Hostirad (hostirad) wrote,

Its Only Rock and Roll But I Like It

After the disappointment of watching Steve Miller from a seat in the Bryce Jordan Center that seemed like it was near the Ohio border, and being spoiled by being almost close enough to touch Liz Phair at the Crowbar, I swore I would never attend another concert in the BJC again. With one exception. I said I would see the Rolling Stones if they ever came to State College.

Well, the Stones never have and probably never will do a concert in our town, but they did play at Hershey Stadium, and I was there to see it. This isn't going to be complete concert review. There are plenty of postings on the current tour, and the one at from the show they did two weeks ago describes the show I saw last night pretty accurately, from the set list to the overall atmosphere. I just wanted to register two observations.

First, I thought I was going to experience an Altamont moment while standing in the concession line to buy some bottled water. Everyone else in the line was there for a different beverage: beer at $6 a cup. Beer sales were going on only until 9:30, and each person was limited to two beers per purchase. So people were getting in line, purchasing their beer, and drinking their beers while getting in line again to get some more. There was a dark desperation to this activity, as bodies pressed against each other to get closer to the sales counter. Getting to that counter seemed to take forever. When I was finally third in line, it happened. An unsteady customer who had just purchased his two refills slammed into someone else while exiting the counter, sending two full beers all over the crowd. The guy went into a rage about losing his beers and the people who got splashed weren't too happy, either. Luckily some big biker guy held the enraged drinker back until security showed up and defused the situation. A redemption, of sorts, for bikers at Stones concerts.

Second, encountering the living legends was an indescribable peak experience of my life. Our seats, only 52 rows from the stage, were close enough for a sense of intimacy, even in this huge stadium. That intimacy was increased dramatically when a section of the stage with the band separated and moved on a track into the middle of the audience. It stopped right next to us, so the band was only 20 feet away. Unreal, just totally unreal. I had been dancing and clapping and singing along all night, but when the band moved that close I was joined by dozens of other frenzied fans for some fabulous group hysteria. Finally, the barrage of classics at the end of the show--Sympathy for the Devil, Jumping Jack Flash, You Can't Always Get What You Want, and Satisfaction--was movingly bittersweet for me. These are songs we used to do when I played in a band, and now I was able to sing the backing Whoo, Whoo parts on Sympathy with the fucking Rolling Stones themselves.

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