Quiet Desperation

Rolling Stones 2019 — old boys’ club is nothing like old times


Gimme shelter and gimme money.

Tickets to see the Rolling Stones next year at whatever the stadium here is called go for (went for) $49 to $850 (without fees), and some special seats go for (went for) $1,600 each or more.

I saw (I didn’t hear) the Beatles in Cincinnati for $9, and that was a high-end ticket at the time.

I attended concerts featuring the Beach Boys and Peter, Paul and Mary for half that.

The Rolling Stones were touring when the Beatles played Cincinnati, but I wasn’t ready for them then.

I think it took Nixon and a few assassinations to sink in before I was ready for the Rolling Stones.

However, I won’t be at the stadium to see them live next year for a couple of reasons. For $850, I could buy every album the Stones have ever recorded and have enough left over to buy something to play them on.

The stadium seats 76,125, and I’m guessing there will be some field seating as well.

Not exactly a prospect of intimacy.

I acknowledge that the crowd will provide something that listening to the Stones here in my home cannot duplicate: a kind of primal, visceral, mammoth creature, throbbing with energy and electricity.

I get that same exact thrill now when I can find my car in the parking lot.

I also know I would be amid rampant cellphone calls and selfies and half-smashed people of all ages, possibly shirtless girls, spilled drinks, reefer madness, vomiting, and tone-deaf devotees trying to remember the words and sing along.

Someone probably can tell me how many times the Rolling Stones have appeared in concert since their inception.

I know there are Stones junkies who follow the band on a tour from city to city, even though the set lists are nearly identical.

Mick Jagger did say, however, the group adjusts its thinking when they play a city like Houston versus a city like New York.

I have seen concerts in Ohio, California, Arizona and Colorado. None the size that this one will be. The largest was in Ohio, at old Crosley Field, once the home of the Cincinnati Reds.

As a concert, it was miserable. As a memory, it was wonderful.

The Beatles were scheduled to perform on Aug. 20, 1966, in Cincinnati, but they were rained out. My date, Bev Parsley, and I were happy to hear that the Beatles truly wanted to perform for us, and had agreed to stick around and play the next day.

This was debunked when I watched a documentary about their American tour that showed them in the locker room when the public address announcer announced how delighted the lads were to stay overnight on our behalf.

They rolled their eyes and shook their heads.

August in southwest Ohio is almost unbearable. The humidity on Aug. 21 was about 160%.

The Beatles were traveling with a half-dozen acts, and their own set lasted less than 30 minutes.

Later that same day they performed in St. Louis.

Eight days after that, they performed at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Then they stopped touring altogether.

Like I said, the concert itself was miserable. I couldn’t hear a word, because your grandmothers screamed the entire time.

And time waits for no one.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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