Sunday, January 1, 2012

No. 886 – 19th Nervous Breakdown

Performer: The Rolling Stones
Songwriters: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
Original Release: single, Got Live If You Want It
Year: 1966
Definitive Version: None

I don’t like the Rolling Stones. Well, OK, that’s not exactly right. I like them fine, but I don’t love them like a lot of other people or perhaps as much as I should. I mean, when you consider the sheer volume of music that they’ve made, I have fewer Stones songs on my list than any other big band and even a whole lot of bands you might have either never heard of or long forgotten. (Think: Toad the Wet Sprocket.)

But I recognize that the Rolling Stones are legendary, and I always had it on my concert to-do list to see the Stones at some point. Debbie did too, so when the Stones announced the Bridges to Babylon tour in 1997 (along with an album of new material that no one would ever hear again after the tour), we decided to go.

One of the stops on that tour would be storied Ohio Stadium. It would be the Stones’ first stop in Columbus in at least 25 years, maybe 30, and I got tickets as soon as they went on sale. We’d be in the upper deck about, well, 100 yards from the end zone … err, stage.

But I had an ace in the hole. Buying the tickets was just a fail-safe anyway, because when the Stones announced the tour, I went straight to my connection—my buddy Doug in Flint.

Doug is a Stones fan nonpareil. His son is named Keith for a reason, and he’s seen the Stones God only knows how many times—and he always was looking for another excuse to see them again. Come on down to Columbus for free room and board to see the show there? No problem. How many tickets do you want?

I only needed two, and he made it happen—on the field, 12 rows from Keef. Our seats were one row ahead of those of the reviewers for The Dispatch. It pays to have the right connections, no? (We sold our original tickets at face value to someone outside the stadium; we weren’t looking to profit.)

I have to say, it was a great show. They started off with Satisfaction, ended with Jumping Jack Flash, and in between they played all of my favorites. At some point in the middle, The Dispatch folks left to file their reviews, and Doug was bemused: “How can they leave now? What if Mick falls off the stage and breaks his leg? They’ll miss a huge story.” I couldn’t agree more, but what are you going to do? The Dispatch always wanted a review in the next day’s paper regardless of how late the show ran, and deadlines trump reportage in the newspaper business.

Anyway, this song was one of the better ones that night, and although it wasn’t anything like one of my favorites, it sounded really jaunty and great and has—obviously—become a fave. I’d say Doug would approve, but then he’d ask why it wasn’t in the top 100 along with about four dozen other Stones songs.

So after the Nirvana debacle of 1993, we finally saw a show together.

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