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Seeing the '72 Birthday Show and Tour (Read 253 times)
KMC
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Seeing the '72 Birthday Show and Tour
Jul 30th, 2017 at 9:19am
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What I remember....

As I waited for the ’72 tour to hit the East Coast, two things stood out. The opening act was Stevie Wonder who was becoming a superstar himself at the time and the Stones setlist included new songs from Exile. Plus, Mick was wearing a white jumpsuit and Keith had blonde streaks in his hair. Also, they were being covered by the mainstream media rather than just Rolling Stone and some rock mags.
Desperate to see a show, my friend and I were able to get Ticketron general admission seats to RFK Stadium for the July 4th show. Drove down from NJ, parked by Capitol early in the day and decided to do some sightseeing. Then we would walk the mile down to the stadium, avoid the traffic and save some bucks. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the neighborhood. Long haired white boys stood out. A group of urban youth spotted us and asked if we were going to the show. Ignoring them and walking faster. Did we have any spare tickets? Now a jog. Hey, you. C’mere. We tore down the street hearing laughing behind us.
Got in the stadium early. Stage was in the middle of the stadium grass field and seats were where you plopped down. All went well until the sun started to go down and people outside the sold out show decided to crash the party. Pretty soon clouds of tear gas wafted over the inside for a bit. Stevie Wonder was great. The Stones came on stage with Mick accompanied by some characters in Revolutionary War garb to celebrate 1776. Excellent show. (Exile material was tremendous. Material from previous 3 LPs was all fresh.)
And the walk back to the car was uneventful. Arrived back home as the sun was rising.
Now to get tickets for NY. Four shows at Madison Square Garden. Two nights and a day/nighter.
Because of complaints about ticket distribution, it was announced about a month before that there was to be a lottery for seats. You had to send you name and address in on a blank postcard and hoped you got picked. You could buy 2 seats. I wasn’t taking any chances. Filled out about 200 cards with different names, same address or the addresses of friends and relatives. Had a friend who worked at a place with a postage meter machine so it didn’t cost me anything to send them in. Just had to promise him a ticket if I got one. Now for the wait.
Bingo! Received 4 envelopes! Yes!!! But two were for the same show. No problem. Contacted a fellow fan and made a trade. Ended up with tix for all 4 shows. Two I had very good seats for. Now to sort out who else is going. Decided on two of my buds, my girlfriend and another girl who might be a future GF.
First name was the closest I ever came to the Stones on stage. In ’69, before the Stones came on, people would run down the aisle and cram the area in front of the stage. There was actually about 6 feet between the front row seats and the 4 foot high stage. That area would become jammed for about an hour. Hot, sweaty, people passing out, fans who paid big bucks for first row pissed off and screaming.
So in ’72, I told my friend let’s go for it. But the Garden had put some security people – not the brutes you see today, more like movie ushers to turn people away. But no problem. The minute the lights went out we ran for the stage – as did others – just blew by the ushers and made it all the way to the lip of the stage. Lined up with Keith. A lasting image is the closing song of “Street Fighting Man” – the group running off stage – and Keith still playing with his eyes closed for another thirty seconds.
Next day the doubleheader. Took my girlfriend to the afternoon show. This was we’re staying in our seats. Actually had no choice as the Garden had put up barriers in the aisles to block off any attempts to charge like the night before. Have to say, by now Stevie Wonder was wearing a bit on me. We want the Stones! Another great show. NYC is always special to the Stones. Front page news. More articles for the clippings I’ve been keeping since the mid 60’s. Take my girl home and then pick up my wanna be GF. I figure I am going to make a great impression on both ladies this day. (Talk about fuck ups.)
Yet, another great show. Late night train back to Jersey. Call up my GF the next day expecting to be worshipped and adored. Instead, she cursed me out, gave me the “we’re done” speech and slammed the phone down. WTF? Turns out that little sneak went to the night show too with her cousin who had scored tickets. Didn’t tell me about it because she thought if I knew I wouldn’t ask her to go. Unfortunately for me, they saw me waiting for the late night train with my friend. Luckily she didn’t blast me there, but our relationship was over. And to make it worse, the second girl never really worked out so I sorta wasted two tickets. Oh well.
The “Birthday Show” had gotten a lot of hype beforehand, but the Stones just did their usual set. (Their were no encores on the tour except once when they teamed up with Stevie Wonder to do an Uptight/Satisfaction medley. We were treated to that. Then the lights came on and Happy Birthday was played on the speakers, a big cake was wheeled out with Bianca, Mick’s wife. Candles blown out. Stevie started singing, “Happy Birthday, Mick, Mick, Mick!” Soon, cake was being thrown all over the stage. Lasting image was Stevie getting hit in the head and walking around with a big chunk stuck to him. (Read later Bianca had found out Mick was cheating on him and the cake was not exactly thrown with love.) The much hoped for extended encore never happened and that’s how the US ’72 tour ended. 
At last in my scrambled memory.
p.s. Another bummer. The second girl I went with brought a cassette tape recorder and recorded the show. Made me a copy. Two tapes. Decent sound. My first tape broke. I believe I still have the second one someplace. Thirty years later I met a friend of hers and couldn’t resist asking if she could find out if the person still had the original tape of the show. Word came back that it was long gone. (Sob!!!)
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KMC
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Re: Seeing the '72 Birthday Show and Tour
Reply #1 - Jul 30th, 2017 at 11:25am
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Forgot to mention that the RFK Stadium show was in Washington, DC.

And I seriously need to proofread in the future.
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mojoman
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Re: Seeing the '72 Birthday Show and Tour
Reply #2 - Jul 30th, 2017 at 6:29pm
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KMC wrote on Jul 30th, 2017 at 11:25am:
Forgot to mention that the RFK Stadium show was in Washington, DC.

And I seriously need to proofread in the future.



that was a great read. thanks for sharing!
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Re: Seeing the '72 Birthday Show and Tour
Reply #3 - Aug 10th, 2017 at 5:02pm
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Great story...

I lived along that walk from the Capitol to RFK...off Lincoln Park...I used to walk to all the concerts there...Stones (VL Openers)...Grateful Dead...Floyd...HFSestival...all of them from 92-95..the $10 parking lot ticket was always gotten w/o a problem...Brings back great memories...

Yes...DC was a different city in 72...just as it is a VERY different city today from 92...

Fun times!!
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Re: Seeing the '72 Birthday Show and Tour
Reply #4 - Aug 10th, 2017 at 5:11pm
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I saw the concert, it was so hot in Toronto, there were 2 shows, the 1st one I saw as my ticket stub notes.
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