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Tuesday, August 11, 1998 Published at 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK


Stones rock Russia

The Rolling Stones getting some satisfaction in Russia

The Rolling Stones finally got their chance to play a concert in Russia, more than 30 years after they first tried to get permission.

Tens of thousands of fans had to sit through driving rain to see the concert that could never have been staged during the communist era.

[ image: The 'Stones' are on a tour of taking in 90 concerts]
The 'Stones' are on a tour of taking in 90 concerts
The band came on stage playing their classic "Satisfaction" and mixed old standards with recent material.

The crowd was made up mostly of young Russians, but also included plenty of middle-aged fans. Some had come from as far away as Siberia.

'Nyet' for many years

The Soviet regime during the 1960s were not impressed by the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll image of the band.

Even a decade later, a second request by the Rolling Stones to play in Russia was rejected by the authorities.

But now the band have fulfilled their long-held dream.

In Moscow, frontman Mick Jagger said of the past: "It was an entirely political decision as the regime did not want any rock bands at all."

New generation of rockers

But the Rolling Stones are not so young anymore, and have been irreverently nicknamed The Strolling Bones.

Even the Russian Prime Minister, Sergey Kiriyenko, is a whole generation younger than them.

The band's latest Bridges to Babylon tour has been beset with problems.

First Mick Jagger went down with laryngitis, and then the European section of the tour had to be delayed after guitarist Keith Richards broke two ribs.

However, the one-off concert in Moscow, held at the 83,000-seater Luzhniki sports stadium, was a success.

With tickets priced at between $20-200, the gig was too expensive for many. The average Russian monthly wage is around $150.

But those able to find the money were able to swell the stadium and make it a night to remember.

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