Andy had a birthday at the end of May. He’s now four years older than me, only for four months but it makes all the difference. He’s a child of the 60’s, he likes The Beatles and surprisingly, I didn’t know this, but he likes the Rolling Stones. How could I not know this after nearly forty years. He found that they were having a ‘gig’ in Southampton and he enthusiastically booked tickets. I wasn’t that keen, but I go along with things, to keep the marital peace. I don’t like loud music which doesn’t tell a story, songs that just repeat themselves very noisily. This is where the four year gap shows itself. I’m a child of the 70’s, the most ‘rocky’ we got was Paper Lace and we thought they were a bit shady.
The day after the Rolling Stones concert I was due to go into hospital for a day case operation. I was expected to report for admission at 7am and I was a bit worried that I was going to be very tired instead of fresh for the surgeon. There were many heated discussions about the wisdom of travelling all the way to Southampton and transferring onto a Park and Ride bus miles away from St.Marys football stadium but eventually Andy agreed to a compromise that we would leave before the end of the concert.
So off we went. The journey passed by with me giving one word answers to questions or any attempt at conversation. As the cherry stand disappeared in the rear view mirror, Andy offered to stop and buy me some from the roadside; he knows how much I love them.
We arrived at the designated Park and Ride, got out of the car and into a double decker bus, via a cleverly concealed ramp. It was full of true Rolling Stones fans, I was feeling a bit of a fraud for having a ticket to see these ‘Legends’. Why wasn’t I more excited? There was a thirty minute journey to the stadium. We arrived and were escorted to our seats which were admittedly a good view.
By this time we were talking and Andy offered to buy me a drink. He went to the bar and came back with a watered down wine which came at a premium price. The support band, called The Vaccines were probably the youngest people in the stadium. There were a considerable amount of grey haired men with reading glasses and women with un-natural hair colour. I’m sure there were some young people there but I couldn’t see them. Perhaps I need reading glasses. The support band were very loud and were on stage for about forty minutes.
I was starting to get cold and reminded of the many times I sat in exactly the same spot watching tedious football matches in years gone by. Eventually, after a break of about fifteen minutes the Rolling Stones appeared. They were a quartet of geriatrics, prancing around making fools of themselves, but the crowd seemed to know their moves. I know the names of these four, Charlie Watts is the drummer, he looks like a retired funeral director and never smiles. The two guitarists, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richard look like dried up prunes and the only one who isn’t looking like the living dead is Mick Jagger. He is sort of dancing and pouting the same way he did in 1962. I ask myself why rock stars can’t just retire to their mansions with grace.
We left before the end as Andy had agreed and took the park and ride journey back to the car. We saw the fireworks that signalled the end of the concert as we passed the stadium.
I got into bed at 1am having not enjoyed it at all but at least I can say I saw The Stones.