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Rolling Stones still command top dollar

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Many consider the British-born Rolling Stones to be the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time.

Despite their advancing ages, the Stones have been performing music for crowds all over the world since 1962-64, when they were at the top of their careers.

The group has sold more than 250 million albums and performed in four of the top five highest-grossing concert tours of all-time.

They’re currently in the midst of yet another U.S. tour and last weekend played to a large crowd at the Denver Broncos’ stadium ,with the final stop coming at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Aug. 31.

Three of the original Stones are still with the group — lead singer Mick Jagger, 76, who recently had heart valve replacement surgery, guitarist Keith Richards, 75, and drummer Charlie Watts, 78.

All the old man, wheelchair and nursing home jokes about the group that began circulating in the early 1990s are still playing out while the Stones continue performing concerts and making trips to the bank to deposit their money.

English musician Robert Palmer once said “the remarkable endurance of the Rolling Stones is due to their being rooted in traditional verities, in rhythm-and-blues and soul music while more ephemeral pop fashions have come and gone.”

That must have been what the fans wanted, as Jagger’s net worth has been estimated at $360 million, Richards’ at $340 million and poor drummer Charlie Watts is struggling along with a paltry $200 million.

Not bad for a group of old men out having a little fun and playing music.

My first connection with the Rolling Stones came when I was in high school in Wilson and it was announced the group would be coming to Raleigh for a concert on Nov. 10, 1965 at Reynolds Coliseum, the place where they used to play basketball on the N.C. State University campus.

Although several of us had discussed possibly attending, we also realized the Stones were so popular that ticket prices might be out of our price range, and that’s what happened.

Imagine, $5.50 for a ticket! I recall plenty of griping and claims of “highway robbery.”

Still, cooler heads must have decided “expensive or not, you only live once,” and the tickets were ordered.

On the night of the concert, several carloads of us headed to Raleigh with everyone contributing gas money. As gas was around 31 cents per gallon, that cut even deeper into everyone’s available cash.

Without recalling details, I suspect lack of funds was also responsible for no female guests joining us for the concert and no extravagant dining at Raleigh restaurants prior to the show.

Our seats were probably no more than 100 feet from the stage. That was close enough to view Mick Jagger bouncing around for a couple of hours “like a rooster on acid,” as he was once described.

Because of my Rolling Stones experience, I feel a certain closeness to the band and may try to attend the group’s concert in Miami on Aug. 31.

Due to the band’s continued popularity, I naturally expect ticket prices to be more expensive this time around, so I checked online to see by how much.

If I read correctly, the best available individual ticket remaining in the entire stadium for the Miami show is in section B, down front and left of stage and priced at $6,622.

Not too shabby, eh?

The best two tickets together deal is also in Section B at $5,000 each.

Still not bad.

Under this plan, my wife, Gale, could attend the show with me or else we could get one of the two-together packages still available for $1,177 each in the general admission section. (Translation: High up in the nosebleed section, strong binoculars suggested.)

The best eight-ticket block still available is in the VIP section with those tickets priced at $2,925 each for a total of $23,400.

Please note none of these prices include service fees, and since scalpers’ prices are usually much higher than the ones listed, add another sizable amount those totals.

We haven’t finalized our concert plans yet, so if anyone is interested in joining us, please contact me ASAP and perhaps we can ride up to the show together.

I’ll pay for the gas this time.

Keith Barnes is a reporter for the Johnstonain News. Email him at kbarnes.jhn@wilsontimes.com.

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