The press conference with the tour announcement had been talked about all summer. You read about it in IORR 28 out in May. Rumours were peaking, but no announcement were due. The hard core Stones fans were about to go crazy! Birthday parties, autumn holidays, travel plans, everything was more or less on hold while waiting for the tour details. Crazy days!
For the 1989/90 tour, the press announcement was done on July 11, at the Grand Central Station in New York City. The tour started six weeks later, on Aug. 31 in Philadelphia. Five years later, for the 1994/95 tour, the announcement was done on May 3, at Pier 60, again New York City. The tour started 3 months later on Aug. 1 in Washington, D.C. No wonder people were going mad, as May, June and July passed by with no news about the Stones tour!
But rumours had been going hot. The compiled list of "rumoured" tour dates, as mailed out with IORR 28, and as updated all summer via internet, and mailed out as a special mailing to you all in early August, told you most of the facts.
On August 11 it was official - the press conference were set for August 18, in New York, under the Brooklyn Bridge. Press people from all over the world were arriving to New York, while the fans all over the world were stand by on the TV sets and on their internet-based computer screens. The press conference were to be shown live on both internet and TV.
The day before in New York had been tropical hot, but Monday morning started of with some terrible rain, not suited for such great happenings as the Rolling Stones press conference. But by 11 am, the rain had gone, and the sun were on!
The Rolling Stones had picked a nice spot under the Brooklyn Bridge, on the Brooklyn side, for the press conference. The sky was blue, and the bridge, the water and the Manhattan skyline was making up a framing of the event that was perfect. The press site was packed with some 300 photographers, camera people and journalists. A large video screen were to the right of the small stage reserved for the Stones. It was 1 pm, and the Stones were supposed to be on at 1:10 pm.
A huge banner was covering a large part of the bridge, with the Bridges to Babylon lion (see photo in this magazine). That banner was removed before the press conference were on.
Then, in pure O..J. Simpson car chase style, the video screen was picking up a car on the Brooklyn Bridge. A helicopter was shooting close-ups, and in the car, a 1955 red Cadillac convertible, was the driver Mick Jagger, driving smoothly as a school boy on his first lesson. The bridge was empty at the moment. The Cadillac was escorted by police.
Sitting next to Mick was his band mate Keith Richards, smiling, throwing out his cigarette, waving. In the back seat, Charlie Watts, seemed to enjoy the moment, as well as Ronnie Wood, tossing out CD records. It was 1:20 pm, and the press was ready. Mr. Jim Callaghan, the security chief of the Rolling Stones, firing his magic words, "open the gate", and camera operators are all in position. The Rolling Stones are soon on.
The PA is starting to play the new Rolling Stones singe "Anybody Seen My Baby". A great track, and a great melody, clear mix, sharp guitars, and I just cant wait to see the Stones arriving!
The red Cadillac is arriving from an entrance to the left, and just as I am sitting there, the car drives up to my feet, I mean, I was "lucky" to grab a 1st row seat at the press conference, but never in my life I had been dreaming about Mick Jagger parking his car about 5 feet away from me! The boys are leaving the car, and moves on to the small stage put up for questions and interviews.
Mick is handsomely dressed as usual, turquoise jacket. Charlie is dressed up in blue suit and tie as usual. Keith with his scull scarf, and Ronnie with his jeans outfit. All seems to be happy, really eager to get on with it. Charlie is the only one not having a microphone.
After having finished a quick initial photo session, Ronnie, Charlie and Keith moves on to the stage, while Mick says:
"Ive always wanted to do this...". And then he walks into the crowd of the journalists, and ask this everlasting question: "Is this gonna be your last tour?" Laughing - enjoying the moment. Keith replies: "Yes, this and the next five!".
Then Mick is joining the rest of the Stones. They are taking questions. The photographers are shooting film like crazy. One question was: "Did you ask Bill Wyman to play on this tour?" Mick replies "Bill is busy, he has got his own young family now." But Darryl Jones will be on bass for the tour.
Then there is a question if this tour will be different from the Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge tours. Mick replies they will do new songs, try out new stuff, and they will play mostly huge stadiums, but also some theatres and some clubs.
When asked about the smaller venues, Keith replies they need to do those, to touch base, and to really know what they are doing, to get to the core of their music.
How about your new baby, Mick is asked. Mick is replying: "The tour was booked before the baby was booked!" Then he laughs! "Yeah, Ill be there...".
Then the Stones are leaving, and each of the other major players have their own sesson. The Sprint Manager is talking about why they sponsor the tour. Then Virgin is telling that the album wasnt cut until this very day, i.e. Aug. 18, and that the release date would be Sept. 30. There will be 3 - yes three - Keith tracks on the album! The tour organizer Michael Cohl from TNA finished off with telling about the tour and the dates.
Then they play some tracks off the album. They play the single Anybody Seen My Baby. I am stuck, cant move, cant think, just listen. That track is a true winner. May be better than Memory Motel. At least in the same league, just a bit more beat to it. Then they play Already Over Me, another great ballad. The 3rd track they play is Flip The Switch, a fast rock track. Hey, how can I do press coverage and listen to this great music at the same time? Please, what am I to do? Then 5 - 10 minutes later, the music is over, and I can think and work...
This album is all the best of the 70s, coupled with all the new sounds and ideas of the 90s. So rough, still so clear. So modern, still the Stones. The guitars are as Stones and as "Keith" as ever. The bass as solid as ever before, and the drums as steady, simple and clear as only Charlie can do them. This is the Rolling Stones of the late 90s. You will love it. I cant wait until Sept. 30, and I cant wait until Chicago Sept. 23...
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 29 - Sept. 1997 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe