Partying with the Stones

Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 7/10/19

Old Goats Head Soup: Sometimes you CAN get what you want. But it may not be what you need. Two examples:

The Rolling Stones just relaunched their latest tour and will be in Seattle next month. …

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Partying with the Stones

Mann Overboard

Posted

Old Goats Head Soup: Sometimes you CAN get what you want. But it may not be what you need. Two examples:

The Rolling Stones just relaunched their latest tour and will be in Seattle next month. Tickets start at $130 minimum. But if you ever get a shot at the “best” seats in the house, my advice is...DON’T!

In the early 70s, when the Stones came to Montreal, over 12,000 fans lined up overnight to get tickets.

I didn’t have to wait. I was music critic for the morning daily as well as the Canadian correspondent for Britain’s biggest rock-music weekly, Melody Maker. The local promoter gave me tickets in the second row. Such a deal, eh? Not so fast.

My wife and I were seated so close we could analyze Mick Jagger’s inexpertly applied green eye shadow. But about 12 bars into the band’s opening number, the rousing “Brown Sugar,” our choice seats were choice no longer. Scores of overzealous fans rushed the stage (an early mosh pit?) and we were surrounded — and jostled by — the instacrowd. Bodies were passed over our heads, and some of these inebriates were, to use the apt Aussie phrase, “barking out the states.”

We managed to squeeze out of there.

After the show, my wife drove home, and I talked with the local promoter, Donald K Donald, backstage. I told him thanks for the seats, but I would never sit up front again at a Stones concert.

“I’ll make it up to you,” he said. “How’d you like to go to the post-concert party at the Stones’ hotel?” Does the wild boar…

Thousands of those fans would have killed for that chance to party with Mick “Deep Lip” Jagger and his cohorts.

So we went over to the Ritz-Carlton hotel, where the Stones had booked an entire floor. I went from one room to another. I remember going into Keith Richards’ room, where blues were playing on a tape recorder on the bed for an admiring entourage of females. I remember noting that bassist Bill Wyman was astonishingly troll-like.

It was all interesting enough, but I wanted to be someplace else. I missed our infant son. I was definitely dad material. I soon left the Stones party. It hadn’t been a great evening — until I hugged our infant son. (awwww.) This time, anyway, I got both what I wanted and needed.

— I’m almost as old as the band, so it’s funny to me that the current Stones tour is sponsored by...an annuity company! I am not making this up.

Maybe the encore will be “Hey, You, Get Offa My Lawn.”

— Stones Expertise: Not long after the concert, I was asked to produce a six-hour documentary on the band for a Montréal rock radio station where I hosted a show in French and English.

Fortunately, a guy was in town who knew as much about the Stones as anyone alive — late, legendary rock critic Lester Bangs, portrayed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the film, “Almost Famous.” At my apartment, I provided smoking material for Bangs as he passed along great, quotable Stones observations.

One line I remember from Bangs, who’s credited with coining the term “heavy metal” to describe hard rock:

“The Beatles put rock music in the living room. The Stones put it back in the bedroom.”

Finally, my pick for best Stones album — and arguably the best rock album ever: “Let It Bleed.” Sex, drugs, rock and roll. They’re all there.

(PT resident/erstwhile rock critic Bill Mann now maintains his love for rock music by tuning in “Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap ” Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m. on CBC/Victoria, 90.5 FM.)

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