Sunday, October 2, 2011

There's A Riot Goin' On

After a short lay off The Rolling Stones soon got back into it. During a show at Spa Royal Hall, Bridlington (July 11, 1964) there was some fighting in the crowd, and many girls fainted - things were back to normal on stage. July was otherwise anything but a typical month: the band only played nine gigs, the quietest month since they'd starting playing together.

So after the rigours of US touring, on top of a hectic UK schedule, the Stones had a relatively easy period on their return. During the summer there were two mini-tours and a trip to The Netherlands for the band's first proper European gig. But the fighting during shows seemed to get worse. During a gig at the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool (July 24, 1964), a gang of drunken Scots started fighting their way to the front, and after some warning Keith Richards kicked one of them in the head.

'It was very nearly the date on my gravestone', remembered Ian Stewart, a Scotsman himself: 'Keith still thought he was God and that he could kick one of these guys and get away with it. The rest of the band already turned, realising they had to get off stage. I just pushed Keith and said, "For fuck's sake get out of here while you're still alive". Stu arrived at the band's hotel later that evening to return the kit, or rather the fragments that remained. That night, almost anything got smashed up.

Soon after, history would repeat itself. On Saturday 8 August the Stones played a venue in Holland called the Kurhaus and things quickly turned into a disaster. As soon as the curtains opened the crowd went berserk. 100 police were moved in position to protect the band and it ended up with chandeliers being broken and tapestries torn from walls. After two numbers the leads were pulled from the mics and the band ended up as spectators to a riot. Stu was right in the firing line and got hit by a bottle.

What an irony: at one time forced to step down from the basic band, the next moment standing in the frontline, trying to save the band's equipment while catching bottles and things.

Adapted from the following source: Bill Wyman, Rolling With The Stones, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2002.

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