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May 4, 1965: Hanner Gymnasium, Southern College, Statesboro, GA, USA
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From the Statesboro Herald:
The Stones were openly hostile at having to wait so long to take the stage. Guitarist Brian Jones had nearly finished off a bottleof something alcoholic and was ready to walk out but the manager said they would play. I walked out of the room as bassist Bill Wyman gave me a most hated look.
It only took five minutes for the Stones to set up. The only change Charlie Watts made to the drums was to reposition the snare drum more to his likes. A couple of attempts were made to tune guitars.
The parachute dropped and the Rolling Stones began to play the first song. Immediately there was an issue with the PA system when a blown fuse cut out Mick Jagger’s voice. It stopped the show for a couple of minutes and further aggravated the Stones.
However, once the sound was restored they continued with a set of 10 songs, which did include their most recent hit, “The Last Time.” The audience broke out with its loudest shouts and cheers when they played that song.
The performance covered a span of about 30 minutes, not the hour I had expected, but nothing could be done about it.
It was clear to the audience that the Stones were not happy to be on stage and they made no effort to do any more than play one song after another as quickly as possible. The audience did not respond well to the performance and at the end of their final selection the group simply unplugged their instruments and walked off stage.
An encore was not even considered.
Nearly everyone was stunned at the abrupt ending of the long awaited concert. No one was happy — not the audience, not the Stones, not the fraternity, and especially not me.
The concert ended up being a near disaster and it was my fault. I should have never added the third front band.
The same fraternity brothers, who had driven the Stones to Georgia Southern, loaded up their cars and headed back to Savannah where the group was dropped off at the Town and Country Motor Lodge.
Brother Carey Trice said bassist Bill Wyman left his bass guitar at the gym and Albert Green took care of returning it to him the following day.
We began breaking down the stage, taking down the parachute, and removing the chairs while the audience was still clearing out of the gym. A couple of students yelled at me that they wanted their money back. I ignored them, walked to the dressing room and said my goodbyes to the front bands. Of course, their managers were waiting to be paid. I had already written their checks and needed only to sign them.
Everyone kept asking, “What happened?”
I knew what had caused the disaster but kept it to myself. Some said that the front bands were so good that the Stones were angry at being stood up. Others said they had to wait too long and were upset. I just acknowledged that there had been a problem but dropped the subject as quickly as possible.
The abbreviated performance by the Stones did give cause for some immediate disappointment but in the end it only mattered that the world famous band had appeared on stage at Georgia Southern and that Sigma Epsilon Chi had pulled off what might be considered the most unlikely big time entertainment event on a college campus anywhere.
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