Havana Moon is a concert film by the Rolling Stones, directed by Paul Dugdale. Havana Moon was filmed on 25 March 2016 in Havana, Cuba. The film is a recording of a free outdoor concert put on by the band at the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana sports complex, which was attended by an estimated 500,000 concert-goers. The concert marked the first time a rock band had performed in Cuba to such a large crowd. On 11 November 2016 the film was released in multiple formats.
When the news that sitting United States president, Barack Obama was to visit Cuba was released—marking the first time a sitting president had visited the island nation in 88 years—the concert was rescheduled from 20 March 2016 to 25 March 2016.
The concert was suggested by lawyer Gregory Elias to Rolling Stones manager Joyce Smyth during a phone call on 13 November 2015. Elias suggested that the Stones play a free concert in Cuba, which he would cover the costs of – to which Smyth responded “Well, that’s certainly a unique proposal”. The concert was bankrolled by Elias’ charitable organization, Fundashon Bon Intenshon. There was some speculation that the move on Elias’ part was politically motivated, to which he responded in a statement that he only wanted to do something good for the Cuban people and did not have any business relations in the country.
The concert was planned for several months prior to its public announcement while the band was on their 2016 tour of South America, titled América Latina Olé Tour 2016. The bands’ manager, Joyce Smyth, and Concerts West worked extensively with the Cuban government in order for the show to be approved, due to the Cuban government still having control over what its citizens listen to. The embargo on Cuba proved to be a technical challenge for the band and stage crews since they had to ship all of their equipment from Belgium and could not rely on local infrastructure to assist to the degree that they are used to in more developed areas.
The concert took place 5 days after President Barack Obama visited Cuba, marking the first time a sitting United States president has visited the island nation since the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, visited the nation 88 years earlier, in 1928.
The show was originally scheduled to take place 20 March 2016. However, after it was announced that President Barack Obama was scheduled to arrive on the same day, concerns were raised and the decision was made to reschedule the concert to 25 March 2016. Shortly before the rescheduled concert date, Pope Francis attempted to delay it, asking that the band play on a later date as the concert was scheduled for 25 March 2016, which was Good Friday, a major and solemn Christian holiday. The Vatican also suggested that the band delay the start of their concert until midnight to avoid the holy day. However, the Stones opted to play the concert at the originally scheduled date and time.
Prior to the show, the band were guests of honour at the British embassy in Cuba, which held a meet and greet on 24 March 2016 for approximately 200 people, many being Cuban musicians. The Rolling Stones also started a “musician-to-musician” charity initiative in which musical instruments were donated by major instrument suppliers to Cuban musicians of all genres.
The concert itself was attended by a crowd estimated to have consisted of over 500 thousand concert-goers and marked the first time a foreign rock band had performed an open-air concert in Cuba to a crowd of that size.
The film received critical acclaim from multiple publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and The Daily Telegraph. The New York Times stated that “The Rolling Stones gave a stunning performance”. The Guardian remarked that the show was “spectacular and historic,” with the Daily Express sharing a similar viewpoint, calling it a “historic” show. Rolling Stone magazine praised the concert, stating that it was “no ordinary concert” and had a significant impact for music in Cuba.
“This was no ordinary concert. People hugged and shared looks of disbelief. Coming at the end of a run of shows in South America and Mexico, last night might have marked at least a temporary pause for the legendary group, but it had all the markings of a new chapter for music in Cuba.” (Richard L. Dewey, Rolling Stone, 26 March 2016)
“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 Rolling Stones official statement, 1 March 2016)
This video was ripped from the a German TV channel called 3sat with German subtitles.
Mick Jagger (vocals, harmonica, guitar)
Keith Richards (guitar, vocals)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Ron Wood (guitar)
Sasha Allen (background vocals)
Karl Denson (saxophone)
Bernard Fowler (background vocals)
Darryl Jones (bass, background vocals)
Chuck Leavell (keyboards)
Tim Ries (saxophone, keyboards)
Havanna Chor: Coro Entrevoces
Directed by Paul Dugdale
01. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
02. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)
03. Tumbling Dice
04. Out of Control
05. All Down The Line
07. Paint It Black
08. Honky Tonk Women
09. You Got the Silver
10. Before They Make Me Run
11. Midnight Rambler
12. Miss You
13. Gimme Shelter
14. Start Me Up
15. Sympathy For The Devil
16. Brown Sugar
17. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
18. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
All songs written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards