The Rolling Stones in Zurich

Yes, seeing the Rolling Stones live once in a lifetime! Yeah, that was the idea when the No Filter Tour as well as the concert at Zurich Letzigrund Stadium was announced. When I saw the prices, this changed immediately again: “Ok, no ‘once in a life time seeing The Rolling Stones live’ then. When my friend mentioned the Lucky Dip tickets, it changed in a flash and so we were standing on this Wednesday evening with about 48’000 people at Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich to see the Rolling Stones live.

Our Lucky Dip
Lucky Dip Ticket you ask? These are limited tickets, you pay CHf 65 a ticket. They went on sale shortly after the official presale started. The “hitch” there is that you don’t know until the day of the concert, what ticket you will get. If you are lucky, then you get the best and most expensive ones – golden circle, some good seat or even pit. If you are unlucky, you’ll sit somewhere in the very back of the stadium.

But in the end it doesn’t really matter, because you paid less than half of the price of the cheapest ticket. We got normal standing tickets. Would we have been 1-2 persons earlier at the box office, they might have been golden circle ones 😉 But we got a super deal.

Admission chaos
I took half a day off and so I was off to Zurich by train. The tickets could be collected from 2.30 pm on. Doors opened about 2 hours later. Whew, Zurich is one building side again…. and admission wasn’t really great either.

The Rolling Stones Zurich

Some hardcore fans have been standing in front of the stadium all day already, all the others started arriving about an hour before doors opened. You could think that the present security people were at such a concert for the first time. Whilst the Rolling Stones were still doing soundcheck and admission got delayed about half an hour, it suddenly crossed their mind that the whole crowd had to move about 10 meters further into the back.

The ones in the front sure didn’t want to move and risk losing their spot in the queue. And soon even in the back none moved anymore. But instead of going into the back to move people there, the front ones were screamed at and told to move and push back. Pushing? Seriously? Did anyone ask why everyone had to move back, they were only told snappish that it didn’t matter why.

With an A5 sized wooden frame they checked the size of bags. The security guy wanted to tell me then, that my small bumbbag was too big… What?? He let me in though. How the guy with his huge backbag got in, I really don’t know though.

One post further the content of the bags was checked and in the end the tickets at the gate.

Early Entry Fights
Whereas people kept running past us, we were walking slowly into 2nd row at the barrier. Our spot was good. Way too far away for my taste of course, but we had  good overview and no tall people in front of us. Two guys next to me were almost at loggerheads, because they didn’t agree over the priority with or without early entry tickets as well as “I went only quickly to the toilette”.

The Rolling Stones Zurich

The Rolling Stones Zurich

I still can’t imagine that early entry tickets are anything else but a simple waste of money? One day I will ask someone about it. But sure not these two brawlers 😉

Glamrock for the opening the evening
At 7pm the four member rockband the Struts started the warm up. In glitter top and striped trousers frontguy Luke Spiller was spinning over the stage. According to Wikipedia his clothes were created by the same designer as Freddie Mercury’s back then.
The Struts Zurich

The English band from Dery reminded me somehow of the Darkness, just that I like the Struts better. But how can you not like such an energetic band, in such glamour-hippy-outfits and lyrics like “Do you wanna be a primadonna with me tonight?”. By the way, the song will be released on their 2nd album at the beginning of next year.

The band consists of frontman Luke Spiller, bass player Jed Eliot, guitarist Adam Slack and drummer Gethin Davies. The Struts were formed in 2009 and already have been support act of the Stones back in Paris in 2014, as well as of some other big bands. However my concert buddy did know the band already.

I though the band is great, but frontman Luke did have  a bit of a hard time with the Zurich audience. But from the middle of the set on the Stones fans let themselves carry away by him after all.

The Rolling Stones unfiltered
50 years ago The Rolling Stones played their first concert in Switzerland (well, we have read something about 1964 in Montreux already though… ), whereupon many followed. Back in Zurich, frontguy Mick Jagger, guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards as well as drummer Charlie Watts  with their 7 member band started the 4th concert of their NO FILTER tour on time at 8.30pm .

The Rolling Stones Zurich

Apparently The Rolling Stones have already shortened their setlist since their tourstart in Hamburg. I had the one from Austria printed out. The band was playing a different setlist each time, that’s what I wanted to check. But you can also check this easily on their Social Media channels as they keep posting all the setlists. That’s what I call service! Every band should do this 😉 Though, many do have the same setlist every time, that would be too much of a spoiler maybe.

They started with “Sympathy For The Devil”. I was just there so I’ve seen the Rolling Stones once and had no clue about their songs and concerts. Only in the course of the evening I realized how many songs I actually knew already. So this wasn’t much different to Status Quo at Seaside Festival recently 😉 But my friend was so happy about this first song.

So, in case you don’t know The Rolling Stones very good like me, here some facts beforehand:

  • 1962 The Rolling Stones were formed. Original members were: Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (guitar, backing vocals), Bill Wymann (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), Ian Stewart (piano)
  • Mick Jagger and Keith Richards know themselves since the age of 5.
  • 1971 The Rolling Stones established their own record label with the red tongue as trade mark.
  • Ron Wood is a member of the band since 1975.
  • 1986 the band got a Grammy for their lifework.
  • 1989 The Rolling Stones were accpeted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.
  • 2006 the Stones played the biggest rock concert with a free concert in Rio in front of over 1 mio. people.
  • The Rolling Stones have released so far 25 studio albums, 24 live albums , 30 compilations and much more.
  • During their career the Stones are said to have sold over 200 mio. records.
  • In the video of “Anybody seen my baby?” you can see Angelina Jolie
    (from various sources in the internet incl. wikipedia)


They continued with “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll” and a short greeting in German. Throughout the whole concert Jagger presented some words in German. He also greeted Tina Turner, who came to the concert as well. Generally the band wasn’t very talkactive throughout the whole concert though. Maybe this was one of the reasons why there weren’t real vibes in the audience during the whole evening?

Well, there was the woman and the girl next to me, who sang and clapped along and showed so much pleasure in the concert. In the back of the golden circle, just ahead of us, already at the begining of the concert there was an elderly, small woman, who suddenly showed her fanshirt, kept rocking and went wild. But generally the audience was very quiet. You were wondering, if they were just listening and enjoying, or why everyone was so quiet…?

The Rolling Stones Zurich

Already with the fourth song the Zurich audience got a live premiere: The bluesy title “Hate To See You Go” from their newest work “Lonesome And Blue” was played for the very first time live. So there was already a change in the setlist compared to the one from Austria. There seems to be a basic list, but indeed no setlist seems like the other.

I liked these blues, partly country/folky songs of the band as “Dancing with Mr D” a lot. The Stones thrilled also with Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”, which the fans voted into the programme via their app out of a choice of four different songs. The whole stadium was singing along in a choir with “Can’t always get what you want”. And suddenly even Keith Richards was standing at the front and taking over the leadparts of two songs. Especially “Happy” suited him so well. He seemed to have a huge grin in his face the whole evening. Yes, the three gentlemen Jagger, Wood and Richards are obviously the wild, crazy hippy guys, whilst drummer Charlie Watts seems inconspicuous, the quiet one in the band.

Quickly I realized that obviously no one went to a Rolling Stones concert because of the great singing and I got the writers of various articles were saying if they wrote about being out of tune. Especially during Keith Richards singing, the bad tunes were standing out a lot. Besides Mick Jagger got his very own voice, what I somehow never realized in radio songs. During one of the songs Ron Wood missed his entry, the rockgrandpas were bubbling over with laughter about before they were able to continue.

And yeah, that’s why there’s a big BUT: The evening was very entertaining. Everything simply matched. The four guys, who have so many many years under their belt (all of them over 70 years old) and experience so much, seem still have to have so much fun on stage. They seemed relaxed and super likable. Even vocally not everything was in tune and everything was so unfiltered, the band has great songs, played great solos and everything was rounded off with the additional band members.

During these two hours the stage got properly rocked. Of course hits like “Honky Tonk Woman”, “Brown Sugar” or the to everyone known “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” weren’t missing. With the latter one the audience went quite wild.

The Rolling Stones had indeed four huge LED walls with partly fancy, very colourful picture and lightshow, but generally it wasn’t too much. They played a concert without too much ballyhoo and made their show mainly with their music. Especially the duet of Mick Jagger and background singer Sasha for “Gimme Shelter” during their encore, I totally loved. With “Jumpin Jack Flash” and some firework the band ended the concert.

The Rolling Stones Zurich

Seeing The Rolling Stones live once in a lifetime
Now I have seen The Rolling Stones live once in a lifetime. Well, I didn’t go out of the concert with a huge WOW feeling, but it was a good concert and it was fun after all. I am happy that I decided to go and see them. Especially the support act The Struts I liked very much. They were sure a first highlight for me. Other highlights were “Can’t always get what you want” as well as “Gimme Shelther”.

As mentioned, the atmosphere in the audience wasn’t really great. So the Lucky Dip tickets were a great occasion to see the Stones. The normal prices I wouldn’t want to pay. That would be too much.

Of course there’s the question, whether after the No Filter tour they will still be able or want to do another tour. I hope though, that they stay fit and full of delight in playing for a long time, whether on stage or just private.

I then was glad, that I had booked a seat with Gafner car, to travel home in the concert bus. It would have been a pity to miss a part, because the last train was leaving at 11 pm from the main station.

***And have you been to the concert in Zurich or one of the tour? How did you like it?***

Info about The Struts you get here
Info about The Rolling Stones you get here


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