The Rolling Stones are planning to cap their 1981 U.S. tour on December 18th in New York with a small-club date that will be simulcast via closed-circuit video to more than 200 other rock venues across the country. “We are creating a show uniquely for video”, touts the project’s promoter, John Scher. Titled The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Party, the video event will be directed by Hal Ashby (Coming Home), who also shot footage of four of the tour’s big concerts. Other performers who Scher says may participate in the event are Muddy Waters, Rick James, Grace Jones and Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
Plans for the extravaganza were hatched last month in San Francisco, where Mick Jagger met with Ashby, Boz Scaggs, tour manager Bill Graham and various technical advisers to watch a test of the audio-visual equipment. As No Sisters, a hot local act, stormed through their songs at the Waldorf, Jagger and company caught the action on a video screen at a club next door. Satisfied with the transmission’s quality, Mick ventured over to the Waldorf, wading through the crowd and dancing to the young band’s version of “Tossing and Turning.”
“You were great,” he told the awe-struck band. “You did it just the way we would have — not intimidated or anything. It was just what the doctor ordered.”
The cable concert isn’t the Stones’ only stab at mixing rock & roll, video and film this year. They’re also planning a movie based on the tour — as long as it’s not just another in-concert opus.
So when director Ashby asked if he could film some of the tour’s concerts, he was told that he’d have to come up with a concept for the feature film above and beyond the standard tour documentary. What’s the concept? No one knows yet. But Ashby hopes to have an angle soon.
This is a story from the December 10, 1981 issue of Rolling Stone.