Paris France 2012 is ten years ago, that is when they started rehearsing after their break of touring after 2007. Since then they have been touring every year, except for a short break in 2020 during the first year of the pandemic. I got to know Paris well then, also many friends from the Bondy rehearsals in 2012, and also 2014. We got close, and every time I meet my Bondy friends on tour, like this summer, the great memories from those rehearsals return.
There was supposed to be just one show on France, in Lyon. There were shows scheduled in Helsinki Finland July 15, in Warsaw Poland July 27, and Vienna Austria July 23 this summer. When the Russian war in Ukraine suddenly changed the security situation in Europe, The Rolling Stones worked overtime to make the tour work according to their security measures. The Vienna show was moved to July 15, taking over the Helsinki date, and making the date July 23 available for a show in Paris. Then Gelsenkirchen Germany got the Warsaw date of July 27. The Rolling Stones management sure worked overtime, the announcement of the tour was may be delayed a few days, but we got a tour according to their plans.
I took the fast train two hours from Lyon to Paris. It was an easy travel, except for a small incident at the Lyon train station. I arrived by the tram to the station Gare Part Dieu at noon the day after the show. Then they had just closed the station. Lots of police and security, then 15 minutes later a whistle is blowing, then a big bang, and an applause. Somebody had left some luggage unattended, it might be a bomb, so the routine is then to blow it up. Ten minutes later the train station was reopening. All trains were 20-30 minutes late, but no worries, our security was taken care of, and I am used to waiting for hours at airports. Arriving 20 minutes late into Paris was no problem.
My Paris hotel was as usual close to the venue. I stayed in Suresnes, and my hotel was “Mercure Paris Suresnes Longchamp”. Just the name of the hotel is telling it is close by the venue “Hippodrome Longchamp”. Suresnes is a short 3 minutes tram/train ride from “La Défense”, where I stayed for a week or so when The Rolling Stones last played Paris, with three shows at the great U Arena in 2017. My hotel room in Suresnes was so tiny, just 13 m2, i.e. just 120 sqft or so, there was hardly any space for my PC, and the so called double bed was just a little bit bigger than a single bed. Still, I had my “home” for four dates at the same place, twenty minutes walking to the Hippodrome Longchamp. I was happy.
I love the suburbs of any big city. Staying in the same suburb for 10 days in Madrid for the tour start was a joy. Now I had four days in Suresnes. I walked out into the area, and found a great place to dine outside in 10 minutes. Later I found out there were 20 or so dining places and bars in the Suresnes area within 5 minutes walk, I did not need the crowded and overpriced Paris center at all.
My favorite restaurant was L’Entrepôt Saint-Claude Suresnes, it was so great and relaxing, they knew my needs, they had good priced food and drinks, and it was never crowded there, as I liked to keep a distance from other customers, being in a covid bubble on tour. They had fresh fish, great local wines, and also great beers. On show day it got a bit crowded, but I was still able to have a meal there with no waiting time show day at 3pm, which is perfect timing for me.
With plenty of time in Paris, I walked over to the show area in Longchamp a couple of times. It took an hour to work around it, very large area. My walks around it would be very helpful after the show, as we were left out in the dark. More about that later.
The day before the show I did my Paris center trip, took the train to La Défense, then the metro to the center, then walked along Champs-Élysées, did a visit to the Stones hotel Bristol, then took the metro to Châtelet. I wanted to see the church art which was used in the Paris 2022 T-shirt and poster, the church Sainte-Chapelle. It looked so beautiful in the pictures, but the endless queues outside did not look beautiful. My life on this planet is short, I don’t want to queue for a tourist attraction. The only picture I took in Paris center was the first one below, a street cafe – Brasserie, nice to sit there, but may be next time, I returned to my safe and quiet area in Suresnes.
On show day there was a market in the Suresnes center. Lots of people shopping in the market, I was preparing for the show, eating a lot, drinking a lot, making ready. Then at 5pm I was on my way. The queues there were endless. From memory I did remember another entrance, so I left the endless “Entrance 1”, walked ten minutes through a forest path, found the “Entrance 2” queue, which was very very short, and I was into the show area in 10 minutes or so. It helps to do research at venues, where entrances are and so on.
Show time, I had been trying to stay in the shade, luckily the temperature was not as high as in Lyon. It was a great show, once more. After the show I wrote this in my report:
It was a great show, even if they do now stay close to the same set every night, more or less. The show in Paris tonight had the same songs as we got in Vienna, except for two changes, they did “19th Nervous Breakdown”, and Keith gave us “You Got The Silver. I don’t mind having the same set, as long as they play it well and with passion. After all, that is what they have been doing for sixty years, giving us their greatest hits live, then they have spoiled us a few times with club shows and arena shows, but on the big stage, the vast crowds, they play it safe.
I watched the show to the very end. Of course. You can not miss another great version of “Satisfaction”, and you can not miss the joy of seeing all their smiles during the final bow. Some left early, to beat the queue out of the massive area. It is a shame really, that we are forced to attend a show with such conditions. Shame on the organizers, who fool the fans into walking all over with entrance 1 and entrance 2, all being merged into one large bottleneck, and after the show they force us to walk into nowhere, in the dark, without lights. There were big holes in the field as we walked out, it would be so easy to break a leg in the dark. Some did actually. I can still hear the painful tears and screams of a woman who broke her leg in the dark out there after the show, no medics in sight, not in a mile, just a couple of police cars. Twenty minutes later an ambulance passed by, such a shame. I walked back to my Suresnes hotel in an hour, it would have taken 20-30 minutes if they treated us with normal enter and exit options. There are rules as of how to treat animals. I know we go to shows at our own interest, but a minimum of crowd safety should be an absolute requirement – such was not the case tonight.
For show reports and pictures please see the IORR reports pages:
The Rolling Stones
Saturday July 23, 2022