Rolling Stones Play Historic Cuba Gig
The Rolling Stones played to nearly 500,000 fans in Cuba on Friday in a historic free concert in Havana.
The British veteran rockers are the first Western band to play in the country since the Communist Revolution, and frontman Sir Mick Jagger told fans at the Ciudad Deportiva venue that it would be an “unforgettable” night.
Before opening the show with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” the singer addressed the crowd in Spanish, “Hola Habana, buenas noches mi gente de Cuba” – which translates as “Hello Havana, goodnight my people of Cuba.”
He added, “We’re finally here. I’m sure this will be an unforgettable night.”
Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts had jetted into the country on Thursday with their crew and families ahead of their historic gig.
Before they landed, they released a video in Spanish with English subtitles, saying: “We have performed in many special places during our long career but this concert in Havana is going to be an historic event for us. We hope it will be for you too.”
Their music had been banned in Cuba for years because it was considered subversive, and was stopped from playing on the radio. Editors at the Daily Mirror report that Cubans listened to their music in secret, eventually building a huge Rolling Stones fanbase in the country.
The band posted the set-list on Twitter after the gig, revealing the string of hits that they performed during their free concert. The crowd went wild as the rockers played iconic hits including “Out of Control,” “Angie,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Start Me Up,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” and “Brown Sugar.”
The Stones closed the show with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
“Thank you Cuba for an incredible, unforgettable show! It was wonderful to see all of you!” they posted on Twitter straight after the show, with images from the historic gig.
Sir Richard Branson was one of the famous guests at the free gig, and he wrote on Twitter before the show on Friday, “Excited to be heading to Cuba to see my friends the Rolling Stones rock Havana!”
The Daily Mirror report the show went ahead despite the Pope trying to halt the concert, which took place on the religious holiday Good Friday. A tour insider told the newspaper, “The band’s team were flabbergasted when the Vatican got in touch by letter – couldn’t believe their eyes.
“Much as they didn’t want to upset the Pope, they had a contract to play and were going to honor it. They have made a promise to the Cuban people and won’t let them down.”
The band have been touring Latin America with concerts in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Brazil.
The rockers’ concert is the second landmark event to happen in Cuba this week, after President Barack Obama became the first U.S. leader to visit the country since the 1959 revolution.