Stones demand apology from Swedish papers

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STOCKHOLM  -- Guitarist Keith Richards has demanded that two Swedish newspapers apologize to the Rolling Stones and their fans in Sweden for stinging reviews of the band's performance at a concert in Gothenburg.

"Never before have I risen to the bait of a bad review," the veteran rock star said in a statement released Wednesday. "But this time ... I have to stand up for our incredible Gothenburg audience and for our fans all over Sweden ... to say that you owe them, and us, an apology."

A review in the newspaper Expressen said 63-year-old Richards, renowned for his haggard looks and tales of excess, appeared "very drunk" during the Aug. 3 performance in Sweden's second-largest city.

The Rolling Stones ended the two-year "Bigger Bang" world tour last Sunday in London.

Earlier this month, Richards toppled over on stage at another show in Helsinki.

In a statement sent to the newspapers Expressen and Aftonbladet by the group's promoter in Sweden, the British musician said the press had abused its power. "You have a duty to wield the power of the press with honesty and integrity. There were 56,000 people in Ullevi stadium who bought a ticket to our concert -- and experienced a completely different show than the one you 'reviewed'."

He added: "How dare you cheapen the experience for them -- and for the hundreds of thousands of other people across Sweden who weren't at Ullevi and have only your 'review' to go on."

The statement, a copy of which was provided to Reuters by the promoter, concluded: "Write the truth. It was a good show."
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