Stones Free? Not By a Long Shot …

The rumor has grown and become official, sorta. The Rolling Stones are indeed coming to Austin, as leaked last Friday, although this official proclamation comes without important details such as ticket prices, opening bands, or notes on how many EMS technicians will be required to keep Keith strumming throughout the show.

While there are no details yet announced, you can expect some of the following:

  • Tickets will not be cheap. Admission will probably be on the order of a ACL Festival pass, meaning around $100 per.
  • Attendance will be big, but not as big as ACL Festival. Numbers should be in the neighborhood of 50,000.
  • Speaking of neighborhood, this event should provide some interesting opportunities for the park and surrounding areas.

The feedback on the Statesman page are decidedly mixed, with several comments voicing doubts about the age / relevance / price / appropriateness of the show amidst the numerous “hell yeah’s!” echoed from the initial rumor announcement. No doubt many are going to be disappointed by the relatively high entry fee, but for better or worse the open environment of Zilker negates opportunities for tiered pricing. Late-comers sitting near Stratford Dr. won’t get discounts on their “cheap seats,” although given the trend of ACL Fest amenities, you can bet there will be some big VIP spending opportunities to sit up close and personal.

Assuming global warming doesn’t accelerate apocalyptically between now and then, the late October weather should create an enjoyable setting for an outdoor show. CSE’s current sprinkling efforts will hopefully keep the park in sufficient shape to provide soft seating and a dust-free atmosphere. Come to think of it, this show could be Austin’s most bucolic music performance since the days when the Backyard really had a backyard.

Even if the weather holds, supporting bands will be critical to driving the shows caché, particularly among non-boomers looking for another reason to see the Stones beyond mere curiosity. The folks at Austinist are speculating Jet and Franz Ferdinand might come along, which might make a good “May-December” musical fit. The main question will be whether it’s enough to justify a c-note entry fee.

Let’s see what the officials spill at the announcement later today. I’m anxious to hear if they propose anything about logistics, but at this late date I think it’s safe to assume that the standard bus / neighborhood overcrowding will be the default for the Stones show. However, the folks at CSE have demonstrated an ability and willingness to incrementally improve ACL in all aspects over the years, and I expect this approach will pay dividends for the next big show in Zilker.

2 Comments so far

  1. Robert (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

    It’s about time “The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World” plays the “Live Music Capital of the World”. How did this take so long to happen?

  2. Steve (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

    I’ve seen the Stones live twice. Once in San Diego in 1981? and in Ft. Worth in 1989. They are a great band but neither of the shows I attended produced a very good live sound.

    This partly because they don’t always play their own songs true to form, and Jagger seems to shout/garble a lot of the lyrics.

    I’ll probably go see them at Zilker for nostalgia, and I hope the sound is better than my other experiences.

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