of it... I want to be here. And I want to see where I'm going.


 
 
 
 

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