Cuba: Rolling Stones rock Havana with landmark gig

cuba (403 x 430)Entertainment Desk
The Rolling Stones have rocked Havana, playing to tens of thousands in the Cuban capital, where most foreign rock music was banned for several decades.
Many of those at the free concert were lifelong fans who for years had to keep quiet about their love of the Stones and other groups.
Mick Jagger welcomed fans in Spanish before opening the performance with the 1968 hit Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
The concert comes days after a historic visit by US President Barack Obama.
‘Time changes everything’
Tens of thousands of Cubans queued for hours to get into the grounds of Havana’s huge 450,000-capacity Ciudad Deportiva venue.
“Hello, Havana. Good evening, my people of Cuba,” said Jagger before beginning the eagerly awaited performance.
The band swept through 18 songs in a two-hour gig, including Sympathy for the Devil and Satisfaction.
The gig is being seen as another sign of real change on the island. Until about 15 years ago Cuba’s communist government banned most Western rock and pop music, which was deemed decadent and subversive. But Cuba has changed significantly in recent years, particularly in the past 18 months as the process of rapprochement with the United States has quickened, says the BBC’s Will Grant in Havana.
Fans travelled from many parts of Cuba and other countries to witness what some described as a historic moment.
“It was forbidden. We couldn’t have the Beatles or some singers from Latin America. Now we are allowed to hear what we want to hear,” a fan told the BBC. “The visit from Obama [earlier this week], and now the Rolling Stones. It’s just unique and historic. So, yeah, nice to be here,” said another one.