The Rolling Stones are Coming. Am I Going? Would You?

rolling-stonesSure you have seen the video by now. We all have. Mick is dancing around, doing his moves like Jagger, just weeks after heart surgery to replace a cardiac valve. According to the New York Times, it wasn’t open-heart surgery, but it was still plenty serious for a 75-year-old codger, especially one who has been reputed to take a non-medically prescribed drug or two in his past.

So the “No-Filter” tour is back on track. And the opening dates are right here in Chicago, at that bastion of acoustic glory, Soldier Field. Shows are June 21 and June 25 and I need to make a decision. To paraphrase the Clash, another bunch of British punkers, “Do I stay (at home) or do I go (to the concert?) I may own my own copy of “Sticky Fingers,” and have my favorite songs (“Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,”) but I have never seen the boys live.

I would definitely plan on going to the Stones concert if it wasn’t a Stones concert. That is to say, I would be sure to go if the whole situation was in my control. The concert would start on time, the guys and gals behind me wouldn’t be slopping beer on my head, there would be a perfectly timed bathroom break with short lines at the johns, and I could helicopter away from the stadium just like Mick and Keith and the rest of the boys. But since none of those are going to happen, I need to make a decision based on the facts such as they are.

First, who is there to go with? Barb is not a likely candidate; she won’t even go back to see McCartney or Billy Joel at Wrigley. As for the kids, I have dragged each of them with their spouses to different U2 concerts at the spaceship on the lake.  None of them are begging to go to another concert of any sort with me. My friends have mostly seen the Stones long ago and aren’t willing to spend the bucks to do it again.

And there is that cost factor, though a quick look at StubHub shows that the ticket prices aren’t currently much above what you would pay for good seats at “Hamilton.” And with the Stones, you are still getting the originals (at least 60% of them) rather than a Lin-Manuel Miranda substitute. (I know, I know, Miguel Cervantes does a great job as AH. Saw him when the show first opened here.) So I could come up with the cash for a decent ticket.

It’s the venue that is the biggest detractor. Whether it is for a Bear’s game or a concert, Soldier Field is just so miserable to get to, and even more miserable to get out of. It ranks a close second in our nightmare scenarios to Sam Boyd Stadium outside Las Vegas, where we waited more than 2 hours before we were able to finally find a shuttle after attending a U2/Black-Eyed Peas show 10 years ago. The crush leaving the Soldier Field gates is frightening, even for someone without claustrophobia. Couldn’t the Illinois Sports Field Facilities Authorities have added at least one or two more exits from the stadium campus during the 2002-2003 renovations?

So no “Start Me Up” for me. No “All Down the Line.” And certainly no “Satisfaction.” Unless the Stones want to put on a show in my backyard (how about it?) I’m going to sit this one out, and just admire that old Mick can still get up and do his thing.

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Photo Credit Chicago Tribune

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