Rolling back the years

Richard Nevin watches the Rolling Stones hit Coventry.

I had stubbornly refused to pay the inflated prices to see the Stones for many years until my sister did all the donkey work earlier this year, leaving me with the simple task of giving her the money. I couldn’t say no. So off we trotted to Coventry on a sunny Saturday, me to see Keith, her to wave at Mick like a lovesick teenager.

(What’s left of) The Specials were a more than suitable warm up. Supping beer and skanking around to Monkey Man is always a fine way to spend an early evening in early summer, Steve Craddock, regular gun for hire these days, joining me and more than a few others as Brummies in a strange land. He cut a sharp suited figure among the “Who he?”s gathered around Hall, Golding and Sir Horace.

Despite all the stadium trappings, the Rolling Stones have regressed somewhat and become rather more laid back of late, adjusting the schedule to suit their advancing years and obviously enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere. This is certainly welcome for me, I was too young to see them during the 70’s and while those years are far behind them the echoes of that era remain, particularly during Keith’s solo section and the always magnificent Midnight Rambler. Having witnessed many a band going through the motions it was heartening to see the years of bitterness and rancour laid to one side in an evening of smiling glasnost.

You get the hits and classics of course but I spent the preceding week praying for Dead Flowers and they duly obliged, Mick describing it as “Country and Western”. I mean who’s Mick Jagger anyway? We sang Happy Birthday to Charlie, wondered at Ronnie’s axework and complained when the beer ran out. Modern technology meant that the screens were pin sharp but we were near enough not to need them and the sound was pretty good for an echoey hole like the Ricoh.

Talking of the Ricoh, the only negative was the venue itself, or rather the security and organisation. Despite previous visits where everything ran smoothly and was very well organised, Saturday was a shambles.

According to some locals, Rugby Union franchise outfit Wasps are now managing the stadium and it would appear that despite protestations to the contrary, a bunch of solicitors and policemen don’t actually know everything. Bloody egg chasers, why can’t they stick to voting Tory and drinking each other’s vomit?

That aside, it was a great day and I’ve finally ticked off the last of the legends that I want, and am able, to see live.