December 13, 2012...
Something incredible occurred in Newark, New Jersey. Believe me, nothing incredible occurs in Newark, New Jersey. Incredibly scary, yes. Incredibly close yet incredibly far from New york City, you bet. OK, I'll finish ripping on the poor city.
But, the miraculous, the fabulous, the infamous Rolling Stones descended upon 'ole Newark and forever changed it. Well, in my mind, anyway.
Please allow me to introduce myself,
I'm a man of wealth and taste.
I've been around for a long, long year,l
Stole many a man's soul and faith.
-"Sympathy for the Devil"
They had no warm-up band, as if they needed one. No one was shelling out $750+ for tickets to see a warm-up band. Yes, SEVEN. HUNDRED. AND. FIFTY. DOLLARS. FOR NOSEBLEED SEATS. Do you know what you can do with that kind of money?!
Only a band, such a legendary, influential, timeless, rock'nroll band, like The Stones could have convinced even a nosebleed section to joyously hand over almost one thousand dollars for about two hours (give or take). This expensive ticket, though, entitled the audience to an experience unlike any other in which the pulsating pulsating pulsating sounds and the glowing glowing glowing sights of their favorite band flooded their ears and eyes.
The feeling there, in New Jersey, was simply...just alive. The connection was palpable, easily seen and felt. The people in this crowd were tied, bound even, to this music. The lyrics. This band. It was unlike anything I've ever seen. We all existed in this bubble, a coliseum, together, unaware of time or space or anything that could have separated or differentiated any of us.
[Confession: My only grievance--The fact that "Beast of Burden" seemed to have been deliberately left off of their setlist. Like, really? Really? But, my other favorites, "Miss You," "Under my Thumb," "Sympathy for the Devil," and "Honky Tonk Women" were of course performed and performed just as I'd imagined. I guess a girl can't always get what she waaaaaants. I'm corny. I get it. ]
It all acted as an extension of them. Granted, this music expressed so many emotions that had previously been dismissed, frowned upon, and as a result, suppressed by so many, predominantly the youth. Especially during the social, political, and personal unrest of so many during the 60s and 70s. Art, particularly music, became the ultimate form of expression and even rebellion. A mouthpiece.
The Rolling Stones made no excuses. They never have. They are just who they are and let their work, words, guitar riffs represent their people. So, yes, I, being one of the youngest members in the crowd--The absurdly high ticket prices served as one reason why many people in my age bracket were unable to go, unfortunately--danced and sang along with many of those who had been following The Stones since they were teenagers. These people were in love with this fantastic display of sensory overload.
Their music transcends time. Their message transcends age gaps, racial barriers, and cultural differences. Here's to your 50th, Stones. I look forward to the next 50 years, in fact.
The music-as ridiculously sentimental as this might sound-brought a crowd of thirty thousand people together that night. I literally fist-bumped, high-fived, wiggled, screamed and shimmied with concertgoers all around me, exchanging only but a few words except for the lyrics, which we were all belting. Me, not well. Not well at all.
I will never forget this. I will never forget those moments and how I FELT. I FELT.
That is what we NEVER forget...
NEVER forget these moments in time when we feel so alive we could burst into a million glorious pieces.
"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road