Back in the fall of 1981, I was getting into the Rolling Stones for the first time. I had bought a cassette version of Tattoo You, and listened to it all the time on my fake walkman. Little did I know that it wasn’t the Stones’ best work, or that most of the songs had been left over from the 1970s. None of that mattered to a kid who didn’t yet know that Start Me Up wasn’t exactly about racing cars.
I remembered reading about the Stones tour in the fall of 1981, but noticed that they never played anywhere close to where I lived at the time. It was the first inkling I had that some places were big enough to merit a Stones concert, and other places weren’t. And I only wanted to live in a place that did.
In the mid 1980s, as I was looking toward a future outside of the Stones-free zone of Springfield, Illinois, I considered where the Stones might play someday as a very small piece of the college-going puzzle. But what I never thought about was how to get to–and then how to pay for–a concert tour that was basically building up demand all through the 1980s. When the Stones finally did come to Chicago in 1989 with the Steel Wheels tour, the tickets were priced far out of my budget, and Alpine Valley, Wisconsin may as well have been on another planet for someone who didn’t have a car.
I say all of this because the Stones are playing in Chicago this evening, but my desire to see them perform live has gone the way of my Tattoo You cassette. I still love their music, and was singing along with Start Me Up and Waiting on a Friend while driving home from work this evening. I’m sure that the Stones are a great band live, but some things in life will just have to remain a mystery. And reliving the memories from another stage in life is enough fun for me.