Rolling Stones Rock on after 50 Years: The Connecticut Connections

Legendary British rock group has given six concerts in Connecticut and have other connections as well.

Undoubtedly, the most popular rock group of the "British Invasion" of the early to mid 1960's was the Beatles. However, the Beatles broke up 42 years ago, and the Rolling Stones are still going strong after 50 years. In fact, the average age of the members of the Stones exceeds the average age of the members of the U.S. Supreme Court by nearly 2 years!                     

In their half century of existence, the Rolling Stones have toured Connecticut six times. Their first Connecticut concert occurred on Nov. 4, 1965, in the New Haven Arena. Less than a year later, the Stones appeared in Dillon Stadium in Hartford on June 27, 1966, to promote their new album "Aftermath." The members of the band at the time were Mick Jagger (lead vocals and harmonica); Charlie Watts (percussion); Keith Richards (guitar and leading vocals); Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica, and organ); and Bill Wyman (bass and backing vocals).

Fifteen years were to pass before the Stones returned to Connecticut. They appeared at the Hartford Civic Center on Nov. 9 and 10 of 1981. The tour promoted their new album called "Tattoo You." The tour itself grossed over $50 million and was seen by over 3 million fans — both records for the time.

In 1989, the Stones made arrangements to rent a building at the Wykeham Rise School in Washington, CT, for rehearsal for their upcoming "Steel Wheels Tour." They stayed there for six weeks. The group made a surprise visit to Toad's Place on York Street  in New Haven on Aug. 12, 1989,  and gave a concert there, much to the delight of about 700 patrons. Interestingly, Muddy Waters, a huge musical influence on the Rolling Stones, had also played at Toad's Place; in fact, the group's name is derived from one of Muddy's tunes.

Ten years later the Stones appeared at the Hartford Civic Center on March 28 and 29 in 1999. That stop was one of 25 in North America for the group's promotion of its album called "No Security." This tour was the group's first in 20 years that played only in indoor arenas for audiences of 20,000 or less.

The last time that the Stones appeared in Connecticut was at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Aug. 25, 2005. It was one of the stops on "A Bigger Bang Tour." Like all Rolling Stone concerts, this one, too, was a sellout. The Stones had a seven-story movable stage rigged up and rolled around the field to the delight of the crowd. The cost of a field level seat was $402 — see the photo gallery.

Besides visiting the state for six concerts in the last 50 years, the group has other connections to Connecticut. Mick Jagger's daughter, Karis Jagger, attended Yale University and graduated in 1992. Mick attended the graduation ceremony. Karis is Mick's oldest child and currently works as a production assistant on movies.

Keith Richards' main home is in Weston, CT. An interesting man, Richards yearned to be a librarian as a young man. He has a keen interest in history and reads a great deal. He keeps an extensive library there.

This past Sunday — Nov. 25 — the Rolling Stones kicked off a five-concert celebration of their golden anniversary as a group by having their first of two concerts at London's O2 Arena. The concert tour will continue in December in the New York metropolitan area with a concert in Brooklyn in the brand new Barclay's Center on Dec. 8 and two concerts at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on Dec. 13 and 15. In fact, Stamford, CT, based WWE Corporation will promote the Dec. 15 concert on pay-per-view. Vince McMahon, CEO of WWE, is the husband of Linda McMahon. If the concert goes as well as is expected, Vince will be able to put a big dent in the $47 million cost of his wife's recent senatorial campaign!

Robin Hood November 29, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I was at the Rentschler Field show in East Hartford on Aug. 25, 2005. It wasn't by choice per se'. Although I like the Stones I always thought they were simplistic musically compared to what I like being a musician and into the Who, Rush, Return to Forever, etc. They also seemed to be pretty burned out on the surface and many of their drug problems are well known, also many of their performances are on video and they're not that good, so it never enticed me to spend big bucks to see them. Friends of ours are big Stones fans and convinced us to see the Hartford show and I'm glad we did. I'd have to say first off that they are in great shape, especially Jagger, and kick butt all night. They have a huge catalogue to pick from for songs and they are unique in that they they are into 2 things, promoting unknown bands and their fans. They are so into their fans that they have built a unique system into their stage for years, they have a section a few feet wide that extends from the stage to the opposite end of the football field, this allows Jagger to run 100 yards out and back on almost every song, you try that while singing, bet you can't do it once. It is also part of a mechanism that takes part of the stage along with the drums out to the back field in mid-show to give the people at the back front row seats, the look on the faces of the people who were in the front is....priceless.
Robin Hood November 29, 2012 at 02:38 PM
There is also something about seeing a Stones concert, it has a kinetic or magnetic energy, a very positive one that you can feel coursing through the crowd, it's a high. They also have an excellent sound system that I would describe as a giant Bose system, they have two stage sets for tour, one is being set up while another is being used, this give the crews time to do it right and dial in the sound. Richards is quoted as saying "we suck but we have great equipment" and it is this down to Earth unpretentious attitude that allows them to play at ease and with their fans, not to them. They play for fun and it translates into a great and laidback experience. Their back-up band is great as well, my only regret is having formed an attitude towards them based on rumors and early performances. If you've never seen them and have doubts go see them if you can, you won't regret it.


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