About this time two years ago, the Stones announced that their Zip Code tour would be rolling through the Capitol City and that they would be playing at the holy shrine of collegiate American-style football, the Olde Horseshoe on the muddy banks of the Olentangy.  Well, I was interested in going, but the ticket prices were pretty steep, and I had half a mind to do what I did back in ’97 when the Stones came through town and sit on a hill outside the stadium and listen (Saylor Moon joined me that night).  It is an open air stadium, after all.  But then myyoungestniecia texted me because she wanted to buy a ticket to the concert for ma soeur for Mommy’s Day.  And since ma soeur was going, I decided to go too.  But then I thought I should get a ticket for mi madre too, as she is a huge Stones fan.  And then mon frere decided to tag along as well, so I became a family affair (and actually the same group that took me to Dylan, Petty, and the Dead back when I was a wee lad).

So the day of the concert was also my last day as a Cowboy, as I had recently been promoted, and we were gradiating the most recent class of cowboys and cowgirls.  And the Math Professor was retiring, and I wanted to put in an appearance at his farewell party.  Also, there was a minor monsoon hovering over the Capitol City, and it was threatening to put a damper on the evening’s festivities.  So I wound up running pretty late, and I was worried I would miss the rendezvous with my family, which was pretty important, since I had everybody’s ticket.  But it didn’t matter because my family was running late too, and when they finally arrived, I laughed to see the mon frere had duct taped ma soeur’s front bumper on after it had fallen off at a gas station in Medina.  So typical of my family!  Well, the monsoon was still raging and no-one really wanted to see Kid Rock perform as the opening act, so we hung out and had a few adult beverages before the show.  Then, miraculously, the clouds parted and the rain stopped just as we left for the ‘Shoe.

I had a tip from a friend that the parking lot by the Schottenstein Center would be free and mostly empty (a good combination), but it is quite a hike from there to the stadium.  And mi madre was in a wheelchair, but we all took turns pushing and we got there just before the Stones took the stage.  Now I had shelled out the big bucks for mi madre, ma soeur, and myself, but mon frere had opted for the cheapest ticket possible.  However, mi madre had a special ticket in the wheelchair section, and mon frere pushed her in like he belonged there and noone ever said anything to him.  So actually, he was the closest to the stage and he paid the least!  In retrospect, I gotta admit I wish I had thought of that.  Ingenious!  The concert itself was excellent.  A huge stage, three large video screens, and plenty of pyro-technics.  But all of that was just window dressing, because the band actually sounded great.  Kieth Richards actually sort of stole the show from Jagger…every strum on his guitar seemed to cut through the evening air and he had a huge smile like he was having more fun than anyone in the world.  Jagger was good too though, dancing like he was thirty years younger and generally being the archetypical leading man.  They played pretty much everything I wanted to hear, including “Sympathy for the Devil” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, the latter of which featured the choir from the other university named after the state of Ohio.  My only complaint was they didn’t play “Dead Flowers”…it was one of four potential songs in a pre-concert online vote and it lost out, not-surprisingly, to “Paint It, Black”.  Oh, and did I mention they had a Scarlet and Gray version of the famous mouth logo!  It was practically the perfect evening.

As for this album, meh.  I hate to say it, but I don’t really dig early Stones.  This is from the 60s, before they had their epic run in the 70s.  As such, it doesn’t really have that bad boy rock and roll identy of later Stones albums.  There’s some blues (“Dontcha Bother Me”), some county (“High and Dry”), some psychedelica (“Paint It, Black”), and weirdly even a little baroque (“Lady Jane”).  It’s a hodgepodge, but it just doesn’t gel.  I bought it for $11.88 off of Amazon Prime.  It’s the American version…the British version has a vastly different track list and order, adding four songs but deleting “Paint It, Black”, about the only song I really dig on the album.  Overall, it’s not bad, it’s just not great either.

Other lists: “Paint It, Black” and its oddly placed comma rank at #176 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Ch-ch-changes:  The ripple effect of Kid A has dropped this album one spot from its original spot at #108.

My favourite track: “Paint It, Black”

Honourable mention: “Under My Thumb”

Quote: “It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black.”