I got them moves like Jagger!
Attending a concert by yourself is an exciting experience, nobody knows who you are and nobody has a preconceived idea of what you might be outside of the concert.
Following the advice I was given from my Dad I drove into the city and found a cheap park near the University of South Australia Western Campus. I walked to the Adelaide Oval because with an expected 55 thousand people attending this concert, I knew it would be crowded and I would not be able to find a close park near the oval.
It was a beautiful perfect day in Adelaide and on my walk across the bridge I met a lovely man who had travelled from Portugal to see The Rolling Stones here, I always find it fascinating how music compels people to travel and experience a new world, a new culture and a new side to themselves. It is so brave and a little crazy, it’s inspiring. He was short with dark skin and hair and bright blue eyes, eyes that were fascinated with every little thing he saw in Adelaide.
He was in the General Admission and I was in the Bronze seating at the back of the stadium, most of the concert was seating yet people still arrived very early to line up and get there first.
There were people sitting out on the grass, drinking water and wearing Rolling Stones attire ready for the show. I wondered how many actually had tickets to attend and how many were just going to sit out by the river and listen to the music for free.
There were young and old, a mixture of different age groups all together, some people were in groups, families and others were coupled up while others looked like they were alone like I was.
Except I wasn’t alone, this Portuguese man was with me now and we were walking to the merchandise stand. There were t-shirts with the bands symbol printed proudly on it, wrist bands, stubby holders and posters all in different styles to suit men and women and even children. It was expensive; at least fifty dollars for a simple t-shirt but still people lined up and happily gave away their crisp yellow coloured notes to the people behind the stand in exchange for the merchandise they would wear proudly to the concert.
The Portuguese man told me how Keith Richards had inspired him to pick up the guitar and how important being a musician was for him. After a while we parted ways, he had to line up in the General Admission to be let in and I made my way to my seat at the back of the stadium. I never found out his name, people don’t exchange names when they start talking about something they are passionate about, it’s only when you are half way through the conversation, spilling your hopes and dreams to a complete stranger that you realise you don’t even know this person’s name, maybe that conversation is easier with a complete stranger though.
I walked through the sleek glass doors of the stadium with the hordes of people, signs and security guards littered the hallway, quickly scanning tickets on the way past like cattle call and pushing people forward to get them into the stadium quickly. I followed the signs hanging from the ceiling, silver with black bold letters printed upon its sleek surface.
Up the escalators I climbed, jammed in with other people, looking down at my ticket and following the crowd that looked like they knew where they were going but they were probably just as lost as I was.
The sun was beating down on the seats, making them hot to sit on. As people began to arrive I took notice of the age difference, most were older and it occurred to me that this was why majority of the concert was seated. The Rolling Stones were catering for their fan base, they knew that there wouldn’t be many younger people here and so had made majority of the show seated. Especially for the people who paid a thousand dollars to be at the front of the stage.
It was 6:40pm and I could smell food in the air, people were eating hot chips, hot dogs and nachos in a little cardboard plate. Some had alcohol in their hands, the men with a full cup of beer and big bellies in their older age from an unhealthy lifestyle. The women had wine in their hand, in tiny plastic cups that looked so thin and delicate it could snap in their hands.
My stomach groaned and I made my way to the kiosk stand to buy some food.
“Hello, what can I get for you?” the bright green eyed girl smiled at me with enthusiasm.
“Nachos,” I replied smiling back at her.
They were seven dollars, that’s not a bad price but I could imagine how much people would complain about the prices.
“Are you excited for the show tonight?” I asked her, trying to make conversation.
“Yes! I don’t know much of their music, but my Dad does,” she explained, she looked happy that I was asking her about her evening.
“Same with me, but I know a couple of their hits.”
She nodded in agreement and explained how she was happy to be working because she was getting paid to be at a sold out concert that she might not have experienced.
People gathered behind me, waiting to be served after me and I stepped aside waiting for my Nachos to be made. But to my surprise they went to the other register and the bright green eyed girl continued her conversation with me about how Mike Jagger had requested that all the fridge lights be blacked out with cardboard so it didn’t shine out.
When I got my Nachos she went ahead and put extra sour cream, avocado and cheese on it. I thanked her and told her to have a good night.
Making my way back to my seat, I noticed that more people were starting to arrive now and fill out the empty seats; my row was still completely empty.
Jimmy Barnes was the opening act at 7:30pm and people were still arriving at the venue, obviously not interested in seeing him perform. Which I find fascinating because to spend all this money on a ticket, especially at the front of the stage where people pay up to $1500 for a seat and then they arrive only for main event.
My mind wandered with this thought as people began to fill out the stadium in the last remaining sunshine of the day.
Jimmy Barnes put on an amazing performance as the sun cast its orange glow over the stadium. There were at least 20 thousand people in the audience cheering him on and singing along to some of his hits like “Working Class Man” and “The Last Train out of Sydney.” Australian classics that I remember from my childhood and made me have a sense of nostalgia for all those times cruising in the Ute moving sheep from paddock to paddock with my Dad.
The energy of the crowd was fierce with the anticipation of The Rolling Stones playing on stage.
I could feel the excitement and the voice of 55 thousand people roaring through the stadium as the sun set and Jimmy Barnes ended his set list.
The seats were filling out and finally I had to move to let other people into my row of seats. A man sat next to me with his friend as I overheard their conversation about what to drink while they watch the show, I learned that he was his brother who had travelled from Perth to see this concert. The stadium buzzed with activity. A couple in front of me were taking photos of themselves and eventually when the woman was satisfied with the result she uploaded it to Facebook, well at least she tried too, with all the activity in the stadium nobodies phones were working and I smirked as people started to get annoyed at their little pieces of technology.
I could see some people on the phone, standing up and waving to the people down below, hoping to see their friend who had purchased a different ticket to them but failing because there were a hundred other people doing the exact same thing.
The lights turned off and the crowd cheered and screamed as the music began. The lighting show and visuals as the instrumental played was incredible, showing pictures of Earth, space, and The Rolling Stones at a younger age, their fans, it was a love letter, a time capsule of moments.
From where I was sitting I could see thousands of tiny blue screens as people watched the show through their small phone screens trying too hard to capture the moment, a time capsule for themselves that they would probably never watch back again because the sound would be distorted.
The fireworks hissed into the night sky as the Stones walked on stage and opened with a bang. Like a Rolling Stone the music thundered through the stadium but people were calm.
As I watched the scene around me, I noticed people were sitting politely with huge smiles on their faces, some had drank a little so were dancing in their seats, but this was a rock and roll show of class. The audience was older and the man I was sitting next to was in his fifties drinking with his brother. Their drinks spilling over each other and the ground and me as they sang the songs I barely knew as loudly as they could.
The show went for two hours and I recognised a few of the hit songs they played but I realised that this was a band before my time and most of their songs were not my generation’s soundscape.
Leaving the stadium was like shuffling into an elevator that was overcrowded but people kept pushing in.
A group of drunk men in their fifties were singing loudly at the top of their lungs “I can’t get no! Satisfaction” they chanted together.
As I shuffled out of the stadium with thousands of people I took the stairs, respecting the elderly who would use the elevators and my fear of being cramped into such a small space.
As I walked outside the chanting continued and people were sitting in blankets on the grass, they had snacks with them, listening to the concert outside of the stadium. There was nobody my age, nobody even close to my age. I thought back to the kids t-shirts I had seen at the merchandise stand at the start of the night, I remember seeing a couple of kids with their families but now they were nowhere in sight.
It was a crowd of fifty and over and I felt completely out of place. I walked back to my car in the city and the horde of people began to thin out as I decided to walk through the park instead of the bridge and take the long way home.