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The Rolling Stones' Grand Finale to Their 1969 U.S. Tour

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Their press conference, held in the swank Rainbow Grill, 65 stories high above Manhattan, was an event featuring non-stop booze, and, once the questioning began, towering silliness.

"What are your impressions of the U.S.?"

Jagger: "It's great. It changes."

"What are your views on the war in Vietnam?"

Jagger [letting out a long groan]: "Just leave and get it over with as soon as you can."

"What about Ed Sullivan blocking some of your vocals out?"

Jagger: "It doesn't matter. It's all a joke . . . "

"How do you feel about a press conference like this?"

Jagger: "It's like being in the front row of a concert in Philadelphia."

"What do you think about the worldwide revolutionary movement of young people?"

Jagger [smiling]: "How long do I have? You can't ask a question like that at a thing like this."

"You sang you couldn't get 'no satisfaction'. Are you any more satisfied now?"

Jagger: "How do you mean, sexually or other? Sexually satisfied. Financially satisfied. Philosophically trying."

"Why don't you do a free concert in New York?"

Jagger: "New York is too cold. You can't do it outside. San Francisco is into that sort of thing."

"How did you like your Hyde Park concert this summer?"

Jagger: "It was very weird. We never played to that many people before."

"What do you think about Lennon returning the MBE?"

Jagger: "At last, he should have done it sooner."

"Would you have done it?"

Jagger: "We would never have gotten it in the first place."

"What do you think about the new sexual morality as reflected in all the sex newspapers? Is it catching up with you?"

Jagger: "No."

Twenty-five minutes of this and then Jagger: "Thank you gentlemen and God bless you all." Exit single file, as suddenly as they came in.

Curiously, while the Stones concert was the only topic of conversation (among our people) for days beforehand, there was precious little about it in the news media. Except, of course, for the Stones press conference, it was almost like a publicity blackout.

Mick did manage to find time to pose for Cecil Beaton for a Vogue magazine cover photo.

"When we think back about the tour," Mick said, "well, it's all happened so quickly, you know? It's all like one big blur and it's hard to distinguish one place from another." It some ways it had been a lot like their 1966 tour – in terms of the American audience's response – and in some ways quite different. "Like in Chicago, it was just like last time: a lot of screamers, a lot of young girls, really young, like 12 or 14. And other places there were some who don't listen to the music at all; it's just a fantasy experience for them. Like in Boston, that crowd had almost an identical response to what they gave us last time.

"But on the Coast, and a lot of other places, there was a very large cross section of people, all kinds of people, and they listened. A lot of them did. That was new in some ways."

Most of all, the Stones seemed surprised at the reception they'd received in the South, in places like Texas and Tennessee and Alabama. They'd halfway expected Easy Rider hassles, vaguely feared violence. Instead, all was friendliness and courtesy.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jagger was upset because three chicks had ridden on the top of his limousine. When their reporter tried to lead Jagger into a rap about groupies, Mick said fuck the stupid questions: "I'm an artist, ask me about my music." He didn't. So Mick wound up assuring him that "I'm not making this trip to go to bed with all those chicks."

It was 5 AM before the Stones performed at the West Palm Beach festival, in Florida, and plenty cold. In honor of the event – their last scheduled concert – and despite the chill – Keith stripped to the waist.

The Stones are presently laying plans for a tour of Europe, starting in March, Jagger said. And then on to the Middle East, and to India (where Jagger hoped to play for free), and on to Japan, where the tour would end in May. They've already been invited to appear in Poland and Russia. The way Mick sees it now, they'd play the first dates on this global swing in Germany, then France, and then onward.

Jagger was not certain just how soon he will feel like touring the United States again. Sometime after the world tour ends he intends to come back to the country to have a look around "in less hurried circumstances."

"The thing about it is," he explained, "touring's alright, but there's so many other things to do in life; do you know what I mean? In my life, I don't have to go onstage to get that buzz, that ego fulfillment. To tour and to perform, you have to get your ego way up there, where it's, like, look, this is me, you know? All ego.

"And I don't need that all the time. I'd like to sort of lose that now – all that ego that's built up. Just, um, do something else, sit home, maybe, travel about, for something like six months, before I start to think about any more tours."

This story is from the December 27, 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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