All Down The Line: 5 Legendary Rolling Stones Club Shows

Author: Steve Wiseman

Earlier today, a select few Rolling Stones fans in France picked up tickets to the band’s surprise concert tonight at Paris’ Trabendo Theatre. 350 tickets sold for 15 Euros (about $20) to the first few people who lined up at Paris’ Virgin Megastore.  The Stones first announced the show on Twitter.

Tonight’s show will be the Stones’ first since 2007, and chances are, they might do one or two more ridiculously small gigs before they play London’s O2 Arena on November 25, which is the first of four arena shows they have scheduled (though Keith Richards has hinted that they’ll do more).

The Stones, who still have the pull to play the world’s largest venues, have always liked to hit the clubs. They started as a club band in London, after all. Here’s a list of some of their smaller shows through the years.

1. The Stones frequently rehearse for tours in Toronto, so that city has gotten a good share of “surprise” concerts. Most recently on August 10, 2005, when they played the Phoenix Concert Threatre before the Bigger Bang world tour. Tickets cost $10 and saw the band trying out new songs from the A Bigger Bang album including “Rough Justice,” “Infamy” and “Oh No Not You Again,” along with classic covers like “Mr. Pitiful” and “Get Up, Stand Up.”

2. On August 12, 1989 they showed up at Toad’s Place in Connecticut (Bob Dylan played a six-hour set at the same place less than a year later). Warming up for the Steel Wheels tour (their return to the road after eight years) they worked on some of their then-new songs “Mixed Emotions” and “Sad Sad Sad.”

3. It wasn’t a Rolling Stones show per se, but on November 22, 1981, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and their late touring pianist/road manager Ian Stewart showed up at Chicago’s Checkerboard Lounge to jam with Muddy Waters; even better, Buddy Guy showed up as well.  If you weren’t there you can actually watch this on a new DVD that came out earlier this year, Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live At The Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981.

4. New York’s Capitol Theatre in Port Chester recently re-opened after being shuttered 15 years ago. One of the last shows that took place there was the Stones in 1997 on their Bridges To Babylon tour. That show, however, wasn’t open to the public – it was shot for MTV’s Live At The 10 Spot. They played some of their new songs, including “Anybody Seen My Baby?” and “Out Of Control.” Their cover of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie,” however, didn’t make the broadcast.

5. … and back to Toronto: on May 4 and 5, 1977, the Stones, with new guitarist Ronnie Wood, played a few club gigs at the El Mocambo Tavern. By this point, they were a stadium-headlining group, but they got really loose at these shows, where they played a bunch of songs from their early repertoire.  Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy,” Bo Diddley’s “Crackin’ Up,” Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster” and Chuck Berry’s “Around And Around” from those shows are all included on the 1977’s Love You Live.

Some reports have them playing another theater gig in Paris on Monday, but according to rumors, that will be a private show for an investment company, Carmignac.

The Stones not only announced tonight’s show on Twitter, but also tweeted out all relevant details as well. So fans interested in hearing about any further surprise gigs should follow the band there.

Brian Ives, CBS Local

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