On August 28th, 2005 one of my favourite rock bands of all time – The Rolling Stones – played just a block from my house in the smallest venue of their A Bigger Bang tour and while the show was awesome, unforgettable, incredible, fantastic, giddy-fun and awe-inspiring in every way, the day was not without it’s drama.
I had just started dating m’lady maybe six weeks previously and already it was clear that we both shared an acute affliction of hyper-active concert-going glands. She had not yet moved to Ottawa back when the Stones tickets were released and so she was without a ticket. But no worries, my room-mate and bestest buddy Jojo assured me that his musically-averse girlfriend had little interest in going to the show and so m’lady could have her ticket.
As I lived so darn close to Lansdowne Park of course I had to host a pre-concert barbecue and I did. The beers and burgers were flowing and everyone was having a great time. When it came time to leave Jojo’s girlfriend finished up her drink and grabbed her purse…
…and soon Jojo pulled me aside. I don’t know if his girlfriend had changed her mind or if mistaken assumptions had been made or what, but I do know it was left to me to break the news to m’lady that she didn’t have a ticket to the most sought-after show Ottawa had seen in years after all. I did, it didn’t go well, and somehow we remain together to this day. It still saddens me to recall waving goodbye to her as we all walked down the driveway to go to the show…
…which was AWESOME! They opened with Start Me Up and it somehow just kept getting better. Shattered, Tumbling Dice, Beast Of Burden, oh, it was ever so great. And my seats were pretty good too, in the east end of the south side. This Stones show was another one of the many, many concerts where all you would hear in the lead up to the show date was, “I’m not paying $300 a ticket to see that band!”, to which I always responded with something like, “Me too, that’s why I got the $75 tickets,” to which the reply was always, “What $75 tickets!??!?!?”
To which I invariably responded “You do realize that when a show is outrageously priced the media only reports on the highest level tickets in the venue, right?” I would generally stop myself before adding, “Duh!”. In this case I was in the first row of $75 tickets, so the people sitting directly across the aisle from me had paid four times what I did. Sometimes it pays to not pay.
Especially at this show.
Because about halfway through the evening the band suddenly appeared on a small “B stage” at the back of the floor, directly in front of my cheap seat! They did it up olde-skool, shunning their giant stage stuffed with pyrotechnics and cutting-edge lighting in favour of just a small, simple platform, where they tossed out basically a full set of gold, including Miss You, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Sympathy For The Devil, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash, among many others of a similar ilk.
And all of it straight in front of me. Gadzooks.
The Stones finished off the show in their usual grand style encoring back on the big stage with You Can’t Always Get What You Want and It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll (But I Like It), followed by the requisite fireworks display that always ends events of such magnitude.
The fireworks were so impressive there was no doubt that m’lady could see them from my front porch.
When the dust settled m’lady made me promise to make it up to her, and I did – big time. When the Stones announced their five-show 50th Anniversary run we went down to Brooklyn to see them. When they announced they were taking the same tour worldwide we saw them four more times, twice from the pit.
The question is, are we even yet?