Sunday, March 26, 2006

It was forty years ago today...

...that the Rolling Stones played a venue known as Brabanthal in Den Bosch, Netherlands. And I was there. This was my first big rock event. The Stones had made a name for themselves over the previous couple of years and their lone previous appearance in the Hague (Scheveningen) had ended in a major riot where the 'audience' destroyed the concert hall. So this sounded like fun. That day (March 26th) was my birthday (still is, as a matter of fact). My brother Gerard had been able to somehow obtain 4 tickets for this concert and was kind enough to invite me along. He had, under false pretenses I might add, also been able to borrow a Volkswagen Beetle off some guy he knew at work. Not that the car was an absolute necessity, but it sure made getting there a lot easier than having to take public transit to Den Bosch as it was about 100 km away. So off we drove, late in the afternoon, the 4 of us squeezed into the bug. The venue was normally used to auction cattle, so since the place was already a pigstye, I guess the organizers figured this was the ideal place for a rock concert. Not that the word concert was actually used for an event like that back in those days: that term was strictly reserved for classical music events. To call a performance by the Stones a concert would have been sheer blasphemy. Total number of spectators was extremely low as well: 9000. The entrance fee was pretty steep though: 10 guilders, which converted to about $3 US back in 1966. The warm up acts were Dutch groups, among them the Outsiders and the Bintangs, both now revered in Dutch pop history. The late Wally Tax was the leader of the Outsiders, and a legend in his own mind even back then. I remember we made our way in through some kind of small side entrance. The hall was already packed and the concert was in progress. There were no seats, everybody just sort of piled up against the stage. Talking about the stage, it wasn't exactly up to today's standards: very few, if any spotlights, no massive amplifier banks and speakers. The only fireworks would have been Keif smoking on stage. Mick was his usual trade mark self. From the setlist I don't remember much: the only thing that comes to mind is '19th Nervous Breakdown', the end riff where Bill Wyman's bass sonically mimics a person slide into a state of mental anguish.

The next time I saw the boys live was at Sarsstock in Toronto in 2003, 37 years later. Number of spectators: 500,000.

No comments: