HAVANA – On March 25 a free outdoor concert will be performed by The Rolling Stones in Havana as the band announced on Tuesday. This might be the best act to play since its 1959 revolution; thus a milestone event in a country where the communist government once banned the group’s music as an “ideological deviation.”
Noting that president Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro stated in December 2014 that they would seek to stabilize relations after more than half a century of Cold War animosity, the performance will take place three days after U.S. President Barack Obama is due to conclude a visit to Cuba, which is also the first by an American president since 1928.
The band added the Concert for Amity show –not only will likely be the biggest rock concert ever staged in Cuba – to a Latin American tour that had been due to end on March 17 in Mexico City, but also this concert, which will be filmed, is set to take place on fields surrounding Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva, a 26-hectare (64-acre) sports complex.
The band said it is the very first concert to perform in open-air in Cuba by a British rock band.
“We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too,” the band said in a statement accompanied by an image of its four current members – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.
After the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro, Raul’s brother, to power the Caribbean nation censured the group formed in London in 1962, as well as the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
Fidel Castro ultimately lamented the music censorship and attended the unveiling of a statue of late former Beatle John Lennon on the 20th anniversary of his death on Dec. 8, 2000, in a Havana park.
“I very much regret not having known you before,” Castro said during the ceremony.
On Tuesday, tour guide Julio Garcia responded with joy to the news of the Stones’ visit, which was filtering out slowly on the island.
“Los Rolling in Cuba? Wow!” he said. “We have been waiting for them here for many years.”
Armando Gonzalez, 57, drove up in a blue and white Chevrolet built in 1954, before either the revolution or the Rolling Stones had tasted success.
“Their music has no borders,” he said. “Now there is an opening and we will be able to enjoy them fully.”