I’ll be darned — the Rolling Stones are on the road again. The band launched its “50 and Counting” anniversary tour Friday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (cheapest ticket: $250).
On April 27, a small crowd of about 700 got a sneak peak with a 90-minute concert at the Echoplex in L.A., the Associated Press reported. The band’s encore included “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
I saw the Stones once, sort of.
In 1972, they played the Knoxville Civic Coliseum with Stevie Wonder as an opening act. I went with M.P. and my sister. I was sick, but I wasn’t going to miss the show. My doctor had ordered bed rest, and who did I run into as soon as I walked in the Coliseum door? My doctor. He was on hand to treat drug overdoses and girls overcome by the wonder of Mick Jagger.
He told me I shouldn’t be there, but I was determined, no matter how bad I felt.
Consequently, the concert is a blur. It is also a blur because M.P. couldn’t sit still for five minutes. She thought we could find better seats. So, we sat on the stairs, we sat in seats until someone came to claim them, we stood, we returned to our seats, and so on.
I vaguely remember Stevie Wonder, I have flashes of Mick Jagger stored somewhere, but I couldn’t tell you a single song either of them sang. Mostly I saw the back of M.P.’s head as we followed her from seat to seat.
To be honest I wasn’t much of a Stones fan until “Sticky Fingers” came out in 1971. Since it was one of five albums everyone played for the next two years, it’s good that I loved it.
And since “Brown Sugar” and another song whose title isn’t suitable for a family newspaper were on the set lists of the two guitarists I dated (not at the same time), I probably heard them played live close to a hundred times.
Did I hear the Stones play “Brown Sugar” live? Who the heck knows.
By the time the concert was over, I was wiped out, and went straight home. I’m not sure what my sister did, but M.P. somehow ended up at the Hyatt in an elevator with Jagger. She had a way of being in the right place at the right time, if sharing elevator space with a rock legend is your thing. I wouldn’t have minded it.
I have nothing but admiration for a band that can keep it together for 50 years and still deliver shows people really want to see — even if the musicians are pushing 70, and one of them looks like he’s been pickled. I have a theory that musicians like Keith Richards have survived against all odds because they chose to do what they loved and continue to do what they love long after others have thrown in the towel. Who would have thought the Stones would transition from bad influences to role models in just 50 years?
The Stones continue to make great music, but it’s very unlikely I’ll see them.
Oh, that’s right, I have.
It’s a petty regret, but I do wish I could remember that concert. It must have been amazing.
Jan Hearne is the Press Tempo editor. Reach her at email@example.com.