I was probably 11 years old and was under the covers in a bedroom in my grandparents’ house listening to Mick Jagger singing Angie on my transistor radio with headphones. The song haunts me as a romantic scenario being played out at that exact moment in a more glamorous part of the world than tiny Proctor, VT. It’s scary, dark and risky and it’s way more exciting than my life. With my parents turbulent divorce, and the need to stay with my grandparents because my single mom worked nights as a nurse, I loved the mystique and danger of the Rolling Stones. Groupies, drugs, danger vs good, obedient, introverted Catholic girl.
The Rolling Stones are on my “list somewhere between the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. When Led Zeppelin called it quits, the Stones were still going. They were morphing with the times. I actually loved the punky disco tinged Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You – both were in the soundtrack of my college years (along with the Police and the B52s). I have disassociated myself from the hideous Dancing in the Streets duet with Bowie – I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
They’ve been touring throughout my life – amazing stamina and staying power, but the tickets were always outrageously priced and I never thought I could go. I think the talk was always – “$500 for the cheap seats.” There was always something more important to do or to use that kinda money for.
I was mentioning that the Stones were coming to NC on the Zip Code tour and a friend told me that American Express was offering card members a discount and first shot at tickets. I logged in – might as well – I worked for AMEX for 20 years before going out and opening my own business in 2009. Still proud to carry the card, I decided to exercise my AMEX cardmember privileges – I got cheap seats (under $100) on about the 50 yard line at Carter Finley Stadium. I knew there would be giant screens. I knew there would be a great sound system and I knew that Mick would be older and not the cocky younger version, so I was ok not being 100 feet away from this rock god.
To make it even better, the Avett Brothers opened for the Stones. I have heard some of their stuff – love it and was excited to get to hear them live. They are what we would consider a local band. They grew up about an hour from Greensboro and play here often.
We got there early as we needed to check into a hotel for the night – it was going to be a late night and we didn’t want to drive home in the wee hours. Just about everyone else had the same idea. Kinda cool to be in a hotel with a bunch of Stones fans of all ways, shapes and forms.
We went early by chance – we were only going to scope out the route and didn’t think the gates were open yet, but they were, so we found a parking spot and began our first experience with concert tailgating (we don’t get out much). We intended to hang out with other friends from Greensboro that were also attending, but couldn’t find them in the sea of people. As we were drawing our chairs out of our trunk, a man and his wife and friend walked up to us and thanked us for coming to the show. He introduced himself as the Avett Brothers’ dad and we told him we were thrilled to hear them play live. What a great moment for him – his kids – very talented – were opening for perhaps one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Later in the evening when we were watching the Avett Brothers, I saw him through my binoculars standing proudly back stage. What a thrill for him. So happy we got to meet him. It makes me like the Avett Brothers even more.
We met some other interesting people too. The Zip Code Tour had a different logo for each zip code. State Fans loved this logo for Raleigh (not so much the Tar Heel or Duke fans – We are App State fans so we didn’t care.)
Aver Brothers setlist
- I and Love and You
The minute The Rolling Stones took over the stage, I was sitting on the edge of my seat – surreal to see them – but we were far from the stage so it didn’t quite feel real until I looked at them through the binoculars.
The sound was great. The staging was great. The jumbo screens were great. Our cheap seats were amazing…until the seat next to me was taken by a very large man that had to sit with his knees wide open thus crushing me into Jon on my other side. The cheap seats were made for shorties like me. A tad bit uncomfortable, but it didn’t stop me from dancing in my seat – much to the chagrin of the large man and probably Jon too. F@ck it.
Two hours of great music. I looked at the setlists from the other stops on the tour and knew I wasn’t going to hear Angie. I was a tad disappointed that they didn’t play Wild Horses – they did elsewhere, but it was great nonetheless.
My favorites were Sympathy for the Devil and Gimme Shelter. Gotta love Keith Richards singing Happy (and we were!).
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
Let’s Spend the Night Together
Out of Control
Shine a Light (by request) – WTF – they take requests?
Honky Tonk Women (followed by band introductions)
Before They Make Me Run (Keith Richards on lead vocals)
Happy (Keith Richards on lead vocals0
Start Me Up
Sympathy for the Devil
Encore: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with The Duke University Chapel Vespers Ensemble)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
The two hours flew by and then it was over with fireworks exploding over the stadium and the thousands of people filing out of the stadium. I think this was the largest concert I have ever attended. I saw Billy Joel in Montreal back in the day and the place was packed but I think this beats that in size.
Great glow of being in the presence of rock and roll royalty. I’ve been to the top of the mountain. The energy was amazing and I will remember that evening as one of the best dates Jon and I have ever been on.
Now I have to say, it was great to be there in the presence of the Stones, but it didn’t have that intimacy of being in front of a rock god like when we saw Robert Plant – this was a giant show. Couple that with the fact we were also going to RFK in two days to attend the 4th of July Jam with the Foo Fighters and Friends – I think ticked the Stones off the checklist and we moved on with smiles on our faces.
Where will it lead us from here?