It’s been a long time coming, but I finally get to see the Rolling Stones tomorrow night, with some of my siblings, in Minneapolis. The only thing that stinks about it is the venue. They are playing at the Vikings’ stadium, which is terrible acoustically and it is all draped in weirdo purple Vikings crap. At least we won’t have to waste any time trying to tour their trophy room.
By the time I noticed the Rolling Stones, they had been around for years. It was probably the album “Some Girls” in 1978 that I first really recall hearing some of their music, I was about 8. I had 3 older brothers listening to music, and I listened to the radio a lot with Mom, so I remember songs from that album. Then I recall liking songs from “Emotional Rescue” and “Tattoo You” as well. But by the early 80s I was really busy falling in love with Rick Springfield, and a few other bands with all the hotties in them, Duran Duran, etc.. I didn’t have time for wrinkly old Rolling Stones, but their music was always around somewhere, catching my ear.
My dad was no fan of popular music, he was rather stubborn about it and shook his head at stuff we listened to and would begrudge us a little radio time on car rides, but he listened to crap like talk radio or Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass on 8-tracks. He didn’t know. But he did say he liked the Rolling Stones. I was sure it was because they were all old guys like him. He was funny, but he didn’t really hate our music as much as he tried to make us believe, but he just had his particular things he preferred. But we could agree on the Stones, although he didn’t really like them enough to buy any of their music, that I am aware of.
I remember wanting to go see the Stones for their “Steel Wheels” tour, but none of my friends were interested, and I wasn’t pushing the issue much, I just thought it would be cool. So they came and went, I didn’t go, but they kept making their way around the world. Steel Wheels was in 1989, and I am sure people thought they would be hanging it up soon anyway, I mean Keith Richards could not possibly go on like he was. He had looked like he had died in 1985 and nobody had the heart to tell him. I just figured I had missed the chance, and I would catch them on the radio or something.
That was 32 years ago. I hate that kind of math. But, after many years, and a pandemic postponed tour, it’s finally my time. Charlie Watts didn’t make it to see me. That makes me a little sad, but it makes it all the more important to see them now. As it turns out, Keith didn’t die in the 80s, he kept rocking, and from some reports, he has nearly as much energy as Mick running around that stage. These guys have grandkids, great grandkids, and they are still rocking. They seem eternal. When you think that they have been together and touring longer than I have been alive, longer than any of my siblings have been around, since 1962 if Google is giving me correct information. That’s amazing. When you look at all of the bands that have come and gone in those nearly 60 years, how many artists flamed out early due to the heavy toll the rock and roll lifestyle takes on them, the Stones’ tenure is unbelievable.
It’s kind of the last check mark on my list of bands I wanted to catch before they retire or die. I can’t think of any others that really stand out to me. It kind of all became a little more important to me to catch them after Tom Petty left this earth. I had seen him several times, but not since the early 2000s. I had wanted to catch him one more time, but time ran out. So I kind of came up with a list of performers to see, it wasn’t super long, but the artists were aging, and I am too, unfortunately! It’s quite a thing, to hear the music you love, from your whole life, being performed by the people who wrote it and sang it. It’s a high that is just hard to explain, and I am looking forward to it. I just wish it wasn’t in that Purple Palace of Shame. But alas, they are still here to play, who am I to complain about where it is?