The next morning we were up fairly early, as in by 10am & we lounged around eating bagels & soon after breakfast E said "I feel like a beer"...so of course I couldn't let her drink alone! Being from Pittsburgh I was gladly appreciating the warm California sun & it was lovely to see the temp rise to 70 even before noon. In the afternoon we finally mustered the strength to shower & took off for a trip to Santa Cruz. We shopped a bit & then had a huge appetizer platter at Margaritaville (if you're from Pittsburgh, you'll appreciate the kinship to the South Side bar I frequent). Stuffed our faces with nachos, guacamole, hot wings, chalupas, quesadillas & margaritas & then ventured back to E's house for the rest of the day. That concluded my sight seeing in California (good thing it wasn't my first trip out there!). The rest of our trip was spent literally inside the Stones hotel, except for a few jaunts to a local bar around the corner where drinks were considerably cheaper & the staff considerabley friendlier than the staff at the Fairmont (expect for dear Marlene).
At 12:30pm Sunday I called the MGM Grand to see if the Stones had checked out, they had. So that meant time to head to San Jose so we could see the boys arrive at the hotel. We stopped at the Arena to take photos of the marquee with the giant tongue. Checked into our room at 3pm, smoking room, cuz ya never know who may drop by! We were on the 4th floor by the pool & had a private patio that led into the pool area, which was very cool. The bellman asked "what group are you with?" and we answered "the Rolling Stones"..."ah fans" he said. We never did use that damn pool, but we did do a bit of tanning one afternoon. Upon going down to the lobby we saw that the Stones luggage was arriving, a huge yellow truck had been parked out front for quite sometime & all 350+ pieces were curbside. I was told that this was one of the most expensive things about the Stones hotels, their piece per piece luggage charge to take the stuff in & out. We went out front & admired the many bags, boxes, suitcases, trunks...a guy walked up to us & pointed to a huge silver trunk joking "that's Keith's makeup case". We ventured back into the hotel & took the elevator to the 20th floor, rounded the corner as we saw our bellman bringing up a cart of luggage sweating profusely. Security asked "may we help you"? I inquired as to the floor of one of the crew members & after scanning his list for several seconds he told me to go to floor 18. I thanked him & upon getting back onto the elevator our bellman said "Lots of people tell me that... but I BELIEVE you now!". As the door closed we laughed to ourselves wishing we were as well connected as he now thought we were!
We ate lunch at the hotel & later had some drinks in the bar again. Blondie was of course the first of the entourage to hit the bar & we spoke with him briefly as he nervously paced back & forth looking for a friend of his. Chuck Leavell later came & stood next to us & was deep in conversation with a friend. Before they left for dinner we had a few words with him, and were surprised that he had remembered the incident in Philly when E & I were outside the VIP lounge & had to tell the security guy he was with the band, because the guy wouldn't let Chuck through the backstage curtain because Jagger was coming down the hall & Chuck pleaded "but I'm the piano player!". We all had a laugh about that & talked about the cool jackets the couple from Japan had made him & gave him in the bar at the Four Seasons. He said he was sorry he couldn't wear them since he had to wear all black this tour, we said maybe for B2B in Europe. We shook hands with him & he went off to dinner.
The rest of the day/evening was spent drinking Stoli & Fanta in our room with the boom box playing Stripped outtakes, and later some more pricey drinks in the bar. I think we indulged a bit too much on that first day-LOL! We made some phone calls to friends like Kathy, Jana & James, Jim Crowley & by 1am I was toasted. I fell into bed & immediately fell asleep, lights on & all! E went back down to the bar for a bit & then she came up to bed as well. At 3am the phone woke us & it was Jana saying that since we left a message on their machine, they would try their very best to get to San Jose no matter what it took! Cool, we hadn't seen the Steel Wheels band members since they played in Houston 98 at the Velvet Elvis (then they were known as Voodoo Lounge).
The next day we were of course starving, and around 11am we meandered down & had lunch in the hotel restaurant, salads & Diet Coke...needed to rehydrate for another night's drinking fest! When we went back up to our room later we saw Bernard walking aimlessly down the hall, he was trying to find the elevator (it was one confusing hotel), and that's when we discovered he was rooming a door apart from us! We asked "Lost Bernard?". He laughed. When we went back to the bar in the afternoon, Blondie came down & joined us for a drink, he was having his usual Stoli & orange juice. He asked if I had seen Freddy Sessler, which I hadn't, but soon his friend Peter showed up & he switched to the table next to us to sit with him. Later Fred joined him, as did Waddy Wachtel (Keith's guitarist from X-Pensive Winos). E went up to check our messages to see if Toru had arrived in town yet & Jim Crowley showed up with his buddy. We had a drink or two & chatted about tonight's show. E & I picked up our tickets. We decided to hang in the lobby area to see if we could see the Stones leave for the show. Just as we were discussing Toru & when he would arrive, none other than Toru comes around the corner to greet us! I had been waiting to meet Toru for several years now, he's one of my oldest, dearest Stones email buddies. E got to meet him finally at the opener in Oakland, but I was going to have to wait until London. We all had one of those Stones fan obligatory group hugs & sat down to order more drinks.
At around 7 we headed over to the arena, not believing that were seeing yet another show & the second to last to be exact. We snapped a few more photos of the marquee which was now lit up & read Rolling Stones Tonight. We were surprised to find that the VIP lounge was right inside the door & we met Toru & Hulalulu outside the door. We chatted a while outside the lounge & chatted to the security doorman & managed to let him "allow" us to take a few VIP signs off the wall & I finally got my Stones W/C VIP sign which had wanted in Philly. Around 9:10 we headed to the floor to claim our seats, which were row 16 seats 1 & 2. We noticed the cameras placed throughout the arena & knew something was up-this show was being filmed! For what, we weren't yet sure.
Immediately we knew the "no security" was gonna be "alot of security", because before the lights even went down we had little old security hags ushering us toward our seats & a plump man telling us "NO SOCIALIZING"...WHAT???!!! Isn't this a concert we ask? We were glad to be on the aisle for easy access to the B stage, but standing next to the Female Hitler Duo we were thinking twice about our fortune. Finally the lights went down a bit after 9:30 & once again the b&w video of the 4 boys in leather set to the Might As Well Get Juiced theme, began the show. Keith comes prowling out from behind the drum riser, shades & leather jacket, like a man possessed. The crowd goes wild, as usual. I make te mistake of putting one foot too far toward the aisle & I am pounced on by Mrs. Hitler who tell me to "get back in your row!!". Sheesh, ok, ok. Marilou is in front of us & she too begins to get hassled for talking to people a few rows in front of her. Security would be a problem tonight for sure if they even bothered people with passes. The horn section fired up Bitch as we tried to ignore the security & get on with our dancing to the music. Mick & Lisa ham it up on Honky Tonk Women & Keith does his piano lick on Chuck's piano that ends with the toe tapping out the kast notes. Some people find that "old", but I always look forward to it. Then, it came. The reason I came to San Jose...to hear...I GOT THE BLUES. Oh man. I remember tapping E on the shoulder as it began & then, we were lost in the tune. Beautifully done, Jagger in fine voice & Keith & Ronnie standing in front of Charlie's drum riser, eyes closed..."as I stand, by your flame, I get burned once again, feeling low down & blue...". Certainly it made this trip worth while for just that one song. Although, I'd go anywhere to hear any Stones song, as long as it was played live. Next came the Saint sing along, the crowd did fairly well, but I still think Cleveland was tops. The true story of Some Girls followed...where Mick now sings the line "gimme all your dope". And, Paint It Black gets the crowd into a frenzy once again with that driving beat & Mick encouraging us to clap our hands above our heads.
Mick does the intros & once again it seems as if Keith gets the wildest applause, with more "Keef, Keef, Keef" chants being heard than the "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie" chants of the B2B tour. How come everytime it's time for Keith set, my favorite moment of the show, there is some kind of crowd interuption around me? It never fails. Keith comes out, with his genuinely pleased to be here smile, and says something like "how ya doing guys?". When I see the stool, I know it is my last chance of this tour to hear You Got The Silver...God, what a pleasure. Then during Before They Make Me Run, the hassle starts. Security is telling Marilou they are going to throw her out & since she is in front of me, they are blocking my view. It seems Mrs. Hitler, went to get her big boss & now Marilou is told she is going to be escorted out! For what, we want to know? We try to tell the guys that you can't throw someone out that works for the Stones fan club! Jeez, these guys were on power trips & we felt like it was Houston 2. They ended up escorting her somewhere, her offence? Standing in the aisle too much. We just shook our heads in disbelief. After Keith's set we made our way to the B stage as Mick popped up out of the floor for Out Of Control.
Even getting to the B stage was a hassle this time, not due to the crowd, but due to security. We managed to secure a place on Keith's side to the right of the mixer board, which was actually a fine view. The boys sauntered down the runway, slapping hands, accepting gifts, and momentarily ripped into Rt. 66.
The crowd was expecting Get Off My Cloud & the cameras panned the crowd as they yelled "hey hey you you" in unison. Mick worked all four corners doing his best to get the crowd involved, sneering, prancing, gyrating like only Mick can. I get tired at the B stage-imagine Mick! Midnight Rambler...this my 8th time hearing it, seeing it, once again in such close proximity to the band...what can you say about it? If you've seen it, heard it, felt it, you know the feeling! Amazing. After the B stage set ended, Mick once again took some photos of the B stage crowd & then it was back to the main stage for Tumbling Dice, which kicks off the greatest hits ending to the show. Security was still hot on our heels as the show ended. Towards the end of Brown Sugar, Elizabeth & I walked forward from row 16 to row 12 or so & immediately Mrs. Hitler was screaming into my ear "Get back to your seat! Get out of the aisle!", I ignored her, just incredulous that the final bow was about to take place & the damn show was over & she was still demanding we be in our seats! I turned to her & said "IT'S OVER!!!" and Elizabeth said the same thing, just as another guy walked forward towards the front & the band left the stage-she made this guy SHOW HIS TICKET, and the entire show was over with the houselights already on! He was stunned too & also told her "lady the show is over, but if it'll make you feel better" and got out his ticket. No security my ass!
As we wandered to the back of the arena we once again saw Marilou, and briefly discussed her/our security hassle of the night. We descended the steps to the outside & met Toru and walked back to the Fairmont in a hurry in order to score a table in the lounge. We met up with Jana & James and some of their friends Kilroy, Bobby & Debbie and were surprised to find that most of the backing band had already changed & were down in the lounge. Blondie wandered over briefly, but when someone immediately asked for an autograph he went off to find his table of friends. We all chatted about the show, the security problems, and were pleased once again to be in the company of Bobby Keys, Darryl Jones, Bernard Fowler, Lisa Fischer, Blondie Chaplin, Kent Smith, Tim Ries & Chuck Leavell. Some people got photos with Chuck & Bernard earlier in the evening.
At 1:30 they took our last drink order & then they brought the drinks at 1:50 & then at 1:55 they were coming around telling us they had to clear our tables! We hadn't even had a sip yet! And for the price they charge for drinks, you should be able to drink what's left in your glass after they stop serving at 2am...but NOOOO, we had to waste half of our $7 drinks because of some weird California law. We went to floor 4 for the party in Kilroy & Bobby's room. We stayed there with Jana & James & Toru till the security knocked on the door & told us we had to keep it down, which was around 4am I suppose. We didn't even have music playing, we were just talking & laughing a bit too loud for the hour. We said our goodnight, arranged a meeting time for noon tomorrow with Toru & E and I went back to our room to bed. We perused the room service menu for about a 1/2 hour & then decided, ah, we might as well eat in the morning. Another Stones night of fasting, but lots of drinking. Good thing we paced ourselves tonight!
We got up around 10, although we'd been awake for quite a while. It was another nice sunny California day. Again, lunch was the first thing on our minds! We went across the street this time to a place that was set up like a 50's diner/ice cream joint, called Johnny Rockets. Had some burgers & fries and then came back to the hotel lobby to meet Toru. Well, this was like waiting for Godot, because Toru overslept (jetlag from a trip all the way from Japan & no sleep at all) & although we called to wake him up at 1pm & he said he'd be over by 4pm, he didn't make it to the hotel until after 5pm! Oh well. So E & I spent most of the day in the lounge again, had a lengthy chat with Bjornulf and later Skippy came over & James and Carol.
Around 5:30, we became aware that the white vans were lining up out front & later we saw the whole backing band come out, but figured the Stones themselves would once again be leaving through the garage exit. They did. We didn't see them. I saw Bernard out front & told him to have a good show. Toru left to go to the box office to get his ticket & later E & I went over as well. We saw the Stones vans arrive at the back gate before going inside, but the windows were tinted so it was too hard to see who was inside each van. We took a few photos of the three of us (me, E & Toru) inside the venue and then ventured to the floor to again find our seats.
Our seats were almost identical to last nights, except 2 rows closer, row 14, seats 1 & 2. We were relieved to find that there were new Security guys down there, not the women from hell. Our first mission was to test them out on how they were going to behave during the show. We expressed our concern for last nights problems & they told us that they were all chewed out last night for being too rough on people & that everyone was re-assigned to new locations for tonight. We told them what happened last night & they assured us that they wouldn't hassle us. Phew. They kept their word. In fact we found out after the show that the two female Hitlers were re-assigned to giving out brochures & weren't even on the floor. Toru had the seat by the catwalk, row 12 or 11 I think. Well, this was IT. The LAST show of the 1999 No Security Tour. Not as depressing as last years last show for B2B in Chicago though. This time we still had June in the UK to look forward to. We wondered what changes might be in the setlist for tonight. Not many, as we were to find out. But, I am never one to complain about setlist changes. I could see the exact same show night after night & still be happy that I was seeing the Stones, playing live on stage, for me.
The set list:
I think my only surprise was that they kept Bitch in the set from last night & didn't do Live With Me. But from the get-go as Keith came out & kicked his leg & his guitar into JJF for the 34th & final time this tour, the boys were rockin'. They knew it was the last night & they were ready to put on a hell of a show. And, once again they did. Mick even said before Saint Of Me began that the show was being filmed so the crowd should go crazy! And I though this would be incentive enough for the crowd to be more into it, knowing they might end up in the next tour video...but there were still some entire sections that remained seated throughout. Not us! The floor was INTO it & since security let us venture a foot from our chairs tonight we had more room to dance. Keith had got me rocking during "You Got Me Rocking" and next thing I knew I was being filmed for the entire song by a guy with one of the hand held audience cams! Whoa. I just kept dancing, waving the skull scarf & hoping I don't end up on the cutting room floor like I did last year when E & I were interviewed by Jay Leno at Buddy Guy's Legends after the final Chicago show.
The intros were a bit longer tonight perhaps due to it being the last show & Mick & the band seemed to want to show their own appreciation to the backing band & the crew. Finally there were no distractions during Keith's set, and he began his set by eluding to the fact that this was not going to be the last we saw or heard from the Stones. Thank Keith! Keith did a beautiful rendition of Thief & then our reggae rocker, You Don't Have To Mean It. I just love watching that man! After Keith's set, and us yelling a few "we love you Keith's", we headed to the B stage as Out Of Control began. The security guy back there wasn't going to let us through, but we begged & pleaded, explained what was about to happen & promised to return to our seats after the set was done & he finally gave in. I had to throw my leg over the back of a chair to keep some huge guy from butting in front of me, it was very uncomfortable, but I wasn't about to compromise my clear view of Keith (you can even hear my voice on a bootleg of the show). I swear I have more bruises after a Rolling Stones show then I ever have at any other time-it rough in the crowd! We were a bit miffed by the fact that personal cameras WERE allowed tonight & that of course this was the first time we hadn't brought one, but then again, I figure if I am busy snapping pictures I can't pay as close attention to the show itself. At least we knew Jim Crowley was shooting the show & he'd have some good ones when we returned home. The funniest thing at the B stage was when Keith left to walk up the catwalk & then returned to the B stage with a huge basket of flowers, and ended up chasing Mick to the other side of the B stage just to give it to him! We were laughing so hard, Keith chasing Mick with flowers-too funny! Bernard & Lisa were having a fantastic time & everyone in the band seemed to be all smiles tonight. As the show wound down, we moved up a bit & we had a great view of the final bow, I always try to take those last moments in...see ya in London in June boys! THANK YOU ROLLING STONES AND CREW FOR ANOTHER WONDERFUL TOUR OF THE U.S.!!
This time we took the free shuttle bus back to the hotel (we didn't know there was one the night before). We again got a table with our friends from the night before & had a few drinks. This time the backing band wasn't hanging in the lounge, except Blondie who was a few tables behind us. By now it must have been around 3am. We got pizza, French onion soup & a club sandwich upon returning to our room. After Jana & James left for the night we fell into bed, another tour over & tomorrow I had to head back home.
Before we left the hotel, we went to the bar around the corner for lunch & drinks and upon coming back to the hotel we stopped into the gift shop to buy the newspapers to read the reviews. The girl at the counter informed us that we had missed Keith by mere seconds! Shit! He had just come in to buy a pack of cigarettes with his American Express card! She proceeded to tell us he was rude & when I inquired why, she said because she asked him for his picture & autograph before completing his sale. Well, no wonder he was rude. I informed her that he wasn't obligated to give her his picture & autograph, that all the man wanted was some cigs & after all, it was a bit early in the day for Keith...3pm. She said Blondie was rude as well & we said he wasn't, it was just that these guys are sick of being hassled all the time for pix & autographs. We were bummed we missed Keith, but we went to the lobby to read the reviews & then our favorite cocktail waitress, Marlene, came over & made us special iced coffeee drinks & gave them to us on the house, which was sweet. She told us we had spent enough money, which we had! Before leaving we ended up checking out next to some of Ronnie's friends, whose room he had paid for and we saw Ron & Charlie leave the hotel. I flew home to Pittsburgh at 10pm that night.