The Rolling Stones are some of the biggest and most beloved rock stars of all time. As the Summer of their No Filter Tour kicks off in America, let's take a look back at the history of their performances. It all started on July 12 1962. The Rolling Stones played their first concert at the Marquee Club in London.
Their early gigs were in small clubs and hotels dotted throughout London, that provided an intimate atmosphere but left little room for Mick Jagger to show off his signature strut.
As their popularity grew however, so did the size of the venues they played at. By the time they reached America in 1969 they were starting to fill up large music halls and arenas such as The Forum in Inglewood, California. This 1969 tour across America helped to spawn the birth of arena rock, as they adjusted their sound and lighting to overpower the noise of the crowd in these larger venues.
By the time the mid 70s rolled around the band was incorporating complex light shows that required mirrors to bounce light and elaborate props. Multiple stages which Jagger referred to as "Lotus Stages" featured cylindrical curtains and leaves that opened up and allowed for the band to make a grand dramatic entrance.
Their 1975 tour was announced outside of the the Fifth Avenue Hotel in Greewitch Village in New York. The Stones were supposed to be holding a press conference, instead they rolled up in front of the hotel in the back of a flatbed truck where they played an extended version of the song "Brown Sugar".
Once the 80s arrived they began constructing massive stages with runways and movable parts meant to dazzle stadium audiences. They had to start incorporating large video screens in order to project the image of the band large enough to be seen by the massive crowds. This was accompanied by the incorporation of even more pyrotechnics and props in order to elevate the visual spectacle to a size that matched its audience.
For their 1981 Tour they even involved a cherry picker that was used to drop hundreds of balloons over the stage and audience at the show's end. Openers for the tour were George Thorogood, the J. Geils Band and Prince, although he was widely unknown at the time and actually ended up being booed off the stage.
Their 1989 Tour was the final one to feature original bass player, Bill Wyman and was also their longest tour up to that point in time. They played twice as many shows as they had during past tours with the North American stretch being referred to as the Steel Wheels Tour and the European half named the Urban Jungle Tour.
In 2006 they played their largest show to an audience in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil during their A Bigger Bang Tour. In order for the 1.5 million fans to see them, the show required over 500 lights and a video screen almost 48 ft in length. Speakers were set up in a relay pattern down the length of the beach, but in order to keep the sound in sync with what was happening onstage the sound had to be delayed one second for every 340 meters of beach.
The Stones are still touring to this day. For a long time they chose to play North America, Mainland Europe, and the United Kingdom on a three year rotating basis. Their most recent tour kicked off back in September 2017 in Hamberg, Germany and is set to wrap this summer in Miami Gardens, Florida. The North American part of the tour had to be delayed while Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery, but Jagger, who is a true performer even in his mid 70s, didn't let the surgery keep him from dazzling audiences for too long.
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