A midnight Rambler


I really was not into Rock and Roll until my 40’s.  I was re-inspired tonight by a documentary on the Stones (Crossfire Hurricane) on HBO …..it will continue to be shown at various times.

It was produced by the Stones…and I think it showed some footage from Robert Frank’s 1972 documentary “c*** s*****  blues” which is owned by the Stones and they never permitted a public showing (although I was fortunate enough to see it in 1974 when Frank brought his copy to UC Berkeley.  We sold advance tickets through BASS Tickets with CS blues as the title).  There were some very depressing scenes in it from open sex on the plane to Keith shooting himself up back stage…..They did have some flashes of the plane footage.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the Stones, certainly after 1974 whenever they were in the Bay Area.  I think they still are the best-performing band.  The Who was more musically constructed, Springsteen more powerful, but nobody is as much fun as Mick and the gang.

It is so hard to try to tell anyone who has only listened to recordings the effect that live music has on a listener…..it can transform you.  For some reason some artists seem to have a shield between them and the audience; in my experience Merle Haggard, Bob Seger, Whitney Houston, and Diana Ross fall into that category; you like their music, you want to see them, and somehow they don’t move you.

The Stones can move the Walking Dead.  You know all of their songs, Mick’s moves, Keith and Ron’s riffs and Charlie’s indifference, but you just don’t want them to stop.  When I first saw Ron Wood he was with Faces, the band that played with Rod Stewart; he belongs in the Stones; some how those craggy faces seem to fit each other.

Photo by Rubenjob from stock.xchng.com.

They spent quite a bit of time in the documentary at the Altamount concert.  Bill Graham refused to front their free concert; he felt there was no way it could be secure, and it certainly wasn’t.  Watch it and see just how terrifying it was.  No real security, not the best idea to get the Hells Angels to do it for beer.  and I think I saw Deakon out front.

The best was when Bill convinced the group to do some dates at Winterland along with the big outdoor stadium shows.  To hear any of these groups in this intimate surrounding was a great experience.  At that hallowed 4400 seat venue I also saw The Last Waltz withThe Band and Dylan,  Blue Oyster Cult, Montrose (with Sammy Hagar), the Pretenders, the Sex Pistols, and on and on.  And I had the thrill of hearing the one band I managed (in my spare time !), the Russian Rockers Sasha and Yuri open for Blue Oyster Cult at Winterland.

I truly feel sorry for those today who don’t have exposure to these great musicians, with ticket prices at $10 and service charge of $2.50 (with $1 going to Bill Graham).  Brown Paper Tickets could make everyone honest and draw more people if everyone used them.

I would say to you all, if you get one more chance to see these almost 70-year old rockers – and it is the only live concert you go to that year – do so…….It is one of these things that will always stay with you.  and please complain about the service fees.  Tickets for the December show at Barclay Center in Brooklyn are on sale:  $454 plus $46.50 service fee…….the service fee alone is over 3 times what the tickets cost for the Stones when we sold them……sorry about that.

2 comments on “A midnight Rambler

  1. Jerry I agree with you about The Stones live in concert. The first time I saw them was on July 26, 1966 and two of their opening acts were the original Jefferson Airplane before Grace Slick and Sopwith Camel (Hello, Hello). I saw them again every time they hit northern California until 1994.
    Actually the Winterland shows were for a smaller 1972 tour where most of the places they played were under 5,000. They had received a lot of complaints about their tickets prices in 1969 (a whopping $12.00+ a ticket!) and Bill Graham had convinced them and their opening act Stevie Wonder, to play four shows at Winterland Arena, an afternoon show and an evening show two days in a row. The tickets were $5.00 plus Ticketron fee ($.50?) They had actually heard the rumors about Bill overselling GA shows and had written into their contract that he could sell no more than 4,500 tickets to each show at Winterland even though the legal capacity was actually 5,400! The contract also stated that the upper balcony had to be empty or they would not go on. Those shows were the least crowded “sold out” shows I ever saw at Winterland!
    Also, Sasha and Yuri opened for Blue Oyster Cult, Bob Seger and Rory Gallagher at Winterland the same week as The Last Waltz! If you remember, Rory Gallagher had his own show at Winterland that didn’t sell so Bill moved him to the BOC/Seger show, but Rory refused to be the opening act so Sasha and Yuri were hired for a whopping $250! We were told before the set that they had a 30 minute set with absolutely no encore! They got called back for an encore!
    The last time I saw The Rolling Stones was at Brixton Academy in London in July of 1995. Brixton holds 1,500 (The Warfield holds 2,100) That was an experience!

    Because of you, I had a lot of incredible Rock and Roll experiences…Thank you!

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