Seeing the Rolling Stones…at last!

I grew up in the 70’s. Without a doubt the best time to experience the emerging music scene and the popularity of Rock and Roll.

My older Sister, Cathy had a Sears Silvertone portable electric radio. It was our connection to the world as we grew up in a very rural area of Mecklenburg County.

I learned about the Everlee Brothers, Elvis, The Supremes, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

I first learned about the Beatles from watching the famed Ed Sullivan Show when they first appeared February 9th, 1964. That night, they became American Idols.

We watched that show every Sunday night. It was not to be missed in our house.

We all knew who the Beatles were. They stormed the USA and everyone was talking about them. Of course all the girls were crazy about them and each one had their favorite. All the guys wanted to be like them. Grow our hair long and play the guitar and sing…and be famous.

I was a fan and bought their records. I saved my money and bought their albums. I knew all the lyrics to their songs. All my fiends knew them too.

I was an early adopter of the Beatles even though I knew who the Rolling Stones were. They were a bit more edgy, more on the Blues side of the spectrum. I didn’t buy any of their records but I did listen to them on the radio.

I guess I was really turned off by their early drug bust and the fact they were using LSD and other drugs which I personally didn’t agree with.

It wasn’t until the early 80’s that I really began to appreciate their music more. I began to appreciate the blues and the origin of blues being a purely American experience but one that people in general could relate to.

Keith Richards was and is a musical genius a prolific writer and musician. He and Mick made a dynamic team as writing partners and seemed to strike a chord with the youth of time. Their writing skills separated them from many other rock and roll bands of the day.

Individually, they were not considerd musical prodigies but collectively there has been nothing like them. They have managed to stand the test of time. Still writing and touring since they formed in 1962, I was eight years old.

Mick is a brilliant individual on many levels. He was well educated and attended the London School of Economics. He and Keith met early on and realized they both shared an appreciation for blues performers like Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.

Music was the basis of their relationship. They were blues performers at the start and that foundation carried them forward until they became a prolific writing team.

They have been a band for 60 years, that alone is amazing. So many great bands have come and gone in that time. With so many bands, it’s ego and power struggle and influence that creates them to fall apart.

I’ve appreciate them as a band for staying together but also recognize they each have had an opportunity to be creative individually and maybe that’s been part of their success formula.

I don’t think you can discount the fact that it was Mick who took control early on. He recognized that what they were doing as a band was in fact a business. He was an econ major, right? It was Mick that influenced the creation of the ‘Lip’ logo which had become iconic and immediately identified with the band.

Many of y fiends have seen the Rolling Stones. No one has ever said they were disappointed to see them. I neary saw them in Charotte, NC when they played at Bank of America stadium or Ericsson Stadium as it was then called in October of 1997. I had tickets but was not able to see them and was very disappointed at the missed opportunity.

I was finally able to see them in Concert July 3rd 2019 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland during their ‘No Filter’ tour and joined by my friend Dale.

This show was originally scheduled for May 31st but was delayed due to Mick having a hear procedure.

By this time they were all in their 70’s. During every tour the word was this would be the last time the Stones would tour because they were becoming the guitar playing geezers. The reviews talked about the general lack of energy from the band and how they just sort of went through the motions of the set list.

When I saw them live, that was not my expereince. It was very clear to me that Mick Jagger still had the chops. He strutted and pranced and danced on every single song. His showmanship was amazing to me. All of the other musicians were great as well. Keith Richards was just amazing on his guitar and driving the riffs and licks. The back beat of Charlie Watts was incredible. Put it all together and they created a sound that was very powerful.

Even then when they cranked the volume to Satisfaction it was unreal. Of course everyone knew the words and sang along. It was an event I’ll never forget.

Sadly, it was just last year in 2021 that we lost Charlie Watts. I felt so fortunate to have seen the full band in a remarkable and unforgettable show and checked of a major ‘bucket list’ item.

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