rolling stones tucson arizona 1978 coverFlashback


The Rolling Stones live in Tucson 1978
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July 21, 1978: Community Center, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Let It Rock/All Down The Line/Honky Tonk Women/Star Star/When The Whip Comes Down/Beast Of Burden/Lies/Miss You/Just My Imagination/Shattered/Respectable/Far Away Eyes/Love In Vain/ Tumbling Dice/Happy/Sweet Little Sixteen/Brown Sugar
*With guest Linda Ronstadt on ‘Tumbling Dice’

The first Tucson appearance by the Rolling Stones was in June 1972. For the 8,000 fans lucky enough to be inside the Community Center, the evening was great. For the 300 people who were hanging around outside, the flying objects, broken windows and police tear gas provided a different kind of excitement.

Inside the hall, the opening act for the Stones was Stevie Wonder and his group Wonderlove. According to the review “while the Stones top them in showmanship, musically the black artist is ready to blow any white band off the stage.”

The Stones then took to the stage and Jagger “teased the audience with his hips shaking, head bobbing and feet shuffling as the band with horns added, blew the crowd into a frenzy.”

The melee outside the TCC had a frenzy of its own. Alcohol and frustration by those without tickets mixed with the strong police presence and the result was almost $3,000 in damage and several arrests.

In 1978, there were a lot of very disappointed fans at the TCC box office when the Stones’ tickets went on sale. Thousands camped out and tickets went on sale two hours early because of the growing throng. All 8,000 tickets at $10 a piece were sold out in 45 minutes.

Concert night the thousands waiting outside were hot, tired and some were a bit high, but there was no real trouble. Backstage, the Star reported that the Stones and company dined on beef tenderloin, shrimp, chicken, spareribs, champagne and wine.” At one point, with only a few hundred people inside the hall, Mick Jagger “stumbled up to autograph the tickets of a few fans.”

Then the lights dimmed. The nearly 11,000 fans were respectful of opening act Etta James, but it was the Stones that they wanted to see. Pandemonium broke out when they finally took the stage.

“Jagger posed and twirled, looking like a cross between Groucho Marx and Judy Garland,” the reviewer wrote. But the person who stopped the show was hometown gal Linda Ronstadt who made a surprise appearance. Wearing short shorts and a tongue tee-shirt, Ronstadt joined with Jagger to perform “Tumblin’ Dice”.

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