In their most puffed-up publicity stunt to date, the Rolling Stones wafted over the Bronx in a blimp Tuesday before announcing a world tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
The as-yet-unnamed tour will begin in Boston on Sept. 5 and arrive in New York for three shows on Sept. 26, 28 and 30 at Madison Square Garden, Giants Stadium and Roseland Ballroom, respectively. The Stones are preparing separate stages and set lists for the differently sized venues.
“It’s fun to play clubs and not play the same size all the time,” Keith Richards said. “We can play stuff that doesn’t work in stadiums. Garage (stuff).”
The Stones’ highly orchestrated press conference saw the band drive into Van Cortlandt Park, board a bright yellow dirigible and cruise a bit uncomfortably for 20 bumpy minutes. Every moment was documented by onboard cameramen, helicopter units and Mick Jagger’s camcorder.
Afterward, the band alighted to answer – and deflect – questions. When Jagger was asked what he thought of his 1972 promise to “commit suicide” if he was still singing “Satisfaction” at 40, the 58-year-old grandfather quipped, “Who says we’re going to do `Satisfaction’?” He then lowered his mike and kvetched about the inquiry, “That was cheap.”
Although the event took place in a public park, the several hundred fans who showed up on a work day were kept at a distance by police barricades. Some were happy just to catch a glimpse of rock royalty, but others felt snubbed.
“They have to know who the real fans are,” said Miriam Linna, who headed uptown from Brooklyn only to be “manhandled” by police when she tried to get closer to the group. “All we wanted was some autographs and pictures.”
The tour will coincide with the release of a greatest-hits CD that will feature material from 1963 to the present. The band also plans to include a handful of new songs that have yet to be recorded.
Tickets go on sale Monday, priced from $50 to $90. Approximately 5 percent of the seats will be set aside as super-pricey “gold circle” tickets.
Last week, Paul McCartney chided the Stones for pricing their tickets slightly higher than his own. “Mick doesn’t exactly need the money, does he?” he said.
When asked about the jab from Sir Paul, Jagger waved his hand and wrinkled his nose in disgust. But Richards provided a practical rationale for charging more than McCartney’s tour.
“There’s more of us,” he said.