The Rolling Stones and Robert Frost

I feel like a privileged person, as I think back on this story.  Also, there is an urge to brag a little, not about any personal worth or accomplishment, but about some of the things I have seen and loved in my lifetime, music-wise.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, my little circle of friends (along with millions of others, I suppose) were on the rock concert trail.  I went to my first one in 1965, I think.
It was The Beatles.  We got our advance tickets at some little cigar store agency.  They were $8.00 each.  Mom thought that was a lot of money to spend on foolishness, and didn’t want to fork it over.  So, my brother and I started being uncharacteristically helpful around the house, and went out collecting pop bottles etc. so we could at least make a show of earning it.

We went.  Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.  You could not hear a damn thing because of the screaming.  But, we had our binoculars, and there they were, on that stage.  Yep, that was really them.  It was an event, not a concert.

They came back for a second show, about a year or two later.  At that time, my big brother was working at the airport in Malton, where they landed.  He had a little advance notice of their coming, but paid not much attention, thinking it was just a teeny bopper fad.  He happened to be spray painting some fuel tanks outdoors when their motorcade passed by.  He remembers being covered with silver paint and wearing something that looked like a gas mask, and he swears that the line of black limos stopped for a second while a long haired figure leaned out of a car window and snapped his picture.

We went to this concert as well, and, now that brother Bob had seen all of the hubbub and the police presence, he realized that something big was going on.  When it came time for the Beatles to board their plane,  he took us to his work, where we had a bird’s eye view of their departure.

Some of the other bands we were lucky enough to see, back in their heyday, were
Led Zeppelin, The Who, The James Gang, Alice Cooper, Procol Harum, Humble Pie,
Edgar Winter, and last, but certainly not least, The Rolling Stones.

It happened that when the Stones came to town, you had to get your tickets directly from the box office at Maple Leaf Gardens in downtown Toronto.  The custom that evolved could only be described as a bed-in.  We, with thousands of others, camped out overnight on Carlton Street to hold our place in line to get these precious commodities.  We had loads of fun.  There were some questionable substances being passed around, but the police turned a blind eye as long as we were peaceful, and we were certainly that.  I was something of a loner in those days, and was just after my single ticket so I could go with my brother and friends.  We got them, probably after about 14 hours in line.  The show was to take place about a month from that time.

After I got home with the ticket, I thought where should I put this for safekeeping?
I will tease a little here, and tell you at the end.
What transpired, of course, on the day before the Stones were going to play, was that I could not remember where I had put the damn thing.  Panic attack.  I turned the house upside down, and even enlisted Mom’s help in searching the place.  No dice.  We even called the city to try and track down the garbage truck.  Sorry, Lee.  Out of luck.
So, I phoned a friend who had been with us in the camp out, and told him I wouldn’t be coming, and why.  He said “Well, you’re in luck, because my girlfriend can’t go now.  I’ll sell you mine”.  Long story short, he made a 100% markup.  We went, and it was more than what we had hoped for.

Several years later, as friends fell away and my life had changed with marriage, I was at home relaxing with a cup of tea, the wife being occupied at work.  I decided to look through some old books on my shelf, and pulled out the collected poems of Robert Frost.  Do you know what I found tucked between the pages?

Of course you do.  Probably the world’s only intact Rolling Stones ticket.




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