dear mick and keith
Dear Mick, Keith, Charlie and Woody:
You know, I was kind of proud of you on the last tour, you didn’t release a new album of crappy half-baked songs that we would all pretend that we liked oh so much in order to seem relevant, you just toured. It was easy for me to ignore the gonzo ticket prices because we found a way to beat the system by buying fan club memberships and going to the small theater shows, which were of course the cheapest (so Michael Kohl can say to the media, “We are fairly priced, we have tickets priced from $45 to $350.”) Even with splitting the cost of a fan club membership (we just pretended it was like a Ticketmaster ‘convenience charge’) it was still cheaper and we were still closer than we would be at the Tacoma Dome or FedEx Field. Sure, we had to spend all day sitting on the sidewalk on a cardboard box like a homeless person, but as Laura’s husband Joel put it, “This is the price you pay to see the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”
I have to say, though, you could still bring it. That show at the Wiltern made me feel like I could never see any concert by any other band ever again. Teresa and I got interviewed by the RS.com camera crew while sitting on our cardboard boxes, and I said that I wanted to be at one of these shows so I could feel like the girl on Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out who’s yelling “Paint it black, you devils!” And to give you credit, I honestly did feel that way that night.
Somehow I convinced myself that I was going to see you on this tour. Mostly it was wanting to go with the boyfriend, who wants to see the Stones through my eyes and me wanting to show him how you look to me, how you have always looked to me. I am the girl with the Keef bracelet and the skull ring. He has seen them of course but not the way I have. We dreamed of going to Memphis or maybe using a fan club membership for a small club show or even just an arena show.
But not for $450.00. Even if I was still working at the Evil Empire, even if the tables at Mohegan Sun were kind to us, there is no.way.in.hell I would pay $450.00 to see you, or anyone else just for any old show at the Wachovia (or whatever-they-are-calling-it-now) Center, and I do not sit in the rafters, especially not for $150. And even more especially not when the stockbroker with the comb-over is in the front row eating a soft pretzel during Keith’s solo set, and is only there so he can try to claim that he’s still hip and cool and assuage his panic that he might be turning into his parents. No.Fucking.Way.
Foolishly, with some kind of spirit and hope that I am amazed still exists, I downloaded all three new songs from iTunes last week. The samples sounded decent; maybe there was life still left in there. Maybe the magic could happen. Maybe there are some old songs that will sound really good now – I mean, Bruce just did that and boy is he rocking now.
OH MY FUCKING GOD, THESE SONGS SUCK. IF THEY WERE NOT WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY THE ROLLING STONES I WOULD NOT GIVE THEM THE TIME OF DAY, LET ALONE PAID ANY MONEY FOR THEM WHATSOEVER. I WOULD HAVE DOWNLOADED THEM FROM SOMEWHERE AND THEN DELETED THEM AS A WASTE OF PRECIOUS SPACE ON MY HARD DRIVE. 15 YEARS AGO I WOULD HAVE BEEN AFFRONTED, ANGRY, INFURIATED AND PISSED OFF THAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS.
Guess what, I still am.
“Back Of My Hand” is a reasonable, authentic blues for about 30 seconds, and this is what this band can do WELL, let’s remember. Instrumentally this still isn’t as bad as it could be but Jagger doesn’t fucking mean it. I know, I know, I know, I’m a fucking moron for believing for 1 millisecond that he still might somewhere.
“Rough Justice” sounds reasonably contemporary, but there are several dozen Ryan Adams outtakes that are better Rolling Stones songs than this, which is straight ahead formulaic 90s era Rolling Stones. There’s a guitar-ringing chorus that Mick can use to go to the edge of the stage and get some crowd participation because it will be new yet sound familiar and everyone on every Stones board from Undercover to Shidoobee is going to wax rhapsodic about how this is the second coming of the new Stones and anyone who says otherwise is a traitor to the cause. It is probably the least contemptible of the three and I’ll probably keep it on the iPod.
“Streets of Love” is just abominable. It’s the formulaic 90s era Rolling Stones ballad, that’s it, period. The boyfriend said “This isn’t half bad,” and I replied: “If this was ANYONE but the Stones would you care?”
I hate these plodding vaguely melodic platforms that are excuses for Jagger to Emote and “Streets of Love” is no difference. Slow start, dramatic chorus that will be a cause for arm waving and lighters, Chuck Leavell is probably falling all over himself for his role in this song.
I have no one, repeat, no one, to blame for this but myself. I need to break up with the Stones, I need to remember things like the b-stage in 97 and 98 and the Wiltern and stop getting so fucking emotionally invested. I want the band to stop wasting their time so Keith can do another solo record, but that begs the question of whether or not that will ever happen again. I once wrote a long, impassioned defense of the Stones about 10 years ago where I asserted that Keith would play forever (and that we would all be there no matter what he was doing) and now I’m not so sure. He’s still alive and he’s healthy considering I guess but I don’t know if that “I’ll stab Jagger if he dares put out a solo album instead of touring with the Stones” fire is anywhere to be found. God knows on some level I still worship the man and that will never leave me but it is not relevant and it is not the present or the future.
So this is why I am not going to buy the record and we are not going to see you (although we did try for one of those ‘on the stage’ seats – what, were there two $75 seats for the entire tour?) and I am going to refund the fan club membership because what I want to find and what I am looking for is not there, and for that $100 I could go see a lot of other bands and buy a lot of other music. Don’t take it personally, I’m going to tell Roger and Pete the same thing when they try to come back with “The Who” next year too.
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