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Attendees at '69 Stones concert at Assembly Hall share memories
Posted by: Cristiano Radtke ()
Date: June 29, 2015 10:02

I've just found this nice article about the 1969 concert at Champaign, Illinois, with some great stories from people who attended it.

On Nov. 15, 1969, everyone agrees it was cold, that Mick Jagger told the crowd something about getting off their butts and that he wore a cape.
Otherwise, there's wide disagreement about the two concerts the Stones played with B.B. King on that day at the Assembly Hall, now State Farm Center.
Some of our readers think it was one of the great concerts of their lifetimes; others were left in the cold.
The 1969 tour was touted by critics as the beginning of the rock super-tour, and is recorded in one of the great live albums, "Get Your Ya-Yas Out," the first live album to reach No. 1 in the UK.
There's a bootleg recording of the concert on the Internet; you can hear it here.
Sounds like Mr. Jagger is making fun of one of the smaller cities the Stones visited.

Mike Bleich, Gibson City

The '69 concert at the Assembly Hall was my first rock-concert experience. We made the trip to Champaign from Macomb, where I was a freshman at Western Illinois University.
We arrived a bit late at the concert, just as many of the fans from the upper sections began to rush the floor. We stood and watched the remainder of the opening act, B.B. King, and the entire Stones concert from somewhere on the floor. I remember Mick dancing around the stage in his black cape; I intend to travel to Indy on July 4 to see the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world again.

Veda Barrett, Champaign

I saw the Rolling Stones at Assembly Hall. Mick Jagger threw long red roses to the crowd. Someone threw them back on stage and Mick walked off. He was done!

Richard Derk, Los Angeles

I photographed the first show for the Daily Illini. The crowd was quite polite, at the urging of the Assembly Hall management. I was at the front of a rather low, simple stage. After three or four songs, Mick Jagger stepped to the mike and yelled "Hey, Champaign-Urbana, get up off your asses" and the band launched into a thrilling performance of "Midnight Rambler." The crowd surged forward, a large mass of humanity, and it was obvious I was in trouble as in I might be crushed into the stage. A large Stones bodyguard reached down and grabbed me under my arms and pulled me up on the stage. He put me to the side behind an amp and said "stay here, don't move." I stayed there and got some very nice images from the stage with Mick and the crowd beyond him. One ran in Rolling Stone, which at that time was quite a thrill for me. Since then I photographed or attended nine other Stones shows, but that first one was one of the real wild experiences of my photojournalism career.

Mike Hansen, Champaign

They were supposed to perform two shows that evening. One I think was at 5 p.m., and the other one at 8 p.m. The first show was over two hours late in starting. Everyone was mad. When they finally started, no one would stand or cheer for them, until Mick Jagger yelled, "I want to see you people move your asses." The place erupted. They wouldn't let anyone in for the second show until the first one was over. They waited over two hours outside to get in.

I was supposed to have a blind date that night. I was supposed to pick up my date at 8 p.m. I called her from a pay phone and said I had car trouble. I know she heard Mick Jagger singing in the background. I was too cheap to take a girl that I didn't even know to see the Stones.

Stan James, Rantoul

Back in 1969, I was a junior in high school when four friends and I went to the Rolling Stones concert.
It was the first time I had gone to an event at the Assembly Hall.
I recall we had seats in C-section, and the place was full of people. During the concert it was hard to hear most of the song lyrics due to all the noise coming from the crowd.
I remember huge rolled joints being passed around (I didn't partake) and wondered why no one was telling people to stop doing so.
Keith Richards seemed to be feeling ill or was on something, as he stayed in the background much of the show.
My sense of the concert when it ended was they really didn't sound much like their recordings and other than Mick prancing about during their show, I was not too impressed.
After the concert, one of our group had heard the Stones were staying in Urbana at a hotel, and we all should go find them. We didn't go looking for them; instead, we headed back to Rantoul.
I still listen to their music and find it amazing they are still well known and playing to huge crowds.
The stories those guys could tell would take years to read.

P. Larry Nelson, Newman

I started out sitting in a section above the main floor, and then at some point, after a break maybe, I and others started moving down onto the floor in front of the stage. Pot smoke was everywhere. No need to light up when all you needed to do was inhale the air around you.

Nancy Claar Flom, Petaluma, Calif.

I was a senior at the University of Illinois that year. A friend and I had planned to go to the Vietnam Moratorium in Washington together that weekend. They were sending a bus from the campus and we had already paid our $25 to go, which was a lot of money back then. However, a couple of days before we were supposed to leave, my friend got cold feet, so I decided to see if I could get tickets to see the Stones. Amazingly, there were quite a few seats left, and I got three for the afternoon show.

We showed up on time, but the Stones didn't. The show started two-and-a-half hours late and everyone waited, more or less patiently. I don't recall anyone giving up and leaving. The story circulating in the stands was that the Stones were there, but their equipment wasn't. When the show finally started, we saw B.B. King, Terry Reid and The Rolling Stones. It was a fantastic concert and worth the wait.

Debbie Stewart, Urbana

I attended the Rolling Stones concert at the Assembly Hall in 1969. What a killer show! I was 16. The day of the show, I was running a 103 temperature and had bronchial pneumonia but crawled out of the house to see one of the best shows EVER! It was magic!

Patty Hendrix Chicoine, raised in Champaign, now in Houston

I was not a Stones fan, but my boyfriend was, so we went. There were two concerts scheduled, back to back. Fortunately, we had tickets to the earlier concert. For reasons that I do not think were ever explained to the crowd, the Stones did not take the stage until nearly two hours after their scheduled time. The Stones being the Stones, I think we all thought it was drug- or alcohol-related, but the truth was probably more mundane.

When the Stones finally took the stage, the angry crowd quieted to a dull roar and got into the spirit of the famous rock band. Our seats were very high up, but there was no question which performer was Jagger when he came out on stage. The man gyrated mercilessly and reminded me of what a chicken with its head cut off might look like. The concert did nothing to turn me into a Stones fan, but those who came in loving the group probably still loved them when the concert ended.

It was quite cold, and those who were to attend the second concert had to wait outside in that cold until the first concert cleared out. I assume most arrived well in advance of the scheduled second concert time, so they had to wait an additional approximate two hours in verycold weather. As we left the first concert, we had to push through the huddled angry masses who were waiting for the second concert. And, in good faith, I could not even tell them it was worth waiting for.


Re: Attendees at '69 Stones concert at Assembly Hall share memories
Posted by: swiss ()
Date: June 29, 2015 11:24

Thanks for posting, Cristiano!

Re: Attendees at '69 Stones concert at Assembly Hall share memories
Posted by: Rank Stranger ()
Date: June 29, 2015 12:17

Thanks, Christiano!

Aah, peoples memories!

Jagger's "asses" yell is on my tape after Little Queenie!!

Midnight Rambler is the 9th song in the setlist;
maybe the guy tries to remember with the help from "Ya-Yas"?
There it is the fifth track!

...and nobody remembers Jagger's "country-boy" introconfused smiley

But get me right, I love to read those memories!!

Re: Attendees at '69 Stones concert at Assembly Hall share memories
Posted by: TumblinDice76 ()
Date: June 29, 2015 17:26

Thank you for posting this! My mom is 64 years old and still is disappointed that she wasn't allowed to go to this show! Several years ago I gave her a pretty solid bootleg copy of the show. She listens to it all the time.

To start the show, Jagger speaks in a fake Southern Accent and talks about what it is like to be in such a big town!

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