August 25, 2005

My Rolling Stones Experience

As many of you no doubt already know, the Rolling Stones are back on tour. This is incredibly important news, because most people generally believe that the Rolling Stones are, in fact, already dead. They're not dead, of course, although, upon inspection, they look considerably close to death, like second cousins or something.

But, they're not dead! They're on tour! And because I, Ryan Rhodes, happened to be in Boston this week, I had the opportunity to actually see the Rolling Stones in concert for the probably the last time in the their short remaining lives.

Okay, I didn't actually see the Stones in concert. It's more accurate to say that I walked down to Fenway Stadium, where the Stones were playing, and I then walked around the facility several times in an attempt to find the best spot to hear their music bouncing off the surrounding buildings. But, trust me, it was pretty darned close to seeing the Rolling Stones in concert. You know, without actually SEEING the Stones in concert.

As you may have heard, during the Stones first concert in Boston--for their last tour ever. . . until the next one--a woman who wanted to get a better vantage point tried climbing around the rafters of Fenway, only to fall and break both ankles and a wrist. In my world, this is considered a case of "stupidity," although in the real world I'm sure the woman will probably be offered several book deals to tell her harrowing life story.

For my part, I stayed out of the rafters, and away from dangerous situations in general, although I did purchase and eat a foot long sausage from one of the outside vendors, which was probably pretty risky. But, generally speaking, I stayed pretty safe, and instead watched other people engage in dangerous and/or questionable behavior.

I'm here to tell you, by the way, that the party going on outside the Stones concert was probably 800 times better than anything going on INSIDE the Stones concert. There were people drinking, and there were people dancing, and there were people drinking and dancing, and there were people smoking all sorts of substances that didn't look at all like tobacco. In fact, here's a snippet of actual dialogue I picked up from a young, and somewhat large, woman who walked by me, which I had the presence of mind to write down:

"Whoa! Stop running! That was, like, a marathon or something! I used to run marathons a few years ago, but now I just smoke pot!"

An inspiration to us all, if ever there was one. Although in the real world I'm sure the woman will probably be offered several book deals to tell her harrowing life story.

The Stones concert also held wide appeal to several beggars, who lined the stadium at appropriate intervals and shook plastic cups to encourage donations. Some of the more ambitious beggars worked the crowds asking for money directly, but mostly they sat up against Fenway and shook their cups. A rough count by yours truly estimated that about 14 or so beggars were on hand for the event.

And then the concert got under way, with the Stones playing their signature concert-start-up-number, "Start Me Up," and immediately everyone standing outside the stadium began to cheer wildly and lip-sync the well-known tune, while about one third of the people held up their cell phones so their friends and/or family on the other end could hear the muffled and diluted musical bangings trickling over the stadium walls. And, I shit you nary, even the beggars started shaking their cups in unison with the beat, in a sort of destitute percussion section.

I eventually found probably the best spot outside the stadium for listening to muffled tunes, leaning up against a chain-link fence, while nearby news crews filed live reports, visibly disappointed that no one had yet broken any ankles and/or wrists. They were also visibly irritated by the throngs of bystanders who insisted on jumping into their videotaping shots to wave at the camera, make obscene gestures, or just generally stand there and smile, for lack of anything creative to do. Oh, and here's something else I observed: at least three people with camcorders felt it was their duty to videotape the news crews videotaping the news. Which, well, that just struck me as entirely too stupid.

"Hey, you want to see my tape of the Stones concert? Cool. Well, here's the Channel 5 news girl doing a news report. Pretty neat, huh? Wait, where are you going? Come back!"

It was at about that time that I became aware of an individual I started to think of as So-Co guy, so named because, at his side, he kept a trusty 1.75 liter bottler of Southern Comfort which, at the start of the concert, was about a quarter empty. He was visibly inebriated as all hell, and he had a disquieting way of looking right through me, kind of like a cat staring at a wall because of something only the cat can see. I tried to ignore So-Co guy, but eventually his penetrating stare prompted me to take another stroll around the stadium.

About halfway around Fenway, I observed another odd phenomenon. I noticed that a bunch of people were crowded around a restaurant window, so I pushed through to see what the fuss was all about. The fuss, as it turned out, was that the restaurant had two televisions that were broadcasting a live feed from the concert. In other words, people were standing outside of the concert, watching the concert on televisions located in a restaurant. That I could at least understand, somewhat, but there were people, and I again shit you nary, who were TAKING PICTURES and TAPING the televised broadcast through the restaurant window! Again, what's the point? Who could possibly sit through such a videotape? ARGH!

At around 10 p.m., I decided to make my way back to the stadium area where I was pretty sure the Stones would exit with their motorcade. Along the way, I encountered So-Co guy again, who was being propped up by a friend, who was trying to explain to a couple of police officers that So-Co guy was just fine, despite a 3/4 empty 1.75 liter Southern Comfort bottle indicating otherwise. There was a large wet spot at So-Co guy's feet, which I was pretty sure was vomit, which I carefully walked around. In my world, So-Co guy simply drank way too much, way too fast. Although in the real world I'm sure the So-Co guy will probably be offered several book deals to tell his harrowing life story.

Come 10:30, I had my eventual brush with fame, as the van carrying Mick Jagger away from the concert passed by me no more than eight feet away. I even caught a glimpse of Jagger himself, dressed in what appeared to be a white robe of some sort. I was so close, I could even make out the lines on Mick's face, which I have to admit wasn't that difficult. Mick even took the time to wave to me. Okay, in actuality, he was waving at the throng of people pressing up against the gate I was leaning on and getting the life crushed out of me, but in my world I like to think Mick was waving specifically at me.

So, real world, if you're reading this, I'm perfectly fine if you'd like to offer me several book deals to tell my harrowing life story.

Posted by Ryan at August 25, 2005 12:10 PM | TrackBack

Where's Fenway Stadium? Is it near Fenway Park?

Posted by: Ephraim Meyer at August 26, 2005 09:12 AM


Posted by: Ryan at August 26, 2005 09:18 AM

the parking lot scene is quite often way more amusing than what's going on inside. i'm sure there were many a Dead show were that was more true than anyone would've liked to admit.

Posted by: leblanc at August 26, 2005 12:43 PM

That was hilarious. I once wandered around Olympic Stadium in Munich, Germany to hear Sting. So Co guy must get around!

Posted by: Uncle Ben at August 28, 2005 09:07 AM

If I were a beggar at Fenway, I'd lean against it or even sit down rather than working the crowd. You know how it looks when people try to hard.

Posted by: Sandy at September 6, 2005 09:43 AM
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