Friday, July 03, 2015

Casting the Second Stones..

 Yeah, yeah, I know.

Seeing the Rolling Stones TWICE in 16 days is a bit much.

Never seen them before in my life and now, in a fortnight plus 2.

They are thinking of me as a "stalker."

Or, is that "wanker?"

Whichever, it was another opportunity to see the group perform a song in Raleigh that they had last done there almost exactly 50 years ago!

Interesting drive up I-95 and getting off on US 40 to Raleigh for my first time ever visiting  in The Triangle.

Again, thunderstorms were creeping closer - just as happened at the outdoor setting in Atlanta.

And, again, they dissipated about a half-hour before the show started.

What WAS different was no alcohol was allowed inside the NC State University Carter-Finley stadium.

Tail gate parties were encouraged of course - just like at their football games - so the crowd had several hours of chugging beers before they hiked from the parking lots.

We parked near the fairgrounds and had an easy even-terrain hike among the jovial crowd.

Police were everywhere - augmented by campus security - so things flowed smoothly.

Did not see as many merchandising trucks and stands as I saw in Atlanta.

Fans patiently queued in long lines though to add to their t-shirt collections.

The ride up I-95 was new to me too and police presence was obvious - lots of unmarked SUVs - who revealed themselves when their blue lights flashed and blinked.

Law enforcement heavily patrols this major North-South link from Florida all the way up the Eastern seaboard to Maine.

The lady on the back of the motorcycle saw me taking a picture of her Mohawk hairdo as they passed and she gave me a one-finger wave. LOL.

I did not wave back.

Earlier, we came up behind a car that seemed to have stacked a back-up vehicle on its roof for their Fourth of July excursion.

Getting closer, I realized it was a car-transport truck ahead of them, toting a load of cars north.

We carry a spare tire so having a back-up car - even a mini one - seemed almost logical.

Besides, I had not traveled this Interstate road before.

Maybe that's how people do it here.

So, anyway, it was a quick 4-hour jaunt.

Stopped at our hotel in Cary, N.C., dropped off luggage, pocketed a small plastic flask filled with a dark liquid and headed to the concert.

Well, after stops at three local craft beer breweries. We are not tailgaters, just thirsty tourists in a strange town.

The Raleigh Brewing Company had an adjacent large room offering all the tools a DIY beer-maker could ever want or need.

I saw that Sir Walt, the namesake for the city, was represented. He was NOT wearing a cloak and, of course, we all know THAT story.

We had stopped first at Natty Greene's Pub & Brewery
for a delicious lunch - and one of their local brews - and were unaware that it would be closing August 1. Oh well, a few less beers they would have to pack up.
Being new to Raleigh, we were pleased to find our way to Boylan Bridge Brew Pub.

As expected, it is located right next to the Boylan Bridge.

Its patio offers an excellent view of the downtown skyline and a nice oatmeal porter to sip.

The bartender explained they had been there 6 years and were just finishing some remodeling and soon would be brewing and serving their own beer again.

Huh? Well, I did notice an Abita on the menu so I reason that all the beers that day were from elsewhere. Nice view though.

So, later, we enter the stadium and look down at a similar setting we had seen in Atlanta two weeks before. This is 90 minutes before the Stones start.

Another football stadium (55,000 capacity) but this time, we were not in the 14th row from the front of the stage
Tonight we were sitting at the top of the long runway.

Mick and the others would be skipping and dancing their way to perform right in front of us! (My seats are marked with a large black "X".)

This time, I could look straight ahead and see all three of the JumboTron screens.

Look closely and you'll see the really tiny actual Stones on stage,  using my wide-angle lens setting.

But my camera also has a strong zoom lens, so I could bring them much "closer."

Like when I wanted to get all four together or other frantic activities at the front of the stage.

But, being at the head of the runway, I could see Mick and the others in extreme detail as he did the Jagger Swagger up and down the long lane.

There he was, large as life, looming above me! Does he remember seing me in Atlanta? Is that eye-contact?

I could see the sweat and strain as this septuagenarian romped and stomped right before my eyes.

How can he keep this pace?

Someone suggested it is what he has been doing all his life. Not something he tries every now and then.

Fast tempo, constant motion, a whirling dervish, dazzling generations of adoring fans. Even fellow geezers like me.

The head-on seating sometimes matched up the giant screen image with the actual performers.

They grew larger as they danced towards me.

Back-up singer Lisa Fischer joined Mick for a heart-pounding duet as they both shimmied with the music and showed outstanding strong sentiment in their body language.

She was enjoying her moment in the major spotlight and they moved as one.

I had the best seats in the house!

Well, the taller fan in front of me, pumping his fist, might have had a slightly better view.

Nobody sat very much during this 2 and a half-hour concert so sightlines depended on which way you leaned to get a better view.

Security was excellent. Accommodating us and keeping "crashers" to a minimum as overeager fans were sent back as they tried to crowd in for a quick shot with a phone camera.

I was close enough to see Jagger and other band members pause, catch their breath and take off running again, sucking in air

It was a fast-paced show, just like in Atlanta and, in this 11th stop, they are in the shank of the 15-city tour.

It comes to an end in Quebec City, July 15 and then, for the final time, roadies will break down the huge stage transported in a fleet of semi-trucks.

Oddly enough, last week, I was in Vieux Quebec, in the tall Capotale Observatoire , looking down at the Plains of  Abraham.

That was the site of a major independence battle for Quebec and is where this Rolling Stones concert tour will close out.

Thanks boys, it has been fun joining you on the tour - TWICE - and almost being in Quebec for a third show!

So, play well at the final few gigs and then take a well-deserved long break.

But, stay in shape!

I'm sure the next tour is already on the calendar, coming to  _______ city near you.  Don't miss it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details).

I too am catching my breath.

Wonder if they'll be playing in Spain or Portugal this Fall?

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