Please Pardon My MisEducation

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rolling Stones Aging Bones

Wednesday afternoon my phone rang at work. A friend of mine on the other end.

"I've got tickets for the Stones tonight that I can't use. Do you want them?"

I couldn't use them. Rhiana had a doctor's appointment down city Providence at 6 and the concert was at Gillette Stadium starting at 7. Even if she was in and out in a half hour we wouldn't make it in time.

"Sorry man, I'd love to see Mick and the boys before they start to keel over dead, but I can't do it."

I hang up the phone and email Rhi. She wants the tickets. She called and said we could make it in time because the Stones wouldn't hit the stage until 9 or so. We'd undoubtedly miss the starting act, but who really cares.

Now earlier in the day I'd already been to Gillette for the bank's annual shareholders meeting with my boss. He WAS going to the concert. While we were at the shareholders meeting we could see into the stadium that had the full stage already set to go for the evening's performance. I prodded him a couple of times about the appearance of wheel chair ramps on the stage and how they'd be put to good use with the top billed act all at the average age of about 76 (really only about 60).

Back to the opening act...I looked it up online. I wanted to know what I would be missing to see if I could (or should) press any harder to be there early. Kanye West. I immediately called off the dogs. Getting to Foxboro by 9 was just fine by me.

As we arrived off of route 1 and paid $40 to make Bob Kraft even wealthier (it's only $20 to park for Patsy...I mean Patriot games.) The lights were on in the stadium so we arrived in between acts. We jumped out of our car and crossed over with the rest of the foot traffic on route one. All along the way the excitment was building inside see these legendary icons of music.

When we got to the ticket gates Rhiana and I were separated. Women through two sets of gates signes indicating how they should choose. One for women with bags and for women without bags. Men were all shuffled into one line...ironically it was a line that had a sign stating "Men with bags." Two frat boys in front of me snickering while joking about "man satchels" alluding to a man carrying a bag must be homosexual. I just thought to myself..."You idiots don't get it...every man has a bag."

We crossed the wide pavillion separating the East and West sections of the stadium...right around the time we hit the center of standing room only and the general admission area, the lights went out, the crowd roared, and fireworks climbed into the sky above the stage. The snare drum snapped at a feverish pace and my favorite baseline accompanied by Mick Jaggers entrancing voice snaked thru "Painted Black."

We finally got to our seats and sat down and were able to focus on the stage. Mick Jagger hasn't lost a step and truly his voice was the only worthy part of the entire production. He immediately gained the audience's attention when he was talking about the last time he'd been to Gillette and mentioned the New England Patriots to which I turned to Rhi and said "I wonder how much Bob Kraft had to pay to get that done?" Needless to say that did not make me popular with those sitting around us.

Keith Richards DID NOT look good. At one point he missed several bridges in a song in which he was singing. Not untypical for a lead vocalist at a live concert, but when it was obviousl he was going to continue to miss the bridges and the song was running unbelievably long the rythm guitarist came up and gave him a nudge. Richards smiled after the song and lit up a cigarette. Nearly falling over he grabbed the microphone and muttered, "I needed that." And followed it up after a few deep puffs with, "It's been a long year." I'm thinking it's been a long 60 years for that old guy.

As we sat mostly and listened to the music it was interesting to hear them play all the old tunes. I heard a little of almost every mainstream band from today in what I heard from the Stones that night. It signified to me just how much influence this band has had on music over the last 40 plus years. It also gives perspective on just what it means to see them live and what a priveledge it is to do so, especially at this point in their career. This very well could be their last tour together.

We left a little early as we both had to work on Thursday and didn't want to sit in traffic before the 40 minute drive home. I've never been a huge fan of the Stones. I really only own one album of theirs. I do however know what they represent and I'm glad that had the opportunity to go see them live.


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