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Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang Tour Now Biggest Bucks Tour

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I saw a jaded, drug damaged, and erratic Rolling Stones play several spotty shows in the later '70s. If I had been told the Stones would be the most dynamic, dependable, and lucrative live act in the biz 30 years hence, my incredulity would have been seismic. Even the notion that certain band members (cough, cough – Keith) would still be alive, let alone feisty, festive, and highly functional, would have seemed the longest of odds.

And yet, here we are deeply into the first decade of the 21st century and the Stones — sans the retired Bill Wyman — are still alive, kicking, and generating half a billion dollars or more on a wildly successful tour likely to stretch across three calendar years.

The rejuvenated sexagenarian rockers have not shown much of their age, either, other than some vocal stress for Mick Jagger, a little alcohol rehab for guitarist Ronnie Wood, and of course Keith Richards' date with a tree in Fiji this spring necessitating some minor brain tweaking via craniotomy.

"Definitely there was drama and hurdles, but at the end of the day, if you tour long enough, everything's gonna happen, isn't it?" tour producer Michael Cohl told Billboard.com. "We had to reschedule a couple here and there, but other than the ones in early summer in Europe, which we couldn't make up, we played everything. And they were great."

rolling_stones_the_02l The Stones epic A Bigger Bang journey is now the top-grossing tour in history, currently sitting at the $437 million mark, luring over 3.5 million fans to 113 shows dating back to the fall of '05. Not included in those tallies are the estimated two million who saw the band perform one concert at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro in February.

With makeup dates for the canceled European shows possible into '07, the $500 million mark seems assured. "I don't think we're done," Cohl said. "There are still a lot of cancellations in Europe that the band the band feel obligated to try and make up. So I wouldn't be surprised if it keeps going next year."

After playing to massive throngs at stadiums throughout the tour, the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band stripped away the bloat for some special performances at New York's Beacon Theater earlier this month, which were filmed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, whose filmic relationship with music stretches back through his recent Dylan documentary, to his '04 blues series on PBS, back to his classic '78 doc of The Band's final concert, The Last Waltz.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Maybe this will shut up all the lazy writers who raise the issue of their age as a negative the next time they tour, but then I keep waiting for people to stop talking about France liking Jerry Lewis, so I’m not holding my breath.

    Scorsese’s doc sounds interesting. I hope it’s more than just concert footage. His relationship with music goes back even farther as he was also one of the editors on “Woodstock”.

  • http://blog.myspace.com/tinkie101 tink

    Proves the point that “Age and experience will best youth and arrogance” every time.

  • Eric Olsen

    wow, didn’t know that about Woodstock, thanks El Bicho!

  • Mark Saleski

    lazy writers will never shut up about the Stones. hey, they haven’t made a good record since Brian Jones, remember? ;-)

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

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  • Eric Olsen

    thanks! I think Bigger Bang is their best is quite a while, Mark, they seem comfortably edgy (or something)

  • Mark Saleski

    yea eo, that’s what i thought too. pretty good not only for some old coots but for a rock band in general.

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    Agree that the last album was pretty decent. I found myself unwilling to fork over the extreme amounts of cash they wanted for tickets, though.

  • Mark Saleski

    i agree that the tickets expensive, though i went to a show just because i’d never had a chance to see them. the show was pretty great, not Springsteen great (that’s crazy talk), but still a lot of fun.
    (it didn’t hurt that we got that cool seat upgrade,i’ll admit)

  • Eric Olsen

    after just plain assuming they were too old and irrelevant to be worth seeing anymore, I was stunned how impressive their show was when I saw it on HBO live a few years ago. The last time I saw them “live” live was the Steel Wheels tour in ’89, which was really great also – there really seemed to be a lot at stake for them by then.

  • Vern Halen

    Ach – I’m catching up – just got a copy of Bridges to Babylon last week – yeah, that one was good, too.

    Or is it just everything else out there is getting so bad?

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

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