The Rolling Stones live in Solana Beach 2015
May 27, 2015: Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA, USA (private gig; unverified setlist)
Start Me Up/It’s Only Rock’n Roll/You Got Me Rocking/Tumbling Dice/When The Whip Comes Down/I Got The Blues/Crazy Mama/Paint It Black/Midnight Rambler/Miss You/Honky Tonk Women/Sympathy For The Devil/Jumping Jack Flash/Brown Sugar/Satisfaction
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES FLASHBACK
From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
If his doctor had been right, Ralph Whitworth should have been dead instead of listening to the Rolling Stones’ private performance in Solana Beach Wednesday night.
While the Rancho Santa Fe executive is declining to publicly comment, the story of the Rolling Stones’ appearance at the Belly Up club can be pieced together from observations of attendees and others involved. Whitworth’s name, along with that of his wife, Fernanda, appeared on invitations to the concert.
Against all odds, Whitworth had won a major battle over what was considered an “incurable” cancer. He took the stage and told his guests about his medical journey.
When Whitworth learned that his cancer, which had begun at the back of his tongue, had recurred, the businessman, who specializes in turning around troubled corporations, had resigned last July as interim chairman of Hewlett-Packard. Published reports indicated he was planning to focus his considerable resources on finding a cure – or at least gaining more time than the eight to 10 months usually predicted for his ailment.
At a fundraising gala to benefit UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in April, Whitworth had spoken of his medical quest for cutting edge treatment and his partnership with a team of UCSD physicians working on immunotherapy.
Dr. Ezra Cohen, an associate director of the cancer center, says Whitworth is involved in creating a cell processing system that would enable researchers to take T-cells from a patient’s cancer tumor, select, multiply and engineer those most effective in fighting the cancer, then incorporate them back in the patient’s treatment.
“It’s not being done anywhere else,” said Cohen, adding that the immunotherapy facility is expected to open in late December.
(Ref. solana beach)
Whitworth, who had told those close to him the party might be his final get-together with friends, began early this year trying to convince the Rolling Stones to put on a private show in his hometown.
According to sources close to the family, the band wasn’t initially planning to make San Diego a stop on their 2015 North American Zip Code tour. But, ever the businessman, Whitworth reportedly compiled data, ticket sales projections, Petco Park availability and successfully convinced them that performing two shows during one layover would prove an economic bonanza.
Word circulating in close circles was that Whitworth paid the band $2 million. Coupled with other performance, setup and party expenses at the Belly Up, however, the final event tab was closer to $2.5 million. (One of those expenses was a temporary quarter-mile fenced running track set up behind the nightclub so Mick Jagger could jog before appearing on stage.)
There were only about 450 people in the 600-plus capacity venue, making the party an intimate affair. No “meet-and-greet” autograph or photo opportunities were scheduled.
Party guests said the musicians had been invited to pick their own song list, although Fernanda had wanted them to play, “Paint It Black,” their 1966 hit, which they did.
Their 14-song set list began with “Start Me Up,” and included “When the Whip Comes Down,” “Crazy Mama,” “Midnight Rambler, “Honky Tonk Woman,” Jumping Jack Flash” and “Brown Sugar.” It ended with the traditional encore, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
The show, expected to last 90 minutes went an extra five minutes, ending at about 10:45 p.m.
Several guests arrived at the Belly Up not knowing the Stones would perform. There was no mention of the band on the invitation, although there were a few hints. The design was based on an old Rolling Stones poster. It contained band members’ astrological signs and the event was titled “Rock & Roll Avalanche.”
Whitworth announced from the stage that the party was a celebration of Fernanda’s birthday, the couple’s (May 28) anniversary and, especially, the launch of his family’s Immunotherapy Foundation to fund this special research at UCSD.
Cohen said what hit home with him was Whitworth’s comment about the foundation’s work: “If I wasn’t doing this, I wouldn’t be standing in front of you today, and I believe that’s true.”
When asked if he thought this immunotherapy approach could make an incurable cancer curable, Cohen responded, “This will sound crazy, but the answer to that question is yes, that’s what we hope.”
(Ref. solana beach)
In addition to numerous local VIPs and spouses, attendees included nationally known executives. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, real estate and publishing magnate Sam Zell, sports car racing legends Chip Ganassi, Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein, Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs and sons Paul and Jeff, former Qualcomm President Steve Altman, money management strategist Charles Brandes, billionaire philanthropist Denny Sanford and Texas-based computer tycoon Darwin Deason, to mention a few.
Although the invitation stipulated “no cameras or other recording devices,” a few stealthy snaps were posted on social media sites. One attendee recounted that a security guard politely asked one guest to surrender her cellphone after she took a photo. It was returned after the show.
Attendees described it as a fun party where even the band members seemed to have a good time. They were energized, laughing and jumping up and down. Jagger made a special connection with the Whitworths’ 5-year-old daughter, gesturing to her from the stage.
“We were only about eight feet away from Mick and Keith Richards,” said ResMed founder Peter Farrell, adding that the venue was so intimate “there were more people on the street than there were inside.”
Members of the crew were overheard commenting that the musicians sounded better than ever, especially during the last four songs.
As it turned out for Ralph Whitworth, instead of a wake, the private show was an awakening – a celebration of life and perhaps of many more lives to be saved in the future.
(Ref. solana beach)
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