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On Friday, December 12th, 1997, I had the rare opportunity to meet the Rolling Stones. The ‘Bridges to Babylon’ tour came through St. Louis and they played a sold out show at the Trans World Dome, now the Edward Jones Dome.
I had mentioned in passing to my boss, Rick Balis, VP, Director of Rock Programming for Emmis Communications, that I was going to the show and would do anything to meet them. I knew there was no chance that I would get a backstage pass and I had completely forgotten I had even brought this up to him. On the day of the show, he surprised me with the news.
We went to the show that evening and I separated from my group to go do the meet and greet. It was a cold December night and we waited in line to be escorted backstage where we would meet the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world. Although we probably only waited about 30 minutes for them to make their appearance, it seemed like a lifetime to me. Shortly thereafter a representative of the band walked in with instructions for the meet and greet.
We were told that Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie would all be coming out to meet everyone. This in itself was special, as many bands will only send a couple members to do meet and greets. So to meet all four members of the Rolling Stones was completely insane. He told us that they would come out, shake hands and talk with everyone for a few minutes. They would then take two photos and we were separated into two groups of 10 people each … I was in group 2. We were also informed they would not sign any autographs under any exceptions. I later learned that they had stopped this practice as autographs were landing on ebay and being sold.
He continued and told us that he would give us one warning when it was time to take the picture. He said that he would announce when it was time and that the band members would stop in their tracks and that we had five seconds to get in position to take the photo. He said he would start counting down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and when he got to 1, he would shoot the photo and the band would then exit the room. There were no single fan photos, no band member exclusive shots and absolutely no re-takes. We were told that if we weren’t in the picture after he got to 1, that we would NOT be in the picture.
The time came and the band finally walked in the room. We all applauded and although I had met tons of rock stars, I was nervous as could be to meet the Stones. They said hello to everyone and starting shaking hands and doing introductions. Keith and Ron walked over to my direction and I introduced myself and shook their hands. I then met Charlie and spent a few minutes chatting with him and other people backstage. One person gave Charlie a jazz cd of a band he had discovered as he knew Charlie was a huge fan of jazz music.
The clock was ticking and I had still not met Mick or shook his hand. He was on the other side of the room and I was determined. I was not going to be this close to one of the greatest singers and musicians in the world and not meet him personally. So I made my move … I pushed through the other fans in the room and basically jumped around another fan to shake his hand. I introduced myself and we chatted for a couple of minutes. To be honest it was a very weird feeling … he was Mick Jagger after all … and then the countdown began, 5, 4 … now I really had to move.
I wanted to be in the middle for the photo and around all four members. Where do I stand? Who do I stand next to? I made my way back over to where Keith and Ron were standing and took my position. Charlie stepped back over and now I had to decide where to put my head. In between Keith and Ron or dart to the right towards Charlie and Mick? At the last moment, I made a split second decision and went to the right towards Charlie. 3, 2, 1 … SNAP.
As you can see in the photo, I made the right decision. If I would have gone between Keith and Ron, I would not have been seen and my picture opportunity would have been lost. It kind of looks like I am resting my head on Keith’s shoulder actually. As you can also see, not everyone made the same decision I did. Some un-lucky fans are completely blocked and can not be seen at all in the picture. I also love Mick’s expression. Doesn’t he look thrilled?
After the photo was snapped, they told everyone goodbye and for all of us to enjoy the show. We all applauded and stood in amazement as we all had just met the Rolling Stones.
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