The Rolling Stones rock Prague again
The Czech capital is in the grip of rock fever. The legendary Rolling Stones are back in Prague for a long-anticipated concert that is part of their European No Filter tour. The Stones have a special place in Czech hearts –they first performed in Prague in 1990 in what was a symbolic celebration of the country’s new-found freedom.
“For me it was such a proud moment when Mr. Havel invited the Rolling Stones in 1990 to come and play in Prague. When I got there and saw the posters which said "The Stones Are Rolling In, The Tanks Are Rolling Out" it made me so proud to be the first western band to play in a truly free Czechoslovakia. I remember the spirit of those times – optimistic, warm, exciting and innocent – it was a truly inspiring moment.”
Tickets to the concert were hopelessly sold out and people begged, borrowed and even nicked them to be able to attend. Jindřich Šídlo told Czech Radio that for many people it was their first taste of the Western lifestyle.
The Stones started off with Start Me Up, and followed up with Honkey Tonk Woman, Angie, Brown Sugar, Jumpin' Jack Flash, and Sympathy for the Devil. Their final hit – I ain’t got no satisfaction ended with a huge fireworks display.
Since that legendary concert in Prague, which was the start of a firm friendship between president Havel and the band’s members, the Stones returned three more times for concerts that were the cultural highlight of the year. In 1995 130,000 people packed Prague’s Strahov stadium for their Voodoo lounge tour.
Today they are back and their fans are eager for more. Czech rock musician Michal Kocáb says the Stones are truly a phenomenon.
“Mick Jagger is 75 now, but he still moves on stage like a 30 year old. The Stones are simply in a different league from everyone else. Like the Beatles. I always say the Stones are not a band, they are a planetary institution.”