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Paris, Saturday, July 25th 1998

My first day in Paris

(Posted to Undercover on July 28, 1998)

Hi everybody!

Here are some impressions about the first day of my Glimmer trip to Paris :-)

I arrived on Friday around 3 pm at the Paris "Gare du Nord", coming by plane from Frankfurt. Can you imagine that feeling: Get out of the train, walk up a lot of stairs from the underground and then immediately dive into a warm, sunny afternoon in the middle of Paris, with all the beautiful street cafes and the nice historic buildings, looking forward to some perfect Glimmer days? Simply great!

I found my way to the hotel (only 10 minutes to go), and checked in at the reception and on the Glimmer list Thierry had prepared, where you could see who was already there and which room everybody had. Another great idea of Thierry :-). He also put some notes on the board when/where to meet and how to get to the MT gig. This was signed with "Thierry, the Glimmer Chef" :-)))

After that, I heard the first "Hello!" of this weekend: Fabrice and Christine came in and took me up to Thierry and Framboise. Great to meet him again! He was happy, because he was the one (together with the Werchter Team) who spent a lot of EMails to convince me to go to Paris :-)

We only had a short conversation, because he was just leaving for the "Le Plan" to make an interview with Bjornulf.

After moving into my room (very nice room, thanx again Fabrice & Thierry for the hotel selection!) I went down again into the street cafe just beneath the hotel. After some moments, the next Glimmers appeared: Dem and Greg. Although I didn't meet them before, I easily recognized them because of the Glimmer gathering pictures on the net. Hey, I was so happy to meet these guys personally! :-)

We talked about previous shows and the f*ckin SPM story in Barcelona for some time, when my next Glimmer reunion took place: Mayumi appeared and we had a happy hug after we had such a great time in Werchter :-))

At last, Porter joined our group, whom I also met for the first time. While we were already having a great time, more and more Glimmers showed up, which I don't remember all (so many names, so many faces I never saw before ;-) ): Curtis, Matt, Chrissss, Angie, S'Who, BOgLiN, Michael & Petra Huizer, Maryellen & "Torn and Frayed" (sorry, I forgot his real name), Barna Zsolt and some others, and, to complete the Werchter team, Peter & Lieve from Belgium. I think we around 20-30 Glimmers, ready for the MT gig!

Most of the group took the train to Le Plan, guided by Framboise, and some went by car. Peter & Lieve took Greg, Mayumi and me with their car and we had a very long, chaotic trip through the Paris Friday-afternoon-traffic, but listening to Stones boots made it an enjoyable journey ;-) and we finally made it to the gig around 8 pm.

Because of the long queue we first went into the bar and had a great time there, meeting some more Glimmers: Runa and Noeka, Mayumi's japanese friends who are at every Stones show, and some more I can't all remember.

We had a lot of pre-show fun and a lot of beers ;-)) Finally, after missing the warm-up band, we entered the show at 10 pm. Mick Taylor had just started his gig, but as we were so late we only had some "last row" stands.

Man, that guy was great! Mayumi, Greg and I stood together all the time and we really enjoyed the show! Karen already posted the setlist and other details, so I won't repeat that. I'm no Taylor expert and I never saw him live before, but I liked all that Blues songs and also that funky Jazz-Rock track a lot! What a great guitarist!

After the gig we went to the bar again and joined at the tables already prepared for the Glimmer Dinner. I think we were around 60 Glimmers in the end!

Karen already posted that Mick Taylor and the band joined our party, and I have not much to add. I had the feeling Mick enjoyed the gathering, he was very friendly and patiently gave a lot of autographs. It was fun to watch Curtis being in heaven ;-))

Later I heard this funny story: Someone (who was it?) gave him a MT bootleg for signing, he looked at it and asked "What's that?". The guy mumbled something like "Oh, it's the xyz record from 19xy....." and he finally signed it, although not very convinced by the answer ;-))

After around one and a half hour, the band stood up and all Glimmers spontaneously gave them a big applause when they were leaving the bar!

Well, we still had a great time gathering, telling and listening to the Stones stories from all over the world and exchanging photo collections. What a nice community these Undercover people are!!! Although I never met most of the people before, with some of them it was like meeting old friends for me :-)

Because the bar was closing and because we were looking forward to a long Stones day with early queueing, the party ended at 2 am. Before that, we all stood up and raised our glasses to our Glimmer Chef Thierry, who did such a great job in organizing all that, but he said we had to thank Fabrice for that. So I'd like to thank both of you once again for that great Glimmer evening I'll never forget :-))

Going back to Paris, we had some trouble finding our way again (can you imagine some tired Glimmers in the middle of nowhere, studying maps at 3 am? ;-))) But we finally made it to the Glimmer hotel around 4 am to get a few hours of sleeping.

Sorry this story got so long, day 2 follows tomorrow, if you like...
   Ciao, Thomas (still on Bridges To Paris)

My second day in Paris

(Posted to Undercover on July 30, 1998)

Hi again!

Some impressions from the second day in Paris...

Since it was the only show in France, we thought it would be wise to queue early, and we (Mayumi, Greg, Runa, Noeka, Dem and me) arrived at the Stade de France around 10 am.

Unfortunately we had different gates printed on our tickets, so the Netherlands fraction went on, while Mayumi, Greg and me sat down at gate Z. This was the worst gate, because it was just opposite to the stage, and most people were sitting there, but we managed to settle 2 meters from the fence.

Greg spent the next half hour on doing a blow job on his two (!) air mattresses. The French people around us were watching him surprised :-) , and when he finished, it was really funny to see him and Mayumi spread on the mattresses in the sun like making holidays at the beach - only the sea was missing ;-))

The hours went by slowly. From time to time Glimmers from other gates came by to have a little chat, and we also made some walks around the Stadium to get food or drink. The weather was quite warm again, no clouds at the sky and we sweated a lot, but that's normal Glimmer business ;-)

At 3 pm, one hour before gates should open, suddenly there was this rush towards the gate again. Stupid thing, always the same! So we had to stand from that time on, and it was getting more and more packed. At least they let a pregnant lady pass the gate, but they didn't let her go inside the stadium.

The security said something I didn't read on the list yet: We were allowed to bring the water bottles in, but without the stopper! Seems idiotic to me, to run across the field with an open bottle, leaving half of the contents on the floor and other people slipping on the wet ground!

Next surprise they had for us was taking the front fences away, which caused an enormous pushing again, but not letting the people in!!!! These bastards let us wait another 15 minutes now.

At last, they started to let people in. Three guys were searching the bags, but they got pushed more and more to the inside direction, so they tried to push people back after letting some in. Very big confusion, shouting, pushing, really frightening. Mayumi and Greg had already made it inside, while that complete idiot was holding me back! Oh, my god, I was so angry, seeing lots of people run inside while I couldn't make it beyond that guy!

But that's not all: After I passed the check, they had that stupid automatic gates with bar code readers, where you had insert your ticket. Of course, most of them didn't work, security had to insert special tickets to open them. As you can guess, all that took a lot of time and I was loosing all hope for a good position in the field. That's really a shit, waiting there for so many hours and then being f*cked by security!!!!

When I came inside (several steps to go down), I realized that I had no chance to get to the front any more. Everything was already packed nearly up to the B-Stage, so I quickly ran there and was lucky to get a place at the corner front side/Keith side, directly at the fence.

Phew! I was sitting down, leaned against the fence, spread my legs to defend some space and watched the crowd running across the field. I remembered all the experienced Glimmers saying "You have to go to the B-Stage at least once!", and so I was happy in the end to be there for the first time :-)

After half an hour everything had cooled down, but I could not spot any other glimmers except BOgLiN some meters away. Around me, most people were sitting down calmly, no drunk or ugly behaving people, but I saw that the front rows were so much packed that people had to stand all the time (sorry for you Dem, Runa, Noeka, I can imagine your pain!).

One thing I have to say: French people at my place were very kind and friendly, not pushing at all (except some black sheep), but at one time four rude German people came near my place and behaved like the kings of the world, trying to make room for themselves, sitting down and forcing others to move away, one girl even trying to sneak at the fence beneath me. I really hated that and I didn't give them 1 inch of my space. I was really ashamed for that people from my country. Luckily they were moved away by the waves of the crowd when the show started....

At 8 pm the warm up band Jean-Louis Aubert took the stage and they were welcomed very enthusiastic by the crowd. Christine already explained why the Frenchies like him so much, and it was really a blast to watch the crowd dance and sing along all the songs. For me, this was o.k., although it was not my taste of music. After his gig the crowd at the seated areas was doing the "La Ola" wave! This was very impressive in this big stadium !!!

During the break, I had some time to look at the B-Stage. The scull scarf and skeleton at Keith's microphone stand, the nice underwear collection at the stairs, the famous "I fucked a Spice Girl" T-shirt fixed on a case, so that they can see it from the stage :-))

They brought some VIP guys into this area, seemed to be no special people, just normal dressed fans, who were allowed to sit down on the cases.

I also watched the works at the B-Stage, which I found very interesting. There was one nice, friendly crew guy, aged around 50, doing all the preparations, and he was a professional! That was pure precision: Prepare the drinks, fold the towels and put each exactly at its place, position the picks at the microphone stands, lay down 3 wireless transmitters for Mick, Ron and Keith, place the harmonica for LARS, etc.

Besides working the guy was joking around with the inside VIPs all the time and showed them all the details, let them have a look into the cases etc.! How I wished to be there!!!! (could have gotten some memorabilia from him, I think... :)

Then it was time, and the curtain went up again....

Wow! What an opening! Satisfaction blew the crowd and me away! I disagree with some of you here, but in my personal opinion this was the best crowd of my B2B experience (only 4 shows yet). And I also had the feeling that the boys were enjoying it from the first moment. Mick went really wild, Keith was smiling from the first song, not yet the fourth ;-) and Ronnie also got into it.

I can't tell so many details this time, because my B-Stage position was far from the stage, but there have already been and will be reports of that on the list. Only some remarks:

Flip The Switch: Tears in my eyes for the first time in a Stones might smile on this, but it simply happened!

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll made me crazy, I *love* that one!

No continuation of Saint Of Me by the crowd.

Anybody Seen My Baby best version so far for me, although I don't like it on stage.

Paint It Black: One of my favorite songs, but I was disappointed how they played it. Not that nice intro like on Flashpoint, somehow a mishmash, played in a hurry and confusion. No direction, like Dem said correctly.

Introductions: I like to watch Charlie when he gets his applause and exactly at this moment has anything very important to adjust at his drum kit :-)) That modest, nice guy!

The Keith part was great again, but the crowd cooled down on that as usual. Some even didn't know the songs!

Well, when the bridge came out, I went to heaven!!!!!!

I couldn't imagine they came so near! Oh my god, Keith was 3 meters away from me! I must have been crying his name all the time (sorry, Mayumi & Thierry, now you missed to hear that again ;-)) ) and I was going wild. Can't find the right words here, but I'm sure most of you know what I want to express! That were definitely the happiest moments in my life since my little daughter was born!

The crowd went nuts around me and there was a strong pressure from behind me, but I didn't care about it. Also the sound was very bad, strong echoes, but I didn't care about that, too ;-).

All that was important for me at that moment was watching Keith, with a mixture of smile and tears in my eyes, and waving at him. He was such a nice, warmhearted guy again, laughing and having a lot of fun, making eye contact with the crowd (unfortunately not with me)....OH MY GOD!

How can I stop? Well, I have to, else I get thrown off the list ;-) Oops, I forgot: Mick was great, too. I was waving a halo I got from Greg (thanx!), and at one time Mick pointed into my direction, but I don't know if he really meant the halo guy ;-))

Well, I can't tell you a lot from the rest of the show, because I was completely paralysed for the next hour. Normal tourist section for me, not bad, not extremely good - others will report about that on the list. I only remember Mick going crazy one time, tearing up his T-Shirt not only up to his breast, but completely over his head :-))

Great solo of Keith again on Jumping Jack Flash!

After the show, some of us met at the Ronnie light tower, but we had to leave very fast to get the last train to Paris. We went to the bar Hotel du Nord for a great after-show Glimmer meeting. For me, this was even more fun than at the Le Plan, because it was a smaller group and somehow more personal, you had more time to talk to each other than with the big crew on Friday. And of course we were all Stoned ;-))

Runa took out her Mick Jagger mask, and we had so much laughs about different people putting it on :-))) Remember Mayumi Jagger? :-)))

In the end, the bar even went out of beer :-)), so we left around 4.30 am.

All together, this was a day I'll never forget! My first B-Stage experience was blowing my mind (Doc Thierry, can you help me?) and it won't be the last one! Keeeiiittthhh, I'm coming back to see you!!!!! Great crowd (just MY view), great atmosphere, great gatherings, nice new and old Glimmer friends.

Too long again....
   Ciao, Thomas (the German Keefaholic ;-))

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