We arrived in London via Gatwick Airport on Sunday August 19. The weather was typical for London, grey, rainy and chilly. We stayed at the Lime Tree Hotel B&B, just around the corner from Victoria Station, on a quiet side street in Belgravia.
On Monday we went to the Savoy Hotel to pick up our Stones tickets. We were delighted to learn we had 3rd row Keith's side for the 21st and Keith's side on the aisle in the second floor section for night #2. Sadly, we weren't able to stay in London for the last 02 show on Aug. 26.
At the Savoy we ran into Blondie and he invited us to the bar for a drink (thanks for the beer Blonz!). Later I said hellos to Tim Ries and Bernard and some Stones friends I hadn't seen since November in the States.
While in London we managed to see some of the traditional sights such as Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, the Tate Britain, the Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as the Tower of London. We saw most everything else from the outside only by taking a London double decker bus tour and a Thames boat cruise. We walked around Picadilly Circus, Chelsea and Covent Garden as well. Sadly, I never did have time to visit the various Stones sights I had hoped to see, such as Keith's old house in Chelsea and Edith Grove, etc.
Mick's girlfriend L'Wren spent some time chatting near our table...man is that girl tall and skinny! By 7pm it was a zoo backstage and the place was packed, but it was a huge room so it accomodated the large crowd well. We left for our seats around 8:30 or so.
Security was so non existent that we never even had our ticket ripped or checked! Once on the floor we saw tons of people we knew and were sitting next to Bjornulf from IORR. Said hello to Angela Richards again and her husband Dominic, it was so nice to see them again.
The show itself was fun and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't one of my all time favorites. I think partly because security let the front aisles get crowded with people who didn't belong there, and a certain guy in our aisle left his seat and squeezed by us for beer literally 15 times during the show.
My faves of the night were Rocks Off (even though they messed up the ending), Beast of Burden, Let It Bleed, Can't You Hear Me Knocking and I'll Go Crazy (since I hadn't heard that one yet). Lisa was awesome.
I did manage to get front of the B stage on the rail on Keith's side so that was nice, and Respectable was different to hear again. I thought they were good tonight, but not great, but I think it's just because there weren't any major surprises for me in the set and the lack of security in the front meant there was tons of people trying to squeeze into our row and then blocking our view sometimes. I also had come off a total high in Vegas and Atlantic City with those stellar arena shows, and it was hard to top those for me, even if I was 3rd row in London.
I left tired and happy and looking forward to what the 23rd would bring.
On the off night I went to see Tim Ries at the Astoria 2 (Mean Fiddler). I saw a lot of great Stones fans there, and even briefly went backstage. Blondie was in the house and Lisa Fischer was a special guest. She and Bernard did the most killer duet of Ruby Tuesday, it brought the house down. The gig also raised a lot of money for charity, which was cool. I ran into Tony Dunn near the end of the show, which was great. Another fun night in London. I skipped the after party since I had to catch the last tube train back to the hotel.
All Down the Line was buzzing with guitars and I thought they did a very decent version of She's So Cold. The absolute highlight of tonight's show for me was Shine A Light! Wow. Brilliant. I waited a long time to hear that song played live and finally tonight during my 75th show I got it! I had asked Tim Ries before the show to put in a good word for it, afterall he plays keys with Chuck on it. I was afraid they were saving it for Sunday since they rehearsed Angie as well. I shed a tear during that one, it was a moment when time stood still. Rambler was brilliant as always, Keith was fun to watch during that one. I'll Go Crazy was enjoyable again with wonderful horns and the lovely Lisa stealing the show.
Keith didn't change his set, but did a nice job and always adds new lines to Wanna Hold You. He lit up again and said "might as well get busted!" It was a classic line delivered perfectly as he took one drag and flicked it away. I went to the B stage and got front rail this time. Great view of the entire set and tossed Keith a scarf during HTW. As the streamers fell from the ceiling I was thankful that I was here to see the boys one last time on their home turf...but Mick did say that the press is making a big deal out of these shows being the last ones and he basically said it's not true!
During the final bow I saw my scarf around Keith's neck among a multitude of other scarves he's collected. On the way out the doors I was interviewed by UK TV who asked me if the Stones should hang it up? Hell no, they are better than ever I said! Goodnight from London.