The Rolling Stones, Murrayfield Stadium Edinburgh, June 9, 2018

The Rolling Stones have been an important part of my life for over 50 years. When I was stones tixa kid, maybe 10 or 11, the public house over the road “The Colliery Inn” would sell off the jukebox copies of recent hit singles when they left the charts, or when the locals lost interest in them. My mates and I would regularly go to the side entrance of the bar, where there was a little hatch and ask the barmaid to look at the records. She would bring out a box of 45 rpm singles, each with their centres pushed out for operation in the jukebox. We would, with delight, look through the pile of records including The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, The Who and others. I can still smell the beer that wafted out of the bar; lovely! There were never many Beatles singles; someone must have held on to them. I remember buying copies of “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Little Red Rooster”, “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby (Standing in the Shadow)” and “Paint It Black”. I had to buy plastic centres for the records in order to play them on my old record player. I would stack up the records and play them again and again; particularly “Paint It Black”. My lifelong obsession with the Rolling Stones began then.

jagger 1A few years later, I was a young teenager sitting in awe in Newcastle City Hall in 1971, watching in disbelief at my hero Mick Jagger. I couldn’t believe that I was actually saying the Rolling Stones, in real life, in front of me! From then on, I have seen the Stones many times; joining 200,000 fans at Knebworth Park in 1976, many shows in football stadiums around the country, and more recently, concerts in London’s plush O2 arena and at the Glastonbury Festival.

Tickets for The Rolling Stones have always been relatively expensive, in comparison to other bands. In recent days they have reached exorbitant rates. The Stones charge up to £1000 for prime seats. However, I decided to buy much more reasonably priced (cheapest) tickets for £100 each, in an upper tier of the stadium at the side of the stage.

stones progBefore my accident, buying tickets was very different, and much easier. I would go to my computer; a few clicks and I had my tickets! Ticket buying is very different now I need a wheelchair space. I need to locate the accessible phone line and phone that number, only to be put into a queue, listening to music until I finally got through to an operator. I am then allocated my spot in the stadium and a free ticket for my carer. Sometimes I could be in the queue for over one hour, hoping to get tickets. This is admittedly much easier than queueing for tickets which I did many times in the 1970s. I once queued 28 hours outside Newcastle City Hall to buy tickets for the Rolling Stones! The logistics of travelling to a major gig have changed since being in a wheelchair. I need to plan ahead carefully. I book an accessible taxi to the train station, accessible seats on the train and two hotel rooms (one disabled room for me, one twin room for my carers). I take two carers with me, for different shifts during the night. Booking the train involves phoning the accessible travel line and then another number to book train tickets. I need to arrive at the station early and look for the friendly guys with a ramp who assist me on to the train.stones crowd

I thought my years of seeing my heroes finished with my accident but no, here I was in Scotland, witnessing a Rolling Stones concert again. We arrived just in time to catch support act Richard Ashcroft play the Verve hits, “The Drugs Don’t Work” and “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. Soon the Stones exploded onto the stage with “Start Me Up” and didn’t let up for two hours. Jagger and Richards are amazing; the energy they display in their advanced years is unbelievable. Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards perform exciting guitar duels and Charlie Watts sits quietly at the back keeping time. The hits kept flowing: “Paint It Black” (still my favourite after all these years), “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Honky Tonk Women” and “Under My Thumb”. One surprise is “She’s a Rainbow” from Their Satanic Majesties Request, which had been requested by fans through the Stones website (a great choice and another one of my favourites). They finish with “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Brown Sugar”. The encores were stones ronnie 1“Gimme Shelter “and (of course) “Satisfaction”.

We (myself and my two carers Joanne and Lisa) wandered into the cool Edinburgh streets to hail a taxi. Two hours later, somewhat lost, and panicking as my chair was running out of charge, as were Lisa’s and Joanne’s phone’s! We eventually found a bus which took us back to Princes Street and a short walk to our hotel. A bit of an adventure! But we all enjoyed it.

Setlist: Start Me Up; Let’s Spend the Night Together; It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It); Tumbling Dice; Under My Thumb; Ride ‘Em on Down (Eddie Taylor cover); She’s a Rainbow (by request); You Can’t Always Get What You Want; Paint It Black; Honky Tonk Women; You Got the Silver (Keith on lead vocals); Happy (Keith on lead vocals); Sympathy for the Devil; Miss You; Midnight Rambler; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Brown Sugar. Encore: Gimme Shelter; (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Thanks to Lisa for taking the photographs. 

Sadly, this was the last time I saw the Rolling Stones with the great Charlie Watts on the drum stool. Charlie sadly passed away yesterday 24 August 2021. He was one of the world’s greatest rock drummers; providing a steady, solid beat to the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. No big showmanship, no long drum solos; just perfect drumming for the perfect rock band. Things will never be the same again. The remaining three stalwarts Mick, Keith and Charlie are now down to two. Charlie you were one of my all-time heroes. RIP Charlie Watts.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bryan on July 5, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    It’s like a carnival coming to town when The Stones hit the road! People travel from all over the world….there’s nothing like it!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Les on July 5, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    I have a friend who is thee biggest Stones fan and I have accompanied him to two memorable Stones gigs at Glasgow and London. He has seen them many times from the early 70s to present day, including the gigs you mention. We also attended a great ‘Bill Wyman’s Rythmn Kings’ gig a few years back at a local venue.
    The most memorable event though was when we were in London and eating at ‘Sticky Fingers’ restaurant. We joked around about Bill Wyman showing up and we asked the staff, who did say that he ate there quite often, but we both dismissed it as very unlikely.
    It was only when we were half way through our burgers that my friend’s face lit up and, after a double-take, we saw Bill Wyman standing in the doorway with his family and friends.
    After some pointless lecturing from me about never meeting your heros, my friend eventually went up for a chat with Bill. The nicest, friendliest bloke he could ever meet. After a photo and a handshake, my friend returned to our table an even bigger fan than before. Never stopped going on about it since! Brilliant!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Mike Tulloch on July 6, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the great story. Your courage astounds me. If there was an equivalent to the V.C. for non-violent bravery, then you should have it!

    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din,

    Mike

    Reply

  4. Posted by robertglpullen@gmail.com on July 6, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Yeah great story – and Peter is a very brave man .

    Bob

    Reply

  5. Posted by vintagerock on July 6, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Thanks Bob Best wishes Peter

    Reply

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