The Rolling Stones at the LA Forum March 6, 2006

30 Years is a Long Time to Wait The Stones Return to The Inglewood Forum LA

By Blue Lena

Monday March 6, 2006 was a special night in LA. It marked the return of the Rolling Stones to the Inglewood Forum, a venue they hadn’t visited since 1975 when they last played a 5 night stand there. Curiously, nine of the numbers we heard tonight were also played on that same stage some 30 years ago! They were Honky Tonk Women, Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Happy, It’s Only Rock N’ Roll, Midnight Rambler and Jumping Jack Flash. Well, that gave me some solace since I missed those ’75 shows, after all I was only 8 years old back then. I think I got a bigger bang at 38 than I would have at 8!

We began the day in the bar at the Four Seasons, which was coincidentally the night after the Academy Awards in Hollywood. The hotel was still filled with various celebs in addition to the Stones themselves. We had seen Dame Judy Dench, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Paul Giamatta, and even got to meet and shake hands with former Oscar winner and this year’s presenter, Morgan Freeman.

Our dilemma of the day was how to get to and from the Forum easily. Our friend Mary D. ended up reserving a car with the Four Seasons for pick-up after the show and thanks to the kindness of complete strangers and fellow Stones fans we met at the bar, we got a ride to and from the Forum. Thanks to Bob, Renee and Mary D!

We headed to the venue early & gathered with our friends in the VIP lounge before securing Rattlesnake passes around a ˝ hour later. The Forum was abuzz, and at one point Mick was whisked by us for an interview into the room beside the VIP & Rattlesnake area. Charlie was inside the Rattlesnake graciously having his photo snapped by various fans and admirers. We first had a chat with Tim Ries, sadly we’d have to miss his Rolling Stones Project show this time, since he was playing the following evening and we were leaving town. Next we saw Chuck & Rose Lane Leavell and congratulated them on becoming grandparents. The place was packed and it was the largest Rattlesnake Inn by far that we’d seen this tour. Patti Hansen, Keith’s wife, and his daughter Theo were seated near us when we finally managed to find two seats. The funniest thing happened when the opening act came on…the bartender was told by someone who was apparently clueless, to shut down the bar until the opening act finished, so we could all leave and enjoy the opener. What?! I knew he was mistaken, and tried to tell him so, as most of the people in the Rattlesnake were certainly not going to be leaving to catch an opening band, no offense to Queens of the Stone Age or their special guest Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Finally a Stones staffer told him he needed to reopen the bar, people were thirsty!

When the Rattlesnake closed, we needed to use the restroom, and they aren’t fond of people lingering in the Rattlesnake after it closes, so everyone was shooed into the hallway. Luckily, Stones security knows we’ve had this predicament before and let us use the private restroom in the room where Mick has been interviewed just moments before! We made our way down to the floor and to our seats, which were on Ronnie’s side, surprisingly. The seating map had told us otherwise. But, we certainly weren’t going to complain since we were in the front row!

It was hard not to think it was a bittersweet moment, this was after all, going to be the last show of the US Tour for me. When the lights went down at around 9:15pm, and Mick, Keith and the boys hit the stage in the darkness, you knew they meant business. They seemed relaxed and in fine form from the get-go. The setlist was as follows:

1. Jumping Jack Flash 2. It's Only Rock' n Roll 3. Oh No Not You Again 4. Sway 5. Far Away Eyes 6. Worried About You 7. Tumbling Dice 8. Midnight Rambler 9. Gimme Shelter 10. This Place Is Empty (KR) 11. Happy (KR) 12. Miss You (B-stage) 13. Rough Justice 14. Respectable 15. Honky Tonk Women (back to main stage) 16. Sympathy For The Devil 17. Start Me Up 18. Brown Sugar 19. You Can't Always Get What You Want (encore) 20. Satisfaction (encore)

We knew we were in for something special again when “Sway” cropped up as the 4th tune. It was crisp and polished, perhaps better than the previous two times I’d heard it this tour. But, it was the song that came next that floored and surprised us all-“Far Away Eyes”! First time this tour! The first line I sang as “Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord” and I meant it. Perfect for the LA Forum, a place that doubles as a church these days…Ronnie was on slide, Mick on guitar and when Mick sang “Well the preacher kept right on saying that all I had to do was send ten dollars to the church of the sacred bleeding heart of Jesus located somewhere in Los Angeles, California and next week they’d say my prayer on the radio and all my dreams would come true so I did, the next week, I got a prayer with a girl well, you know what kind of eyes she got…” the crowd just erupted. Keith was singing harmonies, “so if you’re down on your luck, and you can’t harmonize…”. It simply made the Forum show all worth it.

And, as if things couldn’t get any better that was followed by Mick sitting down at the keyboard, which meant one thing “Worried About You”. I love when Mick says “BABY!” in his falsetto. Beautiful. “Midnight Rambler” what can I say? I can never hear it enough, and I’ve heard it so much that old adage, “the next version will be the best one I hear” always rings true. Whe Mick did the intros he went over the Charlie and said something, which prompted Charlie to utter “NO” into the mic, a rare moment to hear Charlie say anything during the show and it got a laugh. During Keith’s set I was happy during “Happy” to see that Keith was still wearing the silver sequined belt I had given in back in Chicago in January. When we made it to the B stage, we were in the back corner on Ronnie’s side. “Respectable” was the surprise we got there. The boys were bouncing around, Mick towered over top of us several times.

The usual warhorses ended the show for us, a sudden sadness during “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, but I guess this tour I may not have gotten everything I wanted, but I sure did get what I needed. The confetti fell on our heads and the last rings of “Satisfaction” filled the air and it was over.

We headed out to find our friends, found a great bootleg long sleeved t-shirt and found our waiting towne car thanks to Mary D. and jumped in. Back to the Four Seasons for our last after party. Goodbyes to Tim, Darryl and Blondie. Patti & Theo were in the bar again. Upstairs to bed with wonderful memories of A Bigger Bang 2005-2006 US Tour.