Soldier Field

The Rolling Stones play Soldier Field on June 27, 2024.

The Rolling Stones played at Soldier Field (across the street from me) tonight, Thursday, June 27th.

We were 3 rows from the top of the stadium until the $16 beer my spouse had consumed drove us to lower levels to seek a rest room.

I was quite happy to move from the top section, because a man (who had to go at least 300 pounds) was sitting ON me. I can’t remember a time that was worse, except for the play “Tommy” when a very large lady sat on me,,,and it wasn’t even her seat!. There was also the air trip back from Europe when a very large crippled man sat ON me. I am not small, myself—(although I’m 50 lbs. lighter than in the past)—but I seem to be a magnet for extremely heavy people to come sit ON me, literally.

But I digress.

The last time we saw the Rolling Stones at Soldier Field nobody stood up and blocked the view of other people. That was not the case this time, which I think was because the audience seemed to be composed, that last time, of oldsters like us, but a lot of younger fans were there this night, who danced throughout. Unfortunately, two of the non-stop dancers were standing right in front of us. One of them had no sense of rhythm and reminded of the Elaine episode on “Seinfeld.”

Keith Richard, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger at the Chicago show in 2024.

Mick. Ronnie & Mick.

The Stones opened with “Start Me Up” and the first four songs were among their top hits.

Things slowed down a bit after that, with songs that either were newer or were not as well-known.

Near the end, while singing “Just a Shot Away”, a very impressive female singer was highlighted and sang with Mick on the stage that leads into the audience. Chanel Haynes was terrific! She immediately reminded me of the documentary about Mick’s previous Black female back-up singer. Both of these women have voices that are so powerful that they literally can blow the roof off the place! Amazing!

Near the end of the concert we made an early trip to the rest rooms and, following that, chose to watch the finale songs from seats that were not sold, for reasons that we did not understand. The entire section was vacant, and all of the seats were quite close to the stage, (although off to the left.) We sat in the front row near the stage for “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” and “Jumping Jack Flash” and  other big hits.

The entire show was very enjoyable, except for the two girls that blocked our view of the stage most of the time..

Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, and Keith Richards onstage in Chicago on June 27, 2024.

This was the view from the seats NOT sold near the left side of the stage.

The weather was cooperative, cooling to the sixties and seventies.  It was so much cooler that I had to dig out a very old coat that I leave here for emergencies.

After we made it to our section (435) we had to climb 35 rows to seats 9 and 10. Since I generally was not able to walk at all at this time in 2022 and parts of 2023, I felt very happy that I was able to not only walk to the stadium, but also to climb multiple stairs to our seats and then down to the rest room areas on the ground floor. We didn’t spend long at the concession stand, where shirts were going for $50.

I’ve seen the Rolling Stones every tour since 1982, which is 32 straight years, but they have actually been touring for 62 years and this was their 40th show in Chicago. They bemoaned the possible destruction of Soldier Field (to be replaced with a newer stadium, ostensibly). I don’t think I’ve seen Keith Richards smile as much at any concert in those 32 years.

The other thing that made an impression on me was the new Black drummer, Steve Jordan, who replaced Charlie Watts. Very impressive that this band is still going strong after all these years, going back to my college years. I still remember hearing “Hey, You, Get Offa My Cloud!” as I walked through the student union on campus at the University of Iowa as a freshman, a song that they played tonight with a Reggae influence. I’ve been listening to the Rolling Stones ever since and—after the Beatles broke up (saw them in 1965 at the San Francisco Cow Palace)—I switched to following the Stones “live” when they tour.

Mick Jagger and his new Black back-up singer.

Mick Jagger and his Black back-up singer onstage in Chicago.

I still think their best tour was “Steel Wheels,” which I saw in Ames, but I remember the Voodoo Lounge, Bridges to Babylon, No Security and the very first one at the University of Northern Iowa Uni-Dome, when Mick and the boys dressed in American football outfits and he used a cherry-picker to float above the crowd. The worst show of theirs was the one that was held in Austin at a place (Circuit C? in 2022 that is normally used for road races. It was a disaster because of the venue. People could not make it to the place and turned around and went home. That was the last time before this one. One of the most memorable was when my daughter took me to the Indianapolis 500 race track for my 75th birthday celebration. It was held near the Fourth of July in 2020 and fireworks burst overhead as it ended.

I always wonder if I’m seeing the Stones on their final tour. How can Mick Jagger continue to perform at this level when he was born in 1943 (July 26) and is 81 years old next month? If only Joe Biden looked as fit and capable as Mick did this night. Instead, our president looked very frail. Jagger referred to the debate as “Viagarapalooze,” We were missing the debate between Biden and Trump this night and, after we saw it on tape afterwards, I am glad. It was so sad for such a good man, who seemed to have no voice at all this night to be attacked by DJT. I’m glad I was not there “live.”

Mick Jagger in the wings.

Mick leaves the stage.

The field at Soldier Field on June 27, 2024.

The stage. It resembled the stage used at the Indianapolis Speedway.

The band onstage near the end of their June 27, 2024 concert at Soldier Field in Chicgao.

Stage up close.

Mick Jagger and his Black female back-up singer.

Mick and the female Back-Up Singer with the dynamite voice (Chanel Haynes)  leave the stage.

Mick Jagger and his female Black back-up singer.

Mick Jagger and Chanel Haynes,

Mick Jagger and his female Black back-up singer take a bow.

Taking a bow with Chanel Haynes singer.