Rock of Ages

As the Rolling Stones release a new album today, fans remember the last time they played in Baltimore, three decades ago, and anticipate their return next year.

September 06, 2005|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

Hello Bal-tee-more, hello Bal-tee-more," says the 26-year-old lead singer for the Rolling Stones.

"You know," Mick Jagger continues, "it's getting very boring, because I'm the only one trying to dance."

Judging from Honey Book's bootleg recording of the Stones' 1969 concert, the crowd of 13,000 at the Baltimore Civic Center responded to Mr. Jagger's scolding. Of course, it's hard to accurately measure crowd response from a tape recorder smuggled under a T-shirt or elsewhere on the body of a concertgoer.

"A friend was supposed to tape it for us, but he got busted. So another friend did it," says Book, of Owings Mills. She and her husband, Jon Book, were outside the Hard Rock Cafe at the Inner Harbor to hear their son's band, Voodoo Blue, play an evening set last week. She held the Stones bootleg in her hand. The body language was clear.

"I don't have a ticket for their show," she said, "but let's work something out."

Right. As if we are rolling in Stones tickets for their return Baltimore engagement next year. Those bad-boy tickets sold out in something like two hours. But we hear you can get a good bargain on eBay - $900 for two tickets . Resigned to the facts of modern concert life, Hook granted us temporary use of her bootleg, since transferred onto CD.

It's certainly no Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out or the even better live Stones record, Stripped, but fidelity isn't the point. A bootleg is a permanent record of a concert and of concertgoers, in this case, then teen-aged and now middle-aged. They remember - with passion and fogginess - the late 1960s, when the Rolling Stones played Baltimore, tickets were around five bucks and the piracy police weren't out in force.

"Right now, we're going to do one now for you called, `Live with Me.' Would you like to live with ME?" Jagger asks the crowd in 1969.

"YEAH!" they erupt.

"But would we live with you?" Jagger says, under his hot breath.

Vintage Jagger.

The current Stones have a new record out today, A Bigger Bang. They are scheduled to perform at the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, but four days earlier they return to Baltimore after a 36-year absence to play the same venue, now called 1st Mariner Arena.

The people in this story saw the Stones when they played Baltimore three times in the `60s. They went, they danced, they came home, they grew up.

"Where the hell," goes one song Book's son, Dan, performs, "is rock 'n' roll?"

Here, Dan, it's here in your band - and in your mom's bootleg and in these stories:

I remember being in my pajamas and curlers in my hair getting ready for bed and the doorbell rang. At the time, my brother had been drafted. At the door were my brother's two friends. They asked my mother if I could go with them.

So wrote Carol Moses, responding to our request for Stones memories. She was 16 and used her brother's ticket.

All I remember is running upstairs and tearing out my curlers and changing my clothes in record time.

"That was my second concert. My first was the Monkees," says Moses, 51, of Hanover, Pa. "It was two totally different crowds - totally. Lot of drugs going on, which you didn't see at the Monkees' show."

But unless two boys ring her doorbell again come February, she's not planning to see the Stones this time. "I can't afford them now. It's ridiculous."

"You know the Rolling Stones, they were the biggies! And we were the hippies of Baltimore," says Joann Redelius, 53, of Baltimore.

I was the 15-year-old girl trying to jump on stage. Just to hug Keith Richards. Ah the joys of youth. My boyfriend actually walked across the stage to shake hands with Mick Jagger! Unfortunately he didn't see the rest of the show. He was thrown out.

That boy became my husband.

Bob West of Ellicott City was 15 was he saw the Stones in Baltimore in 1965. Tickets were $4.50, but the harder sell was persuading his parents to let him go.

Eventually they relented.

At the height of rock's British Invasion, the American teenager was headed to his first concert.

I can remember the electric atmosphere in the Civic Center and a great, although, very brief by today's standards, show by the Stones which I believe ended with "Satisfaction" - of course, no encore.

Certainly it was a high point of our youth.

Any respectable Stones' fan remembers founding member Brian Jones, who died just four months before the Stones' '69 show here. But in 1966, Edward Lambdin of Ruxton saw Jones, Mick and the other boys.

Brian Jones had a bright yellow paisley blazer on. He was actually more charismatic than Mick.

Lambdin, a 53-year-old wedding hall owner, was 15 when he and his buds from Dundalk High School took the bus from the Carlton Movie Theater stop on Dundalk Avenue to Baltimore's Civic Center.

I remember the half-full civic center, and Mick egging the fans to rush the stage. He sat on the edge and motioned for them to rush it. I was definitely in awe of the whole experience.

"Green smoke went off," Wayne Rosenbaum says. "I'm pretty sure there was tear gas to clear the front of the stage at the end of the concert."

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