What do the Pope, President Obama, and the Rolling Stones have in common? In a word: CUBA! In slightly more words: arguably one of the biggest (and best) rock bands of all times, The Rolling Stones, have played a landmark gig in Havana, Cuba this month.
Richard Norman | Co-Founder of AnotherTicket
You’ll probably agree with us that current world conditions are unstable, unsafe, and often scary. However, behind politics, foreign policies and current affairs debates is the music and the entertainment industry.
In case you didn’t know: (where’ve you been?!) Cuba, a historically communist country, has banned most foreign music for several decades due to it being “decadent” and “subversive”.
March 25th saw a change in this when in an historic moment, The Rolling Stones opened their gig in the country’s capital, Havana. Crowds as large as 450,000 were expected to attend the free gig. Many of the people attending were lifelong fans who, due to the regime, have had to keep quiet about their views. The Stones opened the show with their hit from 1968 “Jumpin Jack Flash,” before playing through a set of 18 fantastic songs.
President Obama visited the country a few days ago in order to improve relations between the two countries. It seems to have worked! Maybe your friends at AnotherTicket should see if there are any business opportunities? What do you think?!
However, not everyone was overly excited, as it is reported on several major news outlets that Pope Francis wrote to the band to ask for the show to start after midnight, as their gig fell on Good Friday. But did the famous rockers show Sympathy for the Devil? The band’s team were reported to have been “flabbergasted” when they received the letter from the Vatican and although they did not want to offend the Pope, they had a rock show to perform!
The Stones are not the first band to play a gig in Cuba: American dance group Major Lazer played a free gig in front of the US Embassy in Havana on March 6th, a few days after the President had visited. The Dead Daisies (the less well known members of Thin Lizzy, Guns ‘n’ Roses and INXS) played in Feb 2015, as a cultural exchange where they played two shows and did workshops for young local musicians. More notably, The Manic Street Preachers played a gig to fans and Fidel Castro himself in 2001; it was a quote by Castro that gave the title for the DVD “Louder than War.” Audioslave, a band made up of members of Rage Against the Machine who had never played Cuba despite their politically charged music, finally played a free gig in 2005; the first Americans to do so since the 1970’s when Billy Joel and Friends played a free gig in 1979.
Wrapping up, I guess the whole point of this month’s blog is to demonstrate how music doesn’t only bring people together, it can also (at least start to) build bridges between nations. That’s a big deal, surely. I am not one for over-the-top sentiment, however I truly believe a world without music would be an incredibly sad place to live. Let’s count our blessings and keep music live, fresh and, most importantly, life-changing by helping to #kickoutthetout
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Photo Credit: Taconspolitics
Posted in : General News
28 Mar 2016