The Rolling Stones in Minneapolis

nosecuritytongueFifteen years ago today Brizzad, Heppler, my dad, and I piled into my family’s Ford Taurus wagon and drove to Minneapolis to see the Rolling Stones. In a life filled with questionable road trip decisions this one reigns supreme for any numbers of reasons–driving to Minneapolis and back within thirty-six hours in the dead of winter, for instance, or for the fact that when tickets went on sale the only ones we could afford were four rows from the rafters. The show itself was a mixed bag. I still maintain that Jonny Lang upstaged the Stones that night with his opening set (original openers Green Day had pulled out, much to mine and Heppler’s chagrin). Besides, at this point I was still a Stones novice; if I saw a setlist like this now my head would explode, but in 1999 I was mostly puzzled by “Satisfaction”‘s exclusion. Ultimately, I left Target Center disappointed. At the time I was grateful I’d gotten to see the Stones; it wouldn’t be till my third Stones concert six years later that I’d really felt as though I’d seen the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Flash (still the best concert opener I’ve seen–thanks largely to this video, which I just found on YouTube and which I hadn’t seen since that night in Minneapolis! From our seats we could actually see the band emerging from backstage; then the lights were on and Keith was walking out with his guitar and playing the opening riff to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and…yeah. Only “Even Better Than The Real Thing” on the 360° Tour comes close.)
  • Live With Me
  • Respectable
  • You Got Me Rocking
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Moonlight Mile
  • Sweet Virginia
  • Some Girls
  • Paint It Black
  • Before They Make Me Run (Keith Richards on vocals)
  • Thief in the Night (Keith Richards on vocals)
  • Out of Control
  • Route 66 [Nat King Cole] (b-stage) (the first Stones song I ever heard)
  • Just My Imagination [The Temptations] (b-stage) (again, this setlist would’ve made my head explode today. Four songs from Some Girls? The trio of “Moonlight Mile, “Sweet Virginia, and “Some Girls”? Not even the partial run through Let It Bleed in Toronto three years later compared.)
  • Midnight Rambler (b-stage) (the b-stage was so far away from us that it might as well have been in a different venue–to my eternal regret, because look at what they played! That’s still my only “Midnight Rambler.”)
  • Tumbling Dice
  • It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
  • Start Me Up
  • Brown Sugar

Encore:

  • Sympathy for the Devil

The next day I heard “Footsteps” and “Yellow Ledbetter” for the first time, then narrowly avoided sending us tumbling into a ditch outside Grand Marais. We made it back to Thunder Bay just in time for Brizzad and me to play with the Westgate Band in the Lakehead Music Festival. I played a solo and we won our category.

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