Live Report :: The Rolling Stones

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Music, Shows
Tags: ,
Pit Wristbands

Rolling Stones: Pit Wristbands

Live Report: Rolling Stones – 50 and Counting…
Honda Center – Anaheim, CA
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 21:00

If you had told me last year that I would be seeing the Rolling Stones in concert, I would not have believed you. If you had said I would be seeing the Rolling Stones in concert, from the pit, I would’ve called you mad. But that is exactly what happened last Wednesday- an unbelievable display of age-defying musicality and showmanship I would have never in a million years expected to be able to experience in my lifetime.

When they first announced the tour, I just wanted to get in the building so opted for the “cheap” lottery seats. $85 is more than I normally pay for shows but it was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I couldn’t resist. It was a bit nerve-wracking not knowing where we would end up at the venue but on the day of the show, we packed up the binoculars and hoped for the best.

Some people have asked me how the seat lottery works. That morning, I received an email with instructions on where to go and when to line up. We arrived just as the Will Call opened. They’re serious about not letting you leave the line after you are in it. I was impressed and quite willing to go through the hassle as it definitely hindered scalpers from gaining access to the tickets. At the venue, there was a table with three ticket distributors, each with a pile of tickets stacked in front of them. Three clipboard holders stood in the back with lists of ticket holders.

As the ticket buyer, I was asked to present my ID. Most people after the ID check received the typical Ticketmaster envelope from one of the stacks, with the pair of tickets inside. As soon as the ticket distributor pulled my envelope however, he immediately handed to another ticket person off to the side with a grin, and instructed me to report to her for my tickets. Puzzled, I went, dimly noting the person behind her holding a pack of purple wristbands. She made a show of opening the envelope and smiling as she informed us that we had “really good seats.” Long story short, she marked our tickets, turned us over to the wrist band girl to get tagged, and ushered us back into the line with the other lottery ticket holders.

I was incredulous. The couple in front of us ended up in the bleacher section in the back. The couple behind us had somewhere in the middle. As the line grew, people started paying attention to those who got pulled for wristbands- every 10-15th couple in line. We didn’t get to observe for long though because they finally let us in and I went straight for the pit.

What can I say about the show? It was amazing. Mick Jagger has lost none of his swagger. He commands an audience like no other and even tried to crack a few jokes. The pit was probably the tamest I’ve been in, considering my background is more punk and metal shows. There was no moshing, no crowdsurfing. The most uncomfortable moments involved inebriated folks who’d had one too many cocktails, and the inevitable pot smoker. I’m of course, allergic to pot smoke as well.

They kicked things off with one of my favorites, “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Besides being a great, fun song, it brings to mind visions of rogue Care Bears. Maybe just to me. “Waiting On A Friend” was another highlight as it’s another favorite but it wasn’t until “Miss You” that it all started to sink in. I was at a Rolling Stones show. That was Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood not 20 feet from me on that stage. The Rolling-fucking-Stones. It blew my mind. After that was “Start Me Up,” “Tumbling Dice,” and “Brown Sugar.” By that time, I was just riding the high. Jagger’s energy is infectious. When he demands that you sing, you sing. The rest of the setlist is here, posted helpfully on their official site. I wish more bands would do that for shows.

All in all, it was a wonderful night, and a great bonding experience for me and my Dad. It was his first ever pit. I was a bit worried but he did fine standing his ground and enjoying the show. My Dad has been one of the greatest musical influences in my life. He taught me how to sing “Puff, the Magic Dragon”  before I could even speak English properly. We don’t always agree on music choices (he doesn’t understand punk, I cringe at his easy listening) but we’ve always respected each other’s love for music. Being able to share that legendary performance with him is an experience I’ll never forget.



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