A few days after US president Barak Obama made a historic visit to Cuba, the Caribbean island which had been on the US blacklist for decades, British Rock royalty, The Rollings Stones arrived in Cuba for their first ever concert on the Spanish-speaking island, attracting huge press coverage worlwide.
The battle for the headlines has begun as the Stones touched down in Cuban capital, Havana on Thursday, one day ahead of the free concert Friday night, at which it is reported that more than half a million are expected to cram into the Ciudad Deportivo sports complex on a first come first serve basis. Every major and not-so-major news outlet has been reporting on the story, from the Wall Street Journal to Billboard — certainly a huge PR coup for the Stones, which has been quietly touring Latin America since last month.
The four septugenarian members of the rock band – frontman Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts – are set to rock Cuba’s capital in what will surely be the largest rock concert ever held on the island. According to website aljazeera: “Cuba’s revolutionary regime and the Rolling Stones have one thing in common: unexpected longevity.The left-wing government has defied expectations by outlasting the Soviet Union, its former backer, by decades. The Rolling Stones, a 54-year-old unruly rock ‘n’ roll act, still wow crowds with impressive vim for septuagenarians.”
Reports are that from early last week a crew of 140 Stones employees and some 80 Cubans have been setting the stage at the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana sports complex for the show dubbed the Concert for Amity.
Latin American tour
The Stones’ Latin American tour kicked off in February in Santiago, Chile, and according to reports, the Cuba concert was a last-minute addition to the rock group’s itinerary. With tickets prices elsewhere up to US$200, Cubans, will certainly have a lot to be thankful for on the day that is traditionally celebrated in Christendom as Good Friday.
In their on-the-ground preparations for the concert, the band used 61 shipping containers to import an estimated 500 tonnes of equipment, such as the stage, speakers, lights and video screens, Skjerseth said. A Boeing 747 arrived from Mexico last week carrying the last of the gear, the Rolling Stones manager reported.