Tags: rolling stones | havana | cuba

Rolling Stones Land in Cuba for Historic First Concert

Image: Rolling Stones Land in Cuba for Historic First Concert
Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones wave after landing in Havana. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 25 Mar 2016 01:43 PM

The Rolling Stones landed in Cuba on Thursday evening on the heels of President Barack Obama's historic visit, and will play their first-ever concert on the island Friday night.

USA Today reported that the band's music was once banned outright by the Communist regime, but — in what many are calling a historic shift — their concert at Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva sports complex will be totally free to the public. 

"Obviously something has happened in the last few years," lead singer Mick Jagger said in English upon landing, according to The Associated Press. "So, time changes everything . . . we are very pleased to be here and I'm sure it's going to be a great show." 

From the 1960s to the 1980s, foreign rock bands like the Rolling Stones were blocked from radio for fear they were subversive. This led many Cuban citizens to pass records around by hand, and listen in private.

"I’d put the music on loud, and my mother would come rushing in and tell me to lower the volume," said Alberto González, a chef trained in Italy who recently returned to Cuba. "I didn’t understand why."

According to The Wall Street Journal, "music tastes, as well as other regime transgressions such as being too Catholic or being gay, got many Cubans — including the island’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega, then a young priest — thrown into work camps to do penance for 'ideological deviation' and then go through re-education in revolutionary values." 

Cuban musicologist Joaquin Borres said the event will be the biggest rock concert of its kind to ever be held on the island, and said he hopes it will encourage "other groups of that stature to come and perform."

The Stones brought a huge entourage of about 60 technical workers and family members, not to mention 2,866 pounds of audio/visual equipment for the show.

The special show will cap off the band's "Ole" Latin America tour, which also visited Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.

CBS News compared the historic concert to Wham!'s 1984 "Freedom" tour that visited China, as well as Elton John's 1979 concerts in Moscow, which "pierced the Iron Curtain." 

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The Rolling Stones landed in Cuba on Thursday evening on the heels of President Barack Obama's historic visit, and will play their first-ever concert on the island Friday night.
rolling stones, havana, cuba
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2016-43-25
Friday, 25 Mar 2016 01:43 PM
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