To many, this is a philosophical question, and while the discussion doesn’t date back to the marble steps of some ancient Greek agora, it is generations old:
“Beatles or Stones?” …Stones.
I was 14 that July when I told my mother I wanted to spend a few days with my summer friend Terry, who was a mother’s helper in the beach town where I grew up. Instead, my “regular group” took a bus to New York City, camped out on the street, and rode that first wave that rolled in when the Madison Square Garden gates opened on the final Rolling Stones performance of their 1972 tour. Some of the gang were able to push their way to the front. But no matter where you were in the Garden, seeing the Stones live that particular night meant you had a ticket to the biggest birthday bash in, dare I say, the entire world? Mick turned 29 that day, and when a humongo cake was rolled out on the stage, the audience sang to him.
Fast forward a week or so when Mom walked into my bedroom, holding the latest issue of Newsweek and its coverage of Mick’s “party.” Pointing to the photo, shot from behind the band on-stage, capturing the first row of the audience as well, she asked: “Isn’t that Frank…and Sarah…and…?” “Yep,” I managed to squeeze out. She paused, narrowing her eyes as she studied the picture and the shadowy faces floating beyond the flash of the camera, knowing one of them was mine. “Did you have a good time with Terry?” she asked. I said nothing; she left my room; we never discussed it again.
Over the years I’ve come to prefer more intimate concert venues, but I’ve always vowed that if the Stones came back to town I’d be there – as a sort of bookend to my mega-concert life. Now, unless you’ve been living in a cave or just don’t care (or both), you would know that the Stones are on their “50 and Counting” tour with, as of this writing, shows in London and Newark. Yes, you read that correctly. But when the tickets went on sale one early Saturday morning for the pre-Christmas shows on this side of the pond, I slept late then watched the Food Channel.
So, if tickets were to magically appear in the stocking I’ll be hanging up early, would I be eastbound on 78 in a Newark minute? Absolutely. But as of now, my husband and I plan on making this a Pay-Per-View night, where this time, I am guaranteed one of the two best seats in the house.