A short list of offstage antics, performed by the Rolling Stones.
With Mick Jagger back to fighting fitness and the Rolling Stones swarming Lincoln Financial Field on Tuesday, July 23 (tix still avail) for its “No Filter” tour dates, it is necessary for locals to know that the best stuff of the Stones didn’t always happen on stage.
While some events of the Stones hanging around Philly are date stamped (the Sigma Studio mix sessions for Love You Live), some might not be due to the circumstance of happenstance (drummer Charlie Watts usually made himself known at Walnut Street’s Robinson’s Leather every time he came to town, Jagger similarly dining at Shiroi Hana) or memory (these things really do blur into the next after a moment or 400).
Here are just a few random weird memories of seeing the Stones on their off-hours in Philly:
•During the 2002 Licks tour, the Rolling Stones played multiple venues in town to accommodate intimacy and breadth. They wound up staying in Philly from September 17 to September 22 with dates at Veterans Stadium, First Union Center and the Tower. In-between those dates, local promoters threw the Stones an invite-only soiree at the Locust Club (or 1616 as it was known then). It included a Middle Eastern tented/hookah/carnival theme and a VIP area just for Charlie, Keith, Ronnie, and Mick. No one seems to remember seeing them. But, at least a dozen guests got so fucked up at the party, that they wound up falling asleep on the club’s wind banquettes until morning. Messy. Oddly enough, the Stones opening act, The Pretenders, hung out at Ulana’s off of South Street. Were they not invited to the Stones bash?
•It was a cold night in December when Keith Richards’ Xpensive Winos solo tour for his Talk is Cheap album hit the Tower in 1988. Not so cold though that Richards wanted to continue hanging out, long after his show had ended. He wound up at the North Star Bar on Poplar, spending too much time in the basement. Don’t ask.
•When the Stones began their large scale Steel Wheels tour in Philadelphia in August 1989, they camped out at Veterans Stadium quietly fine-tuning the production. Finally, they realized that they had not actually played their full set all the way through, and wound up doing so for an invited guest list of…. 8 people.
•When Jagger and Richards came to Philly in April 1977 (until May!?) to mix the Stones’ live album-to-be “Love You Live,” at Sigma Sound Studios on N. 12th Street, Keith and his paramour Anita Pallenberg moved between Paoli and Cherry Hill while on a deep dive cure for heroin addiction.