The Rolling Stones: Grrr! indeed…

It’s a great year to be a Rolling Stones fan… Or is it? Alexandra Simpson speaks out.

It’s 2012. The year the Olympic Games came to London, the year Obama was re-elected and the year The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary. A time of pride, of global relief that Romney hadn’t quite got his Mitts on the red button and for the majority of Rolling Stones fans, a year of disappointment.

It all began so well. If you take a wander down to Carnaby Street, you’ll see they’ve gone Stones mad with this year’s Christmas Lights. And of course Brett Morgen’s Crossfire Hurricane proved as electrifying as its namesake, opening a steamy window into the lives of a band so notorious and yet so elusive. Their new single Doom and Gloom evoked all of the raw sex-appeal of the band’s heyday, silencing the sceptics and fuelling the fans. It went on: the release of a 3-disc album entitled GRRR! seemed an all-encompassing conclusion to an all-consuming career. “This is too good to be true” I told myself. And it was. Little did I know the rumoured anniversary tour I had been so eagerly awaiting would leave me so completely dejected. Now, as I type away in the shadow of the infamous lick poster that adorns my bedroom wall, I can’t help but wonder whether the iconic tongue has developed bad breath.

Last week saw The Rolling Stones, unquestionably my favourite band of all time, perform two shows at the O2. So why am I all Doom and Gloom, so to speak? The answer is this: not only because I didn’t go to either of the shows, but because I couldn’t. Why? Because it would have cost me £375 for the pleasure.

From the moment I fell in love with Mick’s hips and Keith’s licks, I had vowed to pay whatever it took to get a taste of The Stones in person. Yet when it came down to it, I just couldn’t do it. I don’t believe I’m any less dedicated than the lucky few thousand who got to see Mick do the Casino Boogie, I believe I’m just rational. Moreover, I think I speak for the millions of fans who didn’t even get a look in as tickets went on sale when I say that I not only feel disappointed, but also betrayed by recent events. The gutsy band I so admired had finally put the funds before the followers. The band that had reached out to so many was now privileging so few… and it just didn’t sit right with me.

I don’t doubt I’d be writing a very different article if I’d shared an arena with my idols on one of those fateful nights. But I didn’t. Instead, I am left with the memory of unfulfilled expectations and the resentment of the fact that I still can’t help but love them, and no doubt will love them for the rest of my life. I know it’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it.