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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 http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2005/09/the_greatest_ro.html 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.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
That is so totally and completely awesome. The Stones rock, and must be amazing in concert. That whole thing must have been so completely cool. They recently toured by us as well, but it was when I was in Houston so I missed it :(

Heh, wow, that must have been a scary beer line. Beer lines are always crazy, but I haven't encountered that yet. That's insane.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC)
It was simply the BEST concert I have ever seen. And I've seen a fair number in my life.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
Bikers and The Stones...
A friend of mine saw The Stones in Pittsburgh and really liked the show. I'll try to find the email that he sent after the show and forward it to you.
I'm glad to see that a biker in the crowd helped out without killing anyone. I can vividly recall watching a video of a Stones show many years ago when The Hell's Angels were hired as security. We know what happened then.
I'm glad to hear that you had a blast. I look forward to hearing the details.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Bikers and The Stones...
I heard on the radio last week that Pearl Jam opened for the Stones in Pittsburgh. In Hershey, Beck opened. He was cool, but Pearl Jam would have been cooler. Of course, neither holds a candle to the Stones.
Oct. 8th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
Hey there...

I just wanted to say that I've felt really bad for dropping you from my journal. I have truly enjoyed some of our discussions, but I dropped you mainly out of fear that if I continued talking to you that my faith would be irreparably crippled. I now realize that was a foolish and insensitive thing of me to do. If I haven't burned my bridges I'd like to add you back. Either way, I would like to extend my apologies. You've always been civil to me, even when you have disagreed. Besides, if I only surround myself with people who always tell me what I expect to hear, I would stunt any possible intellectual growth.

Plus, I just miss reading your posts.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )