Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stones Hold Court


Some years ago Keith Richards, or if you like Keith Richard as our friends in America seem to have a proclivity for calling him, made a statement as part of some sort of interview. That statement was along the lines of how established his regular day job, a card carrying member of The Rolling Stones, had become in English life. His exact and precise words escape me, but it was along the lines of how everyone in England born after 1962 had but three constants to their life – the Queen, the Sun and the Rolling Stones. Flamboyant and arrogant perhaps, look you see, but fairly difficult to fault.

To this end, then, it’s somewhat fun to occasionally look at a specific day in the period from then to now and see just what it was that this great constant, The Rolling Stones, were doing. For sh!ts, giggles and the sheer fun of it, I thought I’d throw a dart at a board and see what date chance, for my aim would fail, gave us to look at. And so it was that chance decreed it would be 18 February 1973.

As it turns out, The Rolling Stones were not in England on that date. Nor were they, dear reader, anywhere to be found on the decidedly English side of the equator. No, the band was off doing a gig in Melbourne, Australia, as part of what came to be known as their “Pacific” tour.

The Australian leg of the Pacific tour came after the ill-fated, as in cancelled, proposed Japanese concerts. Much, you would think, to the disgust of the Japanese teenagers of the day, the Japanese authorities declined to let the band enter the country as they had the temerity and nerve to, as was their duty as rock stars, indulge in drugs. This was all bad luck for Japan, but good news for Aussies, as it meant the band were refreshed, ripper and raring to go.

In terms of the date we agreed to look at in random ways, The Rolling Stones played at the Kooyong Tennis Courts in Melbourne on 18 February 1973. The day before they had done two shows at the same venue, presumably to meet demand. Which naturally makes one think about exactly who thought that a tennis field would be ideal to host the number of people with an interest in seeing the biggest rock and roll band in the world.

Can you see or hear the performance of The Rolling Stones on 18 February 1973? 50%. There’s a link here for an upload of a pretty good bootleg of the show in audio format alone. Also, some people sell CDs of this recording for north of ₤20, but as the band would not get a penny of that you’re probably all better off just listening online for free.

So if you want to hear it online for free, at time of going to press these coloured words here are the link you want to be clicking on.

Any particular highlights of the gig? Well, yes, all of it. This is The Rolling Stones, people, and further what many would say was “peak” Rolling Stones. The set was somewhat heavy on the three albums recorded most recently towards 1973, which means mostly it was made from numbers off of Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street. Many would argue that them three form a triumvirate of their greatest albums, so certainly win for the fans in attendance.

It is indeed true that another game one can play with any date you like from 1962 onwards is “what were The Rolling Stones doing on that day and how much of what they were doing related to Ronnie Wood getting married or divorced”. Whilst the last 25 or so years have provided some rather interesting and exciting entries, this was not the case back on Sunday February 18 1973. No, back then The Rolling Stones were a virtually Ronnie Wood free zone, with Mick Taylor being second in command to the card carrying Keith Richards. It can be said that, for the most part, The Rolling Stones did what they did then for the love of music and further did as they wished with the revenue generated by it. Concerts, albums and compilations were not hastily arranged on a whim to satisfy any bill generated by the matrimonial adventures of prolific romantic Ronnie.

A fair question would then be what was Ronnie Wood doing on February 18 1973, and how much of what he was doing was some sort of self-starter project to finance an adventure in matrimonial bliss or otherwise pay for the end of such satisfaction. This has a simple answer. At that time he was a member of the fantastic group Faces. On that Sunday he, Rod, Kenny, Ian and other Ronnie would have been gathered around the radio, listening to the chart. It is highly likely that they would have had some pop and crisps on the go as they did, making a party of it. When they heard the chart they would have been delighted, as their single Cindy Incidentally was a new entry at 17, climbing to number 5 the following week.

What did Ronnie do with the coins of money earned off of the success of the Cindy Incidentally single? More crisps and pop, probably. I’m not sure, but I think back then Ronnie and Rod were rather more inclined to brief, short term relationships with the ladies just after concerts had been completed rather than going all civil ceremony.

Anyway, that’s what the Stones were up to back on February 18 1973. There’s some people, one or two in particular, who I know for a fact are pretty big fans of the Stones but were most likely busy with something else that day. For them, then, a 44 year old puzzling mystery of what Mick, Keith, Charlie, other Keith and Bill were doing that day has been resolved. Hopefully the information has been if not of use then of flat interest to some others, too.

Thank you, as ever, for taking the time to read this. Or indeed just to look at the pictures and slim through my words.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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