The Rolling Stones Play Historic Free Concert in Cuba

Posted on March 26, 2016

The Rolling Stones made history by playing a full, free concert for the Cuban people on Friday, March 25th. The Stones were very shocked to receive a letter from Pope Francis asking them to postpone the concert and not play on Good Friday. He asked if they could at least not start the concert until midnight. But the band had a contract and the venue had been booked for quite a while, so they carried on with the concert.

The BBC reports that the Stones wrote back to the Holy Father politely pointing out that they had a contract and that they did not want to let down the Cuban people. They also noted that many concerts around the world were scheduled for that Friday. A tour insider told The Mirror that the band was "flabbergasted" to get a letter from the Vatican, but was determined to press on with the highly anticipated concert.

The concert was a huge success, with people camping out days before to be sure to get a great seat. No international rock band has played Cuba since Fidel Castro took over in the 1950s. The Stones' albums were passed around, but never played in public, and the fans have beyond excited about the concert. Many fans told reporters that the concert was even more important to Cuba than the visit by the sitting U.S. president, Barack Obama.

Mick Jagger addressed fans in Spanish before diving into the Stones' monster 1968 hit "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The Ciudad Deportiva holds 450,000 and the venue was packed. The band played for two hours, performing 18 songs, including It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It), Tumbling Dice, Gimme Shelter, Start Me Up, Sympathy for the Devil Brown Sugar, You Can't Always Get What You Want, and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Here's a brief clip from the concert:

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