Even in a lifetime of firsts for the Rolling Stones, this was a big one. On March 25 this year, the rock legends became the first band ever to play a free outdoor show in Havana.

The concert was captured by director Paul Dugdale in Havana Moon – The Rolling Stones Live In Cuba, which is being screened across the UK tomorrow (Sep 23).

To set the scene Mick Jagger shares his memories of the Rolling Stones’ visit to Cuba, how it came about and what happened on that spectacular night in Havana.

You had some fun with the Havana Moon title, a nice nod to an old Chuck Berry song.

Yeah, I thought it was a kind of fun little reference. When we were looking for a title, that just popped into my head, although it’s a long time since I’ve heard that song. It’s really moody, and I thought it would work really well for a title. Everyone seemed to like it.

Presumably you never thought about playing in Cuba because it was never a possibility before?

No, I don’t think we ever thought of playing there, not until a couple of years ago, when it started to be mentioned by people, because the American restrictions were easing, bit by bit, you know? We probably could have played there ages ago, but it would have been quite difficult. A lot of my friends, going back three, four, five years, were saying ‘Why don’t you do a concert there?’ .

Was this like the final frontier for the Stones in terms of live locations?

Not really, no. We’ve played one gig in Africa. That’s a big place. Like to go back. And maybe India as well.

Had you been to Cuba yourself?

Yeah, I always wanted to go. I have a house in the Caribbean and I kept thinking, I’ve got to go before it gets done, touristically. So I went last October/November with some friends. We went to Havana, we didn’t go anywhere else. It was very quiet, off season, really lovely, and I went to see a lot of music clubs and got the feeling of the place. There were no tourists around, so it was kind of an ‘only Cubans’ thing.

I met a few people and got the feeling of how it would be if we played there, whether it would be exciting, and what people thought. I was kind of scoping it out, but I was having a really good time. I meant to recce venues, but in the end, there weren’t really any to recce.

Everybody told me there was only Revolution Square (where the Pope played!), the Pan-American Stadium, which is where they had some athletics games some years ago, but it wasn’t possible to use it because it wasn’t really right. Then there was the baseball stadium, which was a little small for what we wanted. I’d seen the athletic ground place on the way to the airport, I knew it had zero kind of facilities, so that presented a lot of problems. So I did a bit of a recce, but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure it was going to be welcomed by regular people.

Did any fan mail for the band ever get through from Cuba in the past?

No, I don’t remember any. It’s very close to America, so the radio overlaps and there’s a lot of exchange of music. People all knew about the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and all that sort of thing, it wasn’t so cut off. I mean, it was cut off, yes, and it was difficult to get things, but so was Poland. People got things if they were that interested. We went to Poland in 1966, that was a weird one. That was a much more repressed state than Cuba.

But if you want to talk about the serious part, that was an amazing month in Cuba. You had the Pope, Obama, Major Lazer and then the Stones, all going there. But you’d have to ask Cuban people — I don’t know whether they’re feeling anything after that or not. It’s not a free place, you’re still not allowed to say what you would like, and you’re still not allowed to assemble, and you’re not allowed much internet access, just a little bit here and there. So it appears to the outside world that this is a liberated place. I don’t know the answer to that, I’m just positing the question.

In the other film we’ve made about Latin America, which is called Olé Olé Olé!, there’s a lot of that history. There was repression in a lot of the Latin American countries, because they were like right-wing military dictatorships. It also happened in Franco’s Spain, they banned rock ‘n’ roll, and in the Soviet satellite countries and the Soviet Union, so Fidel Castro copied the Soviet Union’s banning of bourgeois, decadent music. That didn’t last forever.

Rock ‘n’ roll is just one part of the cultural jigsaw. You need all these parts, you need cultural and political exchanges on every level, and you need people to exchange their ideas. Popular culture, movies, music and television are all part of the dialogue.

Did the crowd behave differently from your audiences in other countries?

They were super-enthusiastic, and dancing, but they seemed to know the songs, and they behaved just like a Latin American audience at some of the other concerts, in a lot of ways. It didn’t feel like you were in another world. There was a lot of waving of smartphones. On the top of it, it appears to be just like us, but underneath, I think it’s problematic. But everyone’s used to it.

So your impressions of Havana were good?

I love it, I’d love to go back, it was really great and the people were wonderful, so welcoming and the music was great. The history of it is very interesting, it goes back a really long way and I’d love to explore it a bit more.

Did you get a chance to explore the city before or after the concert?

There was no time. You arrive one day, it’s a kerfuffle of press, you go and eat and do the gig and the next day you’re gone. It’s almost impossible to get much of an impression. There was a party at the British Embassy. But you’re trying to concentrate on doing the show. I had a lot of fun with it, because I’d been there for a couple of weeks, before, and it was fresh in my mind, and I met people that I’d met. But if I hadn’t been there before, I would have been in this rush to try and get everything right for the show, which was a bit up in the air.

You spoke quite a lot of Spanish during the show. Do you speak the language?

Not really. I find it quite easy, if I prep it, I can get by. I’d just been doing Spanish for almost the whole tour, apart from the whole Brazil part, which is Portuguese and more difficult. So I was kind of ok. Even my daughter Jade gave me a kind of grudging compliment. Her Spanish is quite good, and she said ‘Your Spanish wasn’t bad.’ I said ‘Well, I’ve been doing it for three months or something.’ I think you’ve got to make the effort to talk to people in their own language. Even if you make a [mess] of it, it doesn’t matter. I think people appreciate you trying. A lot of people speak English, but not everywhere, so it’s good to do phrases. The thing about Spanish is that it’s different in each country, they have different words and slang and ways of pronouncing it. Someone said ‘You can’t pronounce it like that, you’re speaking like a Chilean.’ I was like, ‘What’s wrong with that?!’ Q: The appearance of the local choir, Entrevoces, for the encore of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was very stirring.

The Cuban choir, they were very good. We have a network of choirs that we have relationships with all over the world. We do a practice with them the day before, and then if we can, we do one on the day, backstage or on the stage.

You guys have been captured on film on stage in many different settings around the world over the decades, but it must be nice to have a permanent of this particular show.

Yeah, I think so. It was a really special night for Cubans, and some of the older people said they never thought it would ever happen, that that kind of world had kind of passed them by. The younger people don’t think quite like that, but they just want to have a good time and they’re glad that people are coming, and hopefully other people will come.

They don’t have to be all outdoor free concerts, because that’s really hard to do. But they do like an outdoor free concert! I hope other people will follow and overcome the difficulties, so that it becomes more of a stop on the trail, because the Cuban people will love it. They had a special night and it was a wonderful thing for us as well.

Screening in various cinemas on Friday, September 23.