Stones Finish European Tour

Band completes its first tour of the continent in three years with a three-night run in Paris

The Rolling Stones onstage in the 1970s. Credit: Chris Walter/WireImage

Paris — The Stones' reception on this leg of their European tour was as frantic as anything they've seen since the early days, with naked dancers on the stage and a post-concert exhibition of trashing by some Parisian street-fighters, who were chased by cops and broke shop windows, strewing the contents, including refrigerators and washers, all over the place.

Most of the earlier gigs weren't so hectic. At Helsinki the audience was kept at bay 50 yards from the stage by a wire mesh barrier. The Stockholm concert, also outdoors in a sports stadium, had some bad feelings in the air, not helped by officials concerned about damage to the grass arena. All was quiet and smooth at Gothenburg, where the concert was held in a fun-fair complete with a lake in the middle of the audience. Copenhagen was just plain friendly and stoned.

A string of dates in Germany followed. First at Hamburg, where some Teutonic Hell's Angels punched and clambered their way to the front to take up positions as self-appointed and unwelcome heavies. One of them had an unofficial official's badge pinned to his bare chest. Berlin was next, and the strained atmosphere created outside by fighting between police with tear gas and "revolutionaries" (some throwing Molotov cocktails) permeated inside. One observer described the evening as "real shitty." Jagger and Keith Richards moved into one of their acoustic numbers and got booed for it. That section of the program was dropped until the last night in Paris. Cologne was easy-going and relaxed. Then the entourage went on to Stuttgart for the last date before Paris. The Stuttgart crowd showed signs of breaking into the old hysteria syndrome, but somehow it never happened.

The Paris opening at the Palais Des Sports looked like opening night at the opera, with a collection of French and British celebrities, jet-setters and hangers-on climbing out of limousines while police held back an irate crowd of fans. The police had rocks and iron bars hurled at them, and one gendarme was reportedly injured. While all this was going on, hundreds more demonstrators crashed into the theatre, raising clenched fists and shouting "Liberte pour le peuple (Power to the people)," "Palestine vaincra (Palestine will win)," and "Ce n'est qu'un debut, continuons le combat (It's only a beginning, let's continue the fight)," a slogan from the 1968 university-workers' strike.

"There was no use insisting," said the Princess de Polignac, one of the grand bigwigs who showed up, on the arm of the Baron de Rede. "Those disgusting young hairy people would have torn us to pieces." So the Princess and the Baron, and the rest of Parisian high society abandoned the front seats to the gate-crashers and grabbed any seat that was vacant. The Marquise de Cittadini took one look at the crowd and jammed her long string of pearls into her handbag.

The kids, though, were the usual rock concert crowd, albeit on a distinctly Parisian plane. "We're fed up with having our young music appropriated by the bourgeois," said one. By the time the show began, it was chaos in the audience. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, who were the opening act, helped to cool things down for an hour or so, but it was the Stones the kids had come to see. (Backstage, a few minutes before everything started, a Stone walked into Wells' dressing room looking for a drink. Junior handed him a fifth of Johnnie Walker, saying, "Help yourself. Travel with well-known bands and we'll provide for you, son.") When the Stones took the stage, there were bare-breasted chicks dancing on stage, and Mick grabbed one by the most appropriate handles and danced her off. One persistent kid managed to jump on stage and knelt in front of Jagger, his arms worshipfully around Jagger's knees. Another fought his way through and put a hand out towards Bill Wyman. One touch was all he wanted.

Generally, it was the guys who wanted to get physical; the girls were content with screaming. The cult-hungry French were apparently a bit too much for Jagger, who left out the sexy part of "Midnight Rambler" — just in case.

About the calmest head in the entire house that night was Marlon Richards, the 18-month-old son of Keith Richards, who fell quite soundly asleep about 15 feet in front of one of the Stones' giant amplifiers. A stagehand commented, "This kid has got to have the greatest set of eardrums of his generation."

All three Paris shows (the last two of which were a bit, but not much, calmer) were taped by a mobile recording unit brought over from England. For an album? "We are just recording," says Marshall Chess, new Stones recording chief, "just recording."

The tour so far has carried with it the usual tensions and flare-ups brought on by the gawkers who sneer and ask for autographs at the same time, and by lurking deaf photographers (one of whom had his camera dropped down a flight of stairs by Richards in Paris) and a few beer bottles have been cracked on snooping, bothersome, heads.

Also on the tour, the Stones have introduced a number of new tunes into their on-stage repertoire, including "Wild Horses," "Dead Flowers," "Brown Sugar," "Roll Over, Beethoven," and a Chuck Berry medley based around his classic "Let It Rock."

This is a story from the October 29, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone.