Rolling back the years

Costa del Sol News - - FRONT PAGE -

By Gra­ham Shel­ton n 1964, 15-year-old Kathy Par­sons bunked off school. This alone would have caused her par­ents to be some­what dis­pleased. Had they known that she had done so to buy tick­ets to see the Rolling Stones at the Col­ston Hall in Bristol, she would prob­a­bly have been sent to a convent for ca­vort­ing with long­haired hea­thens who would never amount to much.

Lit­tle did Kathy know that 53 years later she was again to be in pos­ses­sion of a ticket to see the same group that had in the in­ter­ven­ing years achieved world­wide iconic sta­tus.

The train ride to Barcelona was as usual a won­der­ful trip. The Span­ish rail sys­tem is sec­ond to none, what a pity that the or­gan­i­sa­tion at the Olympic sta­dium was not man­aged by the same peo­ple.

By fluke, we bumped into a young French cou­ple in the ho­tel re­cep­tion who were head­ing to the same gig, so we de­cided to skip the planned meal and shared a taxi with them, ar­riv­ing 3 hours early- good job as it turned out

The queues were enor­mous and we quickly grew sick and tired of hear­ing an an­nounce­ment that all bags had to be handed in to a se­cure area be­fore en­try. Naturally in nei­ther of the three lan­guages did it say where the se­cure area was, so we all stayed in line to even­tu­ally hand over the bags at the head of the queue only to be mar­shalled out to join an­other line to get into the sta­dium. Our tick­ets were scanned, oops there is a prob­lem, please go the “in­ci­dent con­trol”. None of the staff knew where this was of course, but we even­tu­ally found it and were greeted by about 2000 oth­ers in the same po­si­tion.

A let­ter in English was given

Ito us ad­vis­ing that we had bought our tick­ets from a nonau­tho­rised source (Vi­a­gogo) so were in­valid and we would not get into see the Stones. The let­ter from “Doc­tor Mu­sic” stated that they wanted to take the sell­ers to court for a re­fund of ticket costs and if we signed a let­ter of au­thor­ity, they would help all in­volved. Well as the tick­ets cost over €300 each, why not? Sur­pris­ingly the at­mos­phere in the queue was fa­tal­is­tic; every­one shared with their neigh­bours’ sto­ries of the ticket sales. Many did not bother to wait and one es­capee from the rough end of Benidorm was yelling in English to give up as we had all been scammed

The au­tho­ri­sa­tions were signed and handed to a young lady who ex­plained that she had up­dated the ticket in­for­ma­tion and that whilst we may get into the sta­dium, we may not get into the seat­ing area. So, from ini­tially not be­ing al­lowed to at­tend the con­cert ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, en­ter­ing the Sta­dium meant that we would at least be able to hear the fa­mous war­blers, if not see them

By now we had been in one queue or an­other for three hours, walked for miles out­side the vast sta­dium and the gig was about to start. We joined yet an­other queue, ap­proach­ing yet an­other mar­shal with a bar code scan­ner and our tick­ets passed scru­tiny! Hopes were ris­ing, peo­ple were be­ing al­lowed in, by now with their bags, guess the stor­age area was full. LOL. At the sec­ond scan­ning point, re­lief as again no prob­lems, but what about the seats? We found them empty so parked our butts. The cou­ple next to us had shared the same ex­pe­ri­ence, so what ex­actly was the prob­lem?

Mick Jag­ger bounced on stage, the packed sta­dium went wild, the be­gin­ning of a great show. By now, beers were in or­der so I skipped to the floor be­low. The bar was busy but the staff weren’t, they must have been used to work­ing in a laid-back beach ‘chirin­guito’. Frus­trated I spot­ted a qui­eter bar and shot across there. A pretty girl stared to pour the first drink, the bar­rel went, she tried chang­ing it but did not know how. Back to the first bar where I asked for two half-litre beers. “We don’t have that size,” re­sponded laid-back. “Ac­cord­ing to the no­tice here you do,” I re­joined. “Oh yeah, hang on”. “How much?”, “€24”. “Bloody hell, I don’t want to buy the brew­ery,” I thought. Out came a 20 note and a fist full of change, which I asked the bar­man to count, as I didn’t have my specs with me. “You are 10 cents short,” he said. “You want 10 cents?” “Yes, that is the price”.

Jag­ger was singing “Paint it Black” which per­fectly matched my mood. The mo­ronic bar­man was given a €5 note and a few choice words learned on the streets of my Span­ish vil­lage, which drew ap­pro­ba­tion from an­other cus­tomer. The id­iot even hung back with the euro change, clearly hop­ing for a tip. He got one that in­vited him to go and en­joy sex and travel.

The Rolling Stones con­cert was worth ev­ery cent, but af­ter all the grief, queue­ing, walk­ing, then look­ing for a cab to the ho­tel, we also felt like the “Strolling Bones”.

Kathy Par­sons and Gra­ham Shel­ton

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