Thirty years ago, on June 9, 1972, I saw the Rolling Stones at the Hollywood Palladium, the smallest venue they played in the United States on that tour. On November 4, I’ll be at the 2,400-seat Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, the smallest venue they’re playing in the United States this time around. I’ll be there with the same good friend that was there in ’72 and has seen so many more shows with me since then.

Chris Kattenbach wrote an article for The Baltimore Sun yesterday that helps explain what it’s all about.

”If this truly is to be the last Rolling Stones tour — and with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both pushing 60, it could very well be — then the time has come to stop obsessing on how old they are, on whether they remain relevant, on whether they’ve put out a decent album since Tattoo You, on whether rock and roll is a young man’s game with no room for elder statesmen who refuse to concede the stage.

”The time has come to plunk down your money and go see them, especially if you’ve never been. There’s a reason these guys are called the world’s greatest rock and roll band, and it has nothing to do with hype, public relations or fiftysomething fans who refuse to retire gracefully.

”It has to do with a body of work unrivaled over the past four decades. It has to do with a group of guys who know everything there is to know about rock and roll, about a band that includes both rock’s greatest poseur (Mick) and truest rebel (Keith) — until you start thinking about those labels, and realize they’re immaterial, irrelevant and inaccurate. It has to do with an energy that remains astonishingly undiminished.

”And it has to do with that tingling feeling, that rush of adrenaline, that takes over whenever those first jarring chords of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” hit your ears.

”Seeing the Stones in concert — as Philadelphians did three times earlier this month, and as folks around here will be able to do Friday, when the band plays FedEx Field in Landover — is an experience that defies description in all the best possible ways. To see and hear them play the way they are during this tour and not be moved, in ways both joyful and profound, is to deny the power of rock and roll. To dismiss the Stones, even at this late stage of the game, is less a judgment call than a lack of judgment altogether.”

The Stones will be in San Francisco and Oakland next month. Tickets are hard to come by – but some of you should be there. You know who you are . . .

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