Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Fireworks

July 4th, 2015 could be considered pretty close to perfection as Independence Day standards govern:  azure skies; white popcorn shaped clouds; red, white, and blue block parties complete with char-gilled food and cold drinks.  And on this 4th of July, The Rolling Stones.

I liked the Rolling Stones from early on.  I suppose "early" is a relative to my personal perspective since I was 2 years old when the Stones formed.  I was never a rabid "mega-fan", despite the fact that they were chronically producing favorite songs across the first three decades of my life.  Maybe they were just too steady.  Maybe too taken for granted (by me)… Nonetheless, along the promenade of time from grade school through early adulthood, I collected many favorite songs.  The list has continued to grow...  My current iTunes playlist, entitled "Stones Favs", includes 35 songs.

I had never been to a Stones show although I had hoped to see them in 1994, the last time they were in Indy.  My prime ticket connection fell through for that concert, which was frustrating on an understated level.  So after waiting over 20 years, I was going to see them on the 4th of July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Sweet…

As I stood in line to pick up my premiere parking pass at the IMS ticket off the morning of the show, I came to discover how much of a "ham and egger" I was as a Stones concert fan. Virtually all of the people in the line near me were from out of state.  One, a Dad from New Jersey who had rented a motor home and loaded up his 23 year old daughter and several of her friends to make the trip.  Their adventure to that point had included the motor home breaking down, hitch hiking to a rental car place for a van, and now scrambling for hotel room since their motor home lodging literally went "up in smoke".  Another group was from Kentucky where they still had ringing in their ears from the Stones concert in Nashville, TN a few weeks earlier.  The leader of that group was in line for his 47th Rolling Stones concert. Other groups had trekked from Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan.  It was 9:30 am in Indianapolis, the weather was flawless, and for the people in line at the IMS ticket office, the beer was flowing.

There is really no point to describing a Rolling Stones concert, as I now know.  I had heard about how epic and electric their performances are, the legendary energy of Mick Jagger, the spectacle and massiveness of a show.  It's all true and impossible to appreciate unless you experience it.  What I will say is that I had a great time starting with Rascal Flatts performing as the opening act.  They were terrific, but as The Stones took the stage and launched into Jumpin' Jack Flash it was like standing next to a railroad track as a freight train came flying by. It was a whole new planetary system.  For the next 2 1/2 hours I stood with a big smile on my face and my hair blown straight back.

As I reflect back on the concert, the experience begins to come into focus on the music and the songs.  The set list from the show offers poignant insights regarding how fast we travel through the stations of our lives.  19 songs that spanned 32 years.  When Satisfaction was released I was in Kindergarten.  When Out of Control was released, my youngest child was in 1st grade.  We are flying through time and the accelerating as we go.  It would be nice to slow things down these days, but You Can't Always Get What You Want...

  • 1968 Jumpin' Jack Flash
  • 1974 It's Only Rock and Roll
  • 1967 Let's Spend the Night Together
  • 1972 Tumbling Dice
  • 1997 Out of Control
  • 1969 Let It Bleed
  • 1971 Wild Horses
  • 1971 Bitch
  • 1969 Honky Tonk Woman
  • 1978 Before They Make Me Run
  • 1972 Happy
  • 1969 Midnight Rambler
  • 1978 Miss You
  • 1969 Gimme Shelter
  • 1981 Start Me Up
  • 1968 Sympathy for the Devil
  • 1971 Brown Sugar
  • 1969 You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • 1965 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Final thought:  I bought tickets to the 4th of July Stones concert thinking, I better see them because this HAS to be their last hurrah...  Right.  I really was a "ham and egger".

Fireworks by Steve Leath