The Rolling Stones and the Gathering Madness

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Tickets in Los Angeles sold cut in eight hours, a total of 36,000 seats for two shows. About three hundred people waited overnight in front of the box office to get the first seats. Los Angeles opens the 13-city, 18-show tour, the Stones' first in three years. Here is their schedule:

November 8—The Forum, Los Angeles, California.
November 9—The Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California.
November 10—The Sports Arena, San Diego, California.
November 11—The Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona.
November 13—Moddy Coliseum, Dallas, Texas.
November 14—The Coliseum, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
November 15—The University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois.
November 16—Chicago International Amphitheater, Chicago, Illinois.
November 24—Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan.
November 25—The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pa.
November 26—Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
November 27 and 28—Madison Square Garden, New York.
November 29—The Boston, Gardens, Boston, Mass.
November 30—West Palm Beach Pop Festival, West Palm Beach, Florida.

As for the Stones themselves, they, too, were being hassled for tickets. "They're only givin' us 25 of them," Jagger told the callers – most of whom could afford tickets, no matter what the cost, but apparently wanted to say they got them from the Stones instead. "Our contract says we get 25, that's all – to be divided between the five of us. We must have 100 friends in Los Angeles at least. S'not enough, is it?"

Wherever they go, though, the Stones remained the Stones – somewhat larger than life – and they drew crowds. Not large crowds. At the Ash Grove, where Taj Mahal was playing, at the Brass Ring, where Delaney and Bonnie and Friends were playing, at several other night clubs, the audiences were too cool for much public demonstration. But attention was paid. And business was always good when the Stones arrived; news of their presence traveled fast.

Even if you weren't on the club circuit, constantly running into or just missing Jagger, it didn't take much to keep track of them. All you had to do was read Joyce Haber's gossip column in the morning Times or watch Rona Barrett on Channel 11 at night. They even told you what the Stones ate.

Meantime, the activities of the Stones were reaching an almost insane pitch, fed by the feeling of it in the air: The Stones Are In Town!

The Rolling Stones Live, 1964-2007

KRLA was hawking tickets to the concerts in contests, all the young members of the music biz in Los Angeles, and certainly all the groupies, male and female alike, were all hanging around the Stones official headquarters on Oriole Drive in the Hollywood Hills. (The house boasts a tennis court, swimming pool, a spectacular view of Los Angeles, and five newly-installed phone lines.)

In a more secluded location, another huge house buried on the other side of the Hollywood Hills, Mick, Keith and Mick Taylor were living with cooks, chauffeurs, bodyguards, etc., and holding daily closed rehearsals.

Needless to say, the rehearsals were incredible. In a makeshift sound studio at the back of the house, the five Stones were jamming and arranging. Running through old hits ("I'm Free") and a wailing on the new ones.

Our man at the scene who sat in on one night of the rehearsals said this: "They are the best rock and roll group in the world. Mick Taylor will settle down and follow Keith's lead instead of busying up the sound; Mick sings beautifully, and the rhythm section – well, there's no contest. Hopefully the concert situations won't muddy up the sound, but just seeing them sit around and play live and loud – well, that's it, isn't it?"

This story is from the November 29, 1969 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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