Lori and Mike Venturini – the Rolling Stones Concert

I have followed pop culture all of my life. As a very young child, I remember Lou Monte singing “Pepino, the Italian Mouse” on the Ed Sullivan show. My parents took me to see the Beatles movie “Help!” at the theater–I had to sit by myself, because there were not 2 adjoining seats left anywhere. My first 45 RPM record was “The Unicorn” by the Irish Rovers. My first cassette was Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” The first 33 RPM LP I bought with my own money was “Golden Biscuits” by Three Dog Night. My first 8-track tape was Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare.” My first CD was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” All of these records still have a special place in my heart—and I listen to them often. I have music in one form or another by Billy Idol, Billy Joel, Billy Gilman, Billy Ocean, Billy Squire, and Billy Joe Royal. My collection includes Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewert, Shania Twain, Andrea Boccelli, Michael Jackson, Kid Rock, Dean Martin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Trick Pony, and thousands of others. One of my all time favorite albums is by a guy formerly known as John Cougar. My recent music collection is filled with tunes from Kid Rock, Cold Play, Rod Stewert, and John Mayer.

I am addicted to TV programs like American Idol and have eagerly followed the careers of most of the contestants. I can listen to rap guys speak and can actually translate most every word. When I channel surf on the TV, I usually end up on GAC, VH-1, or MTV—I like them all. I do internet searches for lyrics to pop songs so I can sing along and get it right. My wife asked Sherisa, our 14-year-old neighbor, who the biggest kid on the block is. Without hesitation, she said “Mr. Mike”—that’s me.

sticky-fingers1Our friend, Ed, thought he was going through a mid-life crisis—when he turned 44, he had a job that required a lot of travel. To help alleviate the pressure, his wife, Peggy, joined the Rolling Stones fan club so that she would be able to purchase concert tickets to their Detroit concert before they went on sale to the general public. She bought 4 tickets and asked my wife, Lori, and me to join them at the concert in Detroit on Wednesday night, August 31, 2005. This was part of her plan to let Ed know that he is not as old as he thought. He had missed a Stones concert back in college because he didn’t have 20 bucks for the show. This was an opportunity to turn back the clock for one night.

The Stones have never been one of my favorite acts. They had been selling records for almost 20 years before they made one I liked. “Beast of Burden” is the one that did it for me. My local station had “block party weekends” and “2-fer Tuesdays” where they would play multiple tracks by a single artist. It was at that time that I finally started paying attention to some of their classic tunes. “Satisfaction” may now be the best rock ’n’ roll song of all time on my personal list—and I never really liked it until it was an “oldie.”

I saw the Rolling Stones on their “Tattoo You” tour back in the 80’s at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago—our seats had a “partially obstructed view”, and the sound was just awful! The acoustics were so bad that I recognized only two songs before they got to the chorus! So, when Ed & Peggy asked us to join them for an outdoor concert at Comerica Park in Detroit for $160 a ticket, I was filled with apprehensions. My expectation level was very low, so even a mediocre show would be a decent mark from me. We don’t get out much, we own the Munro House Bed and Breakfast in Jonesville, Michigan–it’s a 24/7 job. We covered our work for the night and decided to go. At worst, we would get to spend the evening in the company of good friends.

Our seats were in the 28th row on the baseball field near 2nd base—a great location. The show was SPECTACULAR! They had an awesome stage and incredible lighting, a jumbo-tron (so everybody could see), plus pyrotechnics, great acoustics, and excellent stage presence by each member of the band. They played all the songs I wanted to hear and seemed to be truly enjoying themselves during their performance.

mick-jaggerWhen the Stones moved down the center walkway stage, I was privileged to be the only hand Mick Jagger slapped on his way back to the main stage! I became an instant celebrity with the concert-goers around me. Total strangers—most with gray hair and wearing vintage Rolling Stones paraphernalia–were high-fiving me and giving me prolonged hugs. I was some sort of hero for about a minute. That moment was my personal highlight of the evening.

Ed’s mid-life crisis changed dramatically from the previous week–it may be over thanks to “Mick and the boys.” Lori and Peggy may have enjoyed watching Ed and me more than the concert. I left Detroit feeling even younger than before. I was electrified by a superior performance by some of the greatest entertainers in the world. These guys are in their 60’s and have more energy than a lot of young people. I can’t wait to get old!

I have been to an NBA and an NFL championship game where my team won. This Rolling Stones concert ranks right up there as one of the “top 3” live events I have ever witnessed in person. If you get a chance to go—make your plan, budget your money, and go—whether it’s the Rolling Stones or another performer that makes you happy. I may have to devise a mid-life crisis so that the four of us can go to another event. In fact, we all may just have to develop some sort of crisis every year!

Life is good in Jonesville.

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Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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