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The Rolling Stones' 1975 Tour: Baptized in Baton Rouge, Castrated in San Antone

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Outside the Hilton it was a perfect, balmy evening for rock & roll and the plaza around the arena was full of beer and wine drinkers who lingered during the Meters' opening set.

The Stones were just pulling up to the arena in a beer truck they were using to beat the crush of the crowd when Bill Carter had his run-in with the San Antonio vice squad. Sergeant Harold Hoff and two detectives located Carter and told him they wanted to "examine the show and determine if it was pornographic, since the mayor and the city council have received several hundred calls about it." "Bullshit," Carter thought and he asked Hoff if he had already made up his mind about the phallus being obscene. Hoff said yes, and added that he was prepared to seek a warrant and file charges should the phallus rear its ugly head. Carter fumed and went to Jagger's dressing room with Rudge. Jagger laughed about it, but told Carter: "We're in San Antonio, we're San Antonio's guests and if they're gonna take this that seriously then I won't do it." Carter then shuttled back to Sergeant Hoff. "We could beat your ass on this case if you filed charges," he said, "but we don't need the hassle. You win."

Carter was fairly bitter: "Blame it on the Stones, goddamnit, they always blame it on the Stones. If the audience died of natural causes, they'd find a way to blame it on the Stones."

It was a rowdy crowd, perfect for the Stones and, if there is still magic in rock & roll, it was there the night of June 4th as the lights went down and "Fanfare" came up and the people in the first 20 rows surged against the plywood fence. The cry was deafening when the ten Super Trouper arc lights around the hall stabbed through the darkness to pinion Jagger and Richards in a blinding white circle at a tip of the star. In the lighting box, Jules Fisher, who was imported from Broadway to do the Stones' lights, pointed proudly at his work. Seen from on high, the stage was spectacular — a delicately lit flower that seemed to be suspended and surrounded by what resembled a sea of waving eels which were, of course, arms held overhead and clapping. Fisher's color mixes threw purple, red, yellow and blue simultaneously around the star.

"Wait till you see the Madison Square Garden show," he said. "It'll be decorated like a garden: hundreds of leaves on cables leading to the stage and the petals of the stage will be closed to resemble a tree trunk. The petals will open to show the band and Mick will rise on an elevator and we'll project flying eagles all over the audience. The leaves, ten-foot leaves, will rise on hydraulic pistons and there'll be neon rimming on the stage. It'll be beautiful."

The houselights came up as Richards led the group into a slashing, brutal "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and even a few of the cops could not resist moving in time to that savage syncopation. Jagger finished it off grandly by dumping buckets of ice into the crowd and then standing stock-still, one fist raised high.

As one of the finer moments in rock history, it was unmatched — until two nights later in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium when "Jumpin' Jack Flash" became an awesome guitar duel between Wood and Richards before 53,231 paying customers. The crowd booed for a full two minutes when they realized there would be no encore.

There was no encore in San Antonio either and the crowd finally straggled out, many persons heading for the Hilton lobby where they were stopped at the elevators by the Stones' muscle squad. Two adamant female fans, who were sure Mick wanted to see them, were not at all happy. One wore a black leather bikini; the other, in full biker regalia, had stood at the very tip of the star and thrown her heavy, studded belt at Jagger to celebrate the start of "Honky Tonk Women." Now she maintained she had thrown it to him and had fastened her card to it with the inscription, "L&L to Mick from Tiger and Claire, Slave." They wanted very badly to see Jagger. "He is," the one with eyepatch said, "obviously very into sex and violence. Look at when he does 'Midnight Rambler' and plays harmonica with no hands. That's a very S&M slave thing." Astonishing, just astonishing. I could hardly wait to quiz Jagger on that.

"Ah, yeah," he said the next day when I finally collared him in his room, where he was sitting in a blue and white polka-dotted bathrobe and eating from a plate of eggs by the window, "I saw that belt. So?" Didn't that sex/violence/belt thing cause any apprehension, especially playing that close to the audience? "No. No, you shouldn't be afraid of it, but it is pretty scary sometimes. Want some coffee?"

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