#1 On Holy Grail Concert Bucket List Checked!

Posted by Alan Kovan on June 17, 2023 (0 Comments)

A well known fact about me is I have always been and still am a massive Rolling Stones fan. They created the record collecting monster in me.

In 1977 The Rolling Stones played two secret club gigs at the El Mocambo in Toronto. Not sure what the capacity was? Maybe 400. A Rolling Stones club show became my holy grail concert.

1981 it was Sir Morgan's Cove outside of Boston. 1989 it was Toads Place in Long Island. 1994 it was RPM in Toronto. 1997 it was the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. 2002 it was the Palais Royale in Toronto.

In 1997 I was living in Chicago. The Stones were starting their North American tour there. There were rumors they were going to play The Metro. I had connections with Virgin Records staff who were going to call me when they found out. I got to work on the morning of September 20 only to find out the Stones announced a club gig at The Double Door that night. It was less than a mile from my apartment. I could have walked there and bought a wristband had I been called. 

I told my friend whom I worked for and he told me to go home, change and meet him at his apartment. Either we would get in or go to dinner at Gibson's steak house. It was the proverbial win/win situation. He pulled every string he had. I arrived at his apartment around 4pm. Just before 5 pm the phone rang. It was Bernard Fowler, one of the Stones back up singers, and my friend asked him if it was possible to get us into that nights show. He said come by the Ritz Carlton and pick up a few passes. 

That we did. I still didn't believe we were going to get in. We went to dinner across from the Double Door and went outside and there were tons of people at the intersection. Also there was a huge line to get in. We were talking to a couple and the woman was very pregnant. We were speaking to the police with them and the police said just stay here. As soon as the doors open we will let you guys in first. Just nuts. Well our passes were good and we stood in front of the mixing desk about 75 feet from the stage. We were speaking to the guys in the mixing desk and then the lights went down and BAM! The Rolling Stones club show I had #1 on my bucket list started. To see them as a bar band was insane. 

Here is the set list:

They did not play Sister Morphine but what an amazing club show set list. We were joking around after the show with the two guys in the mixing desk and I saw the set list and asked if I could have it. There it is. With the magic pass.

Last night I watched a DVD of this show. Virgin Records shot it professionally as you can see how many camera angles there are. While at the actual show I was unaware of how "on" the Stones were that night. It was a surreal experience to be sure. Not sure how many generations down the line this is but here are the Rolling Stones as a bar band. Rolling Stones live Double Door Chicago 1997 RARE - YouTube You can fast forward to about 59:40 for Jumping Jack Flash just to see how great they were that night. There are other songs rarely played in this set list too.

What a night! 

Special thanks to: Geezer, Bernard Fowler, Carlos Alomar, Sheldon L., the two guys in the mixing desk and of course the Rolling Stones.


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