Yesterday was a monumental moment in history, as The Rolling Stones played the first ever open air concert by a western band in Cuba. As Mick Jagger said on stage, “times are changing”.
However, there was one person who was not so happy about the gig — Pope Francis. Apparently he tried to put a stop to the whole thing because it was being held on Good Friday. He wanted the band to avoid the holy day and even wrote them a letter suggesting that they start at midnight instead.
A tour insider told The Sun:
The band’s team were flabbergasted when the Vatican got in touch by letter — couldn’t believe their eyes.
Much as they didn’t want to upset the Pope, they had a contract to play and were going to honour it.
They have made a promise to the Cuban people and won’t let them down.
Which is fair enough — they were expecting around 500,000 fans to show up after all. Plus I’m guessing the Stones ain’t catholic so I doubt they felt particularly obliged. Although they did reportedly send a respectful reply to the Vatican saying that other global music events were taking place that day as well and they managed to settle the matter before going on stage.
I’m sure worrying about playing on a holy day was the last thing on their minds because, as said, this was one of the most important gigs in terms of historical change. It was only shortly after The Rolling Stones had their first live show that Fidel Castro pronounced rock and roll to be “the music of the enemy”.
The hostility between the US and Cuba has obviously melted away so much now, which is proved by the fact that The Rolling Stones were invited to play in Havana. Not to mention Barack Obama and Raul Castro now having a new found friendship after sharing one of the most awkward handshakes of all time.