Music Articles

Music Articles

 

By: D. Espinosa

For more than one year –since 17D– Cuba has been the world’s trending topic. So much so, that the most important and most publicized event in communication media and social networks around the world these past few days has been the visit of the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to the island. However, for more than a month now, news about the Rolling Stones coming to Cuba have also been heard. In second place after the news about the arrival of the American President, the legendary British band is among the most mentioned in the top ten.

The band will offer an unparalleled show. It may well become a story that many fans will tell for the rest of their lives, and one of the most crowded presentations of “their infernal majesties.” On Good Friday they will play for a crowd that is supposed to surpass the 1,3 million fans that got together at Copacabana Beach, in Rio de Janeiro, in 2006.

The long-lived Stones boys will give a free concert in a Caribbean island that calls itself a socialist one. Next March 25th, Ciudad Deportiva in Havana –the stadium where only official events and sport competitions used to take place– will become the largest musical stage ever seen in Cuban. The members of one of the most influential groups ever in the history of rock earned the support of the Cuban Music Institute and other organizations in the country.

So far we know the band that settled the bases for contemporary rock will start their show at 8:30 PM, and will go on for two hours. To guarantee the great presentation, since March 3rd more than 50 containers with the required infrastructure started arriving in the port of Havana.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood have an 80-meter-long, 56-meter-wide and 20-meter-high stage ready for them. It’s a stage of paramount proportions that can be seen 200 meters away.

Several national and foreign agencies will deal with security, lights, sound, and the installation of close to 10 giant screens. The Rollings’ proposal has costed them more than 8 million dollars so far. And at the end, they will have to pack and leave everything just as it was before.

The guys in The Rolling’s Crew, which is what the production staff is called, were in charge of preparing the stage. They are close to 70 workers, most of them young, from Germany, the United States, Peru, Spain, and Great Britain, who have worked from dawn to nightfall these days, and are now finishing up the details.

Sonya Schubert, the only woman in the team, said to magazine OnCuba that the company she works for, Stage Crew, has also been in charge of other great productions for U2 and Madonna. That’s why they think that, even though Cuban authorities have foreseen the presence of a bit more than 400,000 persons, at least one million spectators will attend. This number, according to the foreign workers, is not a crazy one for an open space. That is different from other international concerts in which they have also worked.

The taking of Havana by English rockers

In March, the Rollings –crowd anthropophagous– have already seduced the cities of Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro as part of their Olé tour, of which Havana will be the final stop. Their members have said the show in the Cuban capital city will be an outstanding event for their careers, and they hope that it will be too “for all our friends in Cuba.” No doubt, the rendezvous in the Tropic will have great importance.

This is, as would say Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, “an act of redress of a historic injustice committed against the Beatles and the Stones.” The band that lead the “British invasion” with the Liverpool boys at the beginning of the 60’s was for long time unapproved of by the island’s authorities.

However, half a century afterwards, Mick Jagger, the most fascinating character of the Stones, will sing (I can’t get no) Satisfaction in Cuba. It will be a hallucinating experience for those who never expected to see this Andy Warhol of music and international stardom, who seems to handle his myth status above good and evil.

A detail emerges from this miracle that Cuban journalist and music critic Gille Vilar has talked about in a recent interview: “Beyond the stage, the light show, the sound quality –we may be 500 meters away from the stage and still hear them just as if we were next to them–, what is important is the presence of these four musicians that are part of the best of the tradition of universal rock. They are living legends.”

And Cuba carries with it something of a legend too. The island is in fashion. And if someone still doubts it, let them take a look at the chain of events Obama – Jagger – Channel. That’s right. After the Rolling Stones, the French fashion company will premiere a red carpet in Latin America. But that’s another story. For now, enjoy the show of “their infernal majesties.”

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