Where do you start to describe the greatest concert in the 21 century?
You start with Bob Dylan. His iconic voice sang “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” to open the three day concert. 16 songs later we were all cheering for the master of poetry. Desolation Blues, Master of War, and Highway 61 Revisited were among those played. Not once did he give us time to catch our breath during his set.
After a break (and a lot of roadies setting up the stage), the concert hit hard with The Rolling Stones belting out “Start Me Up”. Everyone was one their feet. The Stone put on an energetic show with Mick Jagger strutting his stuff around the stage and Keith Richards making that guitar sing. At one point. Mick explained that the band was about to do a cover of an “unknown Beat group” covering The Beatles “Come Together”. The Stones did 20 songs, climaxing with fireworks timed to “Satisfaction”.
Day two hit just as hard as day one. Canada’s very own Neil Young and The band Promise of the Real got the music going by playing “After the Gold Rush”. Young played many instruments during his set, including an old pump organ, as well as both electric and acoustic guitar, piano and his signature harmonica. “Heart of Gold”, “Harvest Moon” and “Powderfinger” were among the classics played by Neil. He finished his 18 song set by playing “Rockin’ In The Free World”.
Paul McCartney walked on stage carrying his bass, waved to the crowd and started his set with “Hard Day’s Night”. He played a fine mixture of Beatles, Wings and solo songs. He reminisced about a young man named Jimi Hendrix, made tributes to John and George, and followed by covering a Rolling Stone song (written by the Beatles) “I Wanna Be Your Man”. Calling on friend Neil Young back to stage, the duo played Day in the Life, Give Peace a Chance and Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” The entire audience took part in singing Hey Jude. Fireworks went off for Live and Let Die. McCartney finished his 37-song set by concluding with three song, “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry The Weight” and “The End”.
Day three started with electricity. Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey boomed out “I Can’t Explain” as their opening song. They did not stop hitting us hard playing all their classics like “Who are You”, “Baba O’Reilly”, “Emminent Front” and “Pinball Wizard”. Townsend performed his signature hand swing many times and Daltrey swung that microphone cord mightily. The 22-song set concluded with “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with Roger giving his best scream ever!
The final set of the concert belonged to Roger Waters. The rhythmic heartbeat of Dark Side of the Moon intro coerced concert goers into a psychedelic frenzy. Beginning with “Speak To Me/Breathe , “Waters took us on a trip through the album. He performed “Money and Time”. Waters the performed parts from many albums including “Animals” and “Wish You Were Here”. By the time Roger Waters was two thirds through his set, he began to perform songs from the Wall, including “Run Like Hell”, “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” and “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2”. The three hour, 28 song trip concluded with “Comfortably Numb” and a very large fireworks display.
The weather was perfect. Was there political talk. Yes. Was it dusty? Yes. We were in the desert. Was there a floating pig? Yes. Like every new adventure, there were hiccups in the beginning. But by the end, everything was running smoothly. The sound system was sheer perfection. The lights and jumbo screen was crisp and bright.
Every artist gave their heart and the audience gave it right back to them. Rock royalty performed. There were three days of memorial moments. No review would be able to capture all of them. Was it the best concert ever? Hell Yes!