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Articles > Entertainment November, 22, 2012

The Rolling Stones – a tour too many?

Russell Wignall
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‘(I can’t get no) Satisfaction’, ‘Paint It Black’, ‘Start Me Up’, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’. Everyone will know or at least have heard one Rolling Stones song in their time. But is this farewell tour one tour too many, and is the cost too high?

Rolling Stones - a tour too many?

Image by Christopher Dombres

Credit where credit’s due – The Rolling Stones have been around 50 years now, and created some of the greatest tracks of all time, produced a logo that is universally recognized and remain to many bands the inspiration behind their music. Now with a new track, ‘Doom and Gloom’, ready for the upcoming 4 date tour in London and New York City it’s time we ask ourselves: is this really necessary?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Stones. They remain an inspiration and the tracks will remain in musical history alongside Elvis and The Beatles. But I love the Stones of old, the rebel years, the days when Jagger could be mistaken for Alex from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and the tracks could be used in every riot/protest – the famous hit Street Fighting Man to name but one.

Now we stare at an aged old foursome. Incredibly, they don’t stand statue-like, robotically playing the instruments with no flare or vibe. There’s the occasional arm raise from Keith, the wink and small jump from Ronnie, a drumstick twirl from Charlie and Mick dances around like it is 1973. For a man his age it’s remarkable…but also a tad embarrassing.

My main qualm with this ‘final’ tour is the price. As one of the richest bands in history, do they really need MORE money? With the cheapest ticket I managed to find being £400 and the most expensive in excess of £5000, it does seems a lot for a night of geriatric and at times embarrassing trips back in time. It also seems a lot for a band that has made so much out of record sales, the lips brand and ticket sales – all from us loyal fans. Would it really have hurt to make it a bit cheaper as a reward to the fans that put them where they are in history?

It makes you wonder what on earth the money is needed for. I find it hard to believe any of them are in desperate need of money. Being one of the most successful, global, and well established bands must pay more than the average job. Then consider the merchandise! It’s hard to set foot in a city without seeing at least one person in a Rolling Stone top. Shops are littered with t-shirts and jumpers displaying various images of the logo/band members. I myself own 3 and they weren’t cheap to buy I can assure you!

It’s a shame I’ll never actually see The Rolling Stones, I was born into the wrong decade and as a student I refuse to pay over £40 for a gig ticket, but at the same time, I’d rather have seen the rebel Mick, not the outdated, almost ridiculous karaoke singer he has become.

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  1. Ben

    I agree with you Russell. It’d be worth £40 or £50 for me. But I guess if they can fill the seats at that price… Personally my issue is with massive venues like the O2. I’ve never been to a really good stadium (or O2) gig, they just lack atmosphere.

  2. By virtue of their longevity the Rolling Stones have pioneered the notion of long-standing bands becoming their own tribute/copycat act. They walk the difficult tightrope between new material and a vastly popular back-catalogue with some success. The Stones still have long-standing members (Keef being the musical driving force) who believe in the continuance of the band as a creative entity so they are fully entitled to believe that they still have something of significance to contribute. A tour too far? Not yet. Either they will quit when it suits them or when the marketplace dictates it.

  3. George

    I have no strong views one way or the other, i dont particularly like the stones but i dont dislike them or their music, i suppose it’s down to their fans, true fans will never have a bad word to say about them, if they are true fans they won’t mind paying to see them in their current status, whether they’ve lost their ‘vibe’ or not. There may be younger fans that wouldnt have been able to see them when they had their ‘vibe’. Fans may have a favourite era for the bands they like, whether that era be dead and gone or still active, they will pay to see them play live. I wouldnt pay that much to see a band play (though there are exceptions) but sometimes we cant be sure who the money is going to, it may be a charitable organisation run by the company that owns the venue they play at, with a relatively small amount going to the band themselves. Furthermore, fans (and non fans with large sums of money) would pay to see them to say that they’ve seen them, so that they can see a famous person or group in the flesh, or to go for the experience, which would be made better for them in a case such as this because they’re seeing someone or a group that are talented and well known for good music that a lot of people like. The live experience itself is memorable and overwhelming and for them to play songs that you like or know of would make it even better. Theres not many things that are better to say or think than saying ‘i saw them’ or ‘i was at that tour’. I myself have only seen one band play live (that has been around for a long time but are still writing today) that are my favourite that i wouldnt turn down an opportunity to see unless i really had to, the things people had said about the state they were in would not have influenced my decision to pay to see them (overall it cost me about £85 including travel and tickets which is not too much a lot for me but not a lot in terms of some ticket prices out there. It all depends on how dedicated the fans are, how much they are willing to spend and what they expect from the band.