In Cuba, senior citizens rock
Senior citizens rock!
Yes, if you thought Barack Obama was the big ticket this year in Havana, think again.
The President of the United States, for all his charisma and courage in traveling to Cuba putting aside half century of relentless enmity, was only the opening act for the Rolling Stones, a band that is a monument to the improbable stamina and endurance of old —and I mean, old— people.
They say old rockers never die, they just keep making more and more money, and to look at Mick Jagger’s and Keith Richards’ well-worn 72-year-old hides, is to believe in the immortality of the creators of Honky Tonk Women.
“We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana will be a milestone for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the Stones –who are almost Cuban President Raúl Castro’s contemporaries -- said in a statement released Thursday. Somehow it was weirdly appropriate (or perhaps not) for the band that made Sympathy for the Devil a rock and roll classic, to have played in Cuba on Good Friday, a solemn day of mourning for Christians.
The concert started at 8:30 pm at Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva, but people were pouring in like wild horses since early in the morning, according to José Jasán Nieves, a 28-year old free lance journalist and editor for online publications like elTOQUE and ONCuba.
"The excitement was great in Havana and among rockers from all over Cuba,” Jasán Nieves said. “It was a tremendous spectacle, such a huge stage, so much sound equipment, so many lights, it was almost scary. Thousands of people wanted to enjoy it.”
The young journalist was right. With a 260 feet stage and 10 gigantic video screens never before seen in Cuba, the spectacle was nothing short of tremendous.
Decades ago –from the 1960s to the 1980s—the Stones and other foreign bands, the Beatles included, were considered subversive in Cuba and were banned. Radio stations were not allowed to play their music, but people listened to them anyway, passing records from hand to hand.
This is a new time in Cuba, and just three days after President Obama’s departure, the Rolling Stones finally brought, well, satisfaction, to their formerly clandestine fans on the island who probably never thought their Satanic Majesties would perform in Havana. For them it was a treat as welcome as it was unexpected.
“For those who have a debt of love with the Stones this was a unique occasion, and those (my sixty-something uncle included), those were not going to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their Majesties,” Jasán Nieves said.
It’s true, of course, that as the song says, you can’t always get what you want, but with the Rolling Stones free concert last Friday, hundreds of thousands of Cubans got something they had long wished for.
Definitely, senior citizens rock!
Contact Albor Ruiz at [email protected].