We had already gone through security before finding out we were at the wrong gate. The representative of AEG Live, which was managing the Rolling Stones’ tour through Asia, had told me to go to the VIP booth at Gate 25, but there was none. Another couple was waiting just outside the barrier, trying to get in touch with the same rep and not having any luck. The young security guard was helpful. He took down our names, called someone on his cell phone, and then personally accompanied us to the VIP entrance, which was all the way on the other side of Tokyo Dome and nowhere near Gate 25. I tried to imagine a security guard in the U.S. doing the same thing, and though it’s been a long time since I’ve lived there the thought didn’t coalesce into something positive.
Being the Asia correspondent for Pollstar, the California-based concert industry magazine, I was invited by AEG to attend one of the Stones’ Dome shows. Though it sounds like a big title, most of my work for the magazine consists of combing the web for stories that might be interesting to Pollstar subscribers, translating press releases, and reporting who’s coming to Asia and when. There’s almost no journalism involved, and I definitely don’t take full advantage of whatever perks the position might offer, but I’d never seen the Stones before and with the understanding that it would be my last chance I eagerly accepted the invitation. Though I have never been a big Stones fan they were so integral to my music-listening life in adolescence that there was never a need to seek them out. Their music was just always there, and as with the Beatles I knew their entire catalogue up to a certain temporal point. I also never felt a piercing desire to “see” them in concert, which has always been impossible anyway considering that their superstardom preceded the aforesaid music-listening life. And while I can appreciate the band’s longevity, which I credit to a rare combination of phenomenally good genetic material on Keith Richards’ part and superhuman self-discipline on Mick Jagger’s, the idea of seeing men their age plow through the kind of salacious material that has always been the band’s hallmark filled me with a twinge of repugnance. But in any case, they’re still older than me, and there aren’t too many rock bands I want to see that could actually make me feel younger just by looking at them. Continue reading