Vintage Concert Bill: Rolling Stones - 29th November 1989 - 'Steel Wheels' tour Print E-mail
Written by Bill Lindsey   
Sunday, 25 January 2015 04:00


Rolling Stones - Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis - 29th November 1989 - 'Steel Wheels' tour

2015 is here and this starts my third year scribbling for the mighty Uber Rock website. I had thought I may be running out of cool shows to tell you about in Vintage Concert Bill. But, after sitting down and making a list, I came to see for myself that there were many more rabbits left to pull out of the old hat. I refreshed my own memory and was pleasantly surprised by what other tales of madness I could tell. So to kick off the new year I thought I'd start with the mother of all concert events. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones.


Arguably one of the biggest events in rock and roll is when the Rolling Stones do a world tour. It is always a GIANT event and a media circus with articles about the band and show starting to show up in local newspapers a week before the event. Tickets always sell out in a matter of minutes. So they always attract tons of gate crashers trying to get in to see these legends in the flesh.


A couple of my friends and I witnessed this first hand back in the '70s. It was intimidating to say the least! Closest thing to a mob scene I ever witnessed. Tribes of teenagers, Police dogs, Cop cars turned over.


Anyway, in the mid '80s the Stones kind of took a sabbatical or some say they broke up. Mick and Keith had a very public falling out in the press and both guys proceeded to put out solo material and did not pursue the Stones at all. It was sad as they were one of the last of the old guard of the '60s giants that still existed.




Then, in the late '80s things began to look up as the boys were talking again, patched things up and went back into the studio to record 'Steel Wheels'. Sadly this would be the last record and tour for bassist Bill Wyman. The album itself did well but was somewhat alright compared to 'Tattoo You' or 'Some Girls'. 'Mixed Emotions' and 'One Hit To The Body' were both really good songs and MTV staples during that year of 1989.


But when a band like The Stones tour it really doesn't matter what album is released. They are going to be pulling a set list together with some of the greatest albums ever made: 'Sticky Fingers', 'Exile On Main Street', 'Beggars Banquet', and 'Some Girls' to name a few. It's going to be mammoth and historical! Mick's Rock and Roll assassin squad will take you by the scruff of your neck and shake the hell out of you. And that's all just the first song, mate!


And then the North American tour was announced. Minneapolis Metrodome! A giant domed baseball/football stadium that was home to world champion Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings!! It was a HUGE venue and the Stones sold it out not once but TWICE on this tour! With Living Color as the support band.


I was in commercial art school at the time and poor but I was not going to let this opportunity slip by. I needed to sell some records and collectibles to get the cash! But I did not bat an eye as I collected the money and kept it safe in my underwear drawer. You see I had always wanted to see the Stones and was always denied by lack of funds or not being lucky enough to snag a ticket before they sold out. My closest experience beside being scared away by the mob at Black And Blue tour (as mentioned above) was watching Ladies And Gentlemen The Rolling Stones concert film at the midnight movie showings. I LOVED that movie and it is still one of the best concert films of all time.


When I finally scraped all my money together and went down to the ticket office at Dayton's in Minneapolis all that was left was obstructed view tickets. But I did not care! I was glad there was SOMETHING left. I just needed to get into the show and I'd be fine. No gate crashing for this fella! As I made my purchase for two tickets and was putting my wallet back in order a clerk came out from a room back behind the ticket counter and announced to her coworkers in a loud voice, "WE got all the credit card returns on the Rolling Stones tickets, eighth row, tenth row!!" I said "what does that mean?" to the woman helping me. She told me these were tickets ordered on people's credit cards, but the credit card companies did not honor the sales because of over due payments on the owner's bill. "So...those tickets are available?" "Can I return these obstructed view tickets for those eighth row tickets?"


Ticket Lady nodded her head and cheerfully said "Sure, which ones?" I wanted to be as close as possible. "Eighth row please!!" My heart was beating out of my chest. Was this some joke that ticket ladies pull on young long hairs? How could I be so DAMN lucky?? I thought they would start laughing and pointing at me at any moment saying "JUST KIDDING!!" But no, she printed me out two tickets for the eighth row, main floor to see The Rolling FUCKING Stones!!! I walked out of Dayton's with the biggest, most stupid grin on my face EVER! (and believe me I've had some stupid grins in my day ...still do)




One thing about having seats closest to the stage is literally walking the length of a football/baseball field to find them. The Stones had a giant stage that filled one end of the floor easily. We found our seats and they were great. Our seats were smack dab in the middle of the row with a straight view to the stage.


Living Colour was very popular at the time with the smash song 'Cult Of Personality' and 'Open Letter (To A Landlord)'. They ripped it up with a high energy show. Guitar god Vernon Reid was amazing to watch in a live setting. Bassist Muzz Skillings was super energetic and SOLID on bass locked in with amazing drummer Will Calhoun. Corey Glover was a great energetic showman singing with loads of passion and gave it his all throwing his dreads all over jumping and dancing. The whole band were really energetic and musical virtuosoes. I think they should have been HUGE and are sadly missed as a live entity. These gents could definately show new bands a thing or two.




The Stones came on and the crowd spewed forth a gigantic wave of noise and excited energy. It slam down towards the stage. Being the most packed indoor event that I have ever attended I can tell you it was GIGANTIC in scope! So many people showing love and anticipation for this legendary band. The open cords for 'Start Me Up' answered back to the crowd and I for one was in rock 'n roll bliss!


Mick ran onto the stage and really did not stop moving his feet for the next two hours. Prancing, dancing, strutting and spitin' out lyrics, the guy is the prototypical rocking frontman. He wrote the frontman book for many generations who still read from it to this day. Moves like Jagger? Nobody else moves like Mr. J!  


Keith Richard and Ron Wood always look like they are having a blast playing together and are very tight with their trade offs and weaving together guitar parts, laughing and banging into each other. One of the best six string teams in Rock and Roll. Of course seeing the legends that are Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman in the flesh was very, very cool. And just as legendary was Bobby Keys (R.I.P.) and the horn section, doing their thing live. Adding a fullness to the live sound that was amazing.


They played a splendid selection of songs spanning their brilliant career. From my favorite album, 'Sticky Fingers', they played 'Bitch', 'Dead Flowers', and 'Brown Sugar'. 'Shattered', 'Miss You' from 'Some Girls', 'It's Only Rock And Roll', 'Paint It Black',' 2000 Light Years From Home', 'Gimme Shelter' and 'Happy' were personal favorites from the set.


They played 'Midnight Rambler' and Mick slapped the stage over and over with his belt and a gigantic blowup Bar Room Queen who expanded high into the Metrodome during 'Honky Tonk Woman'. Winding out the set with '(I Can't Get No)' Satisfaction with the giant stage lit up like the strip in Vegas. But the crowd was relentless and was not going let the band leave it at that. Then the opening chords for my number one favorite song of all time, 'Jumping Jack Flash', got everyone rocking again! I knew they would play it and had been waiting. They laid it down and ripped it up. DIRTY, SLEAZY, ASS KICKIN' Rock and Roll! It was over and I felt great!! I had seen the STONES! One of my ambitions as a long time fan and concert goer.


As we waited for the Dome to clear out so we could exit the stadium (when you're closest to the stage you're the last to get out of the building.) I was so thankful that somebody out there DID NOT pay their charge card bill. Thanks again!