The Rolling Stones play their first-ever show in Cuba

on Wed, 03/30/2016 - 13:50
The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones gave their first-ever performance in Cuba on March 25, playing on the grounds of the Ciudad Deportiva in the capital city of Havana. You can see video of the opening two songs, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)" above and excerpts of other songs below.

"We know that years ago, it was difficult to listen to our music in Cuba, but now here we are in your beautiful land", the Guardian reports Mick Jagger as saying to the crowd in Spanish. "I think that, finally, the times are changing. That's true, no?"

The Stones gave a hits-packed 18-song set in front of a crowd estimated at 450,000, many of whom had come from other countries, judging by the number of flags spotted. Although it was a free concert, they brought a full production with them, and the Guardian noted that the band used massive high-definition video screens in a country where many residents still have small, old television sets.

"This will be one of those weeks that people will use to measure other events. In the future, they’ll ask, was it before or after the Stones played", Tania Livia, told the Guardian.

Rock music was outlawed in Cuba in the '60s, shortly after Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959 and before the Rolling Stones. But the ban was lifted in 2000, and the last 18 months has seen a softening of relations between the U.S. and the Caribbean island nation, as exemplified by the visit earlier this week of President Barack Obama, who became the first sitting president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.