Having moved from Stones fan to fanatic during their golden period (from “Beggars Banquet” through the departure of Mick Taylor at the end of 1974) and then slipping further into disillusionment with each increasingly lackluster album, and having seen them live from a front row during their absolute jaw-droppingly best ‘72 tour (get the movie “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones” and get it in Blu-ray for the best sound), I’ve had no enthusiasm for revisiting the world’s (then-)greatest rock and roll band as any of their subsequent tours have limped through town.
Friends have raved about the experience, but usually they were seeing them for the first time, so of course. I even went to a friend’s house once for a pay-per-view of one of those shows, live, and enjoyed it at moments but had to feign extra enthusiasm as everyone else whooped and hollered.
Look, I give them full credit for being the most unbelievable rock band ever, soldiering on through more than half a century with an amazingly high level of quality, especially on their tours. They are this year now in their 70s! (Except that kid Ron Wood, 65, whom I still consider the new guy in the band. He’s no Mick Taylor, nor even Brian Jones, and I always say they picked him because he was a buddy, not the best musician for the job. Understandable, but lame.)
And of course they have that unmatched songbook, and there really is nothing like hearing a great, classic song done live by the original artist (which is why you should also go see Paul McCartney live).
Last year was their 50th anniversary but they’re extending the commemorative tour for nine more dates in North America, including one at Staples Center. Tickets go on sale Monday, and I’ve decided to go for it (despite what will certainly be astronomical prices) for two reasons: my 19-year-old daughter deserves to see the Stones live, even in their geriatric phase, and this mini-tour will include the great Mick Taylor, stepping up for a few songs with his slide guitar and inimitable style. It’s not ‘72, but if you try, sometimes, you get what you need.
Back to the local music scene, I’m glad the online Daily Press made the correction, but unfortunately the print copy ran a comma in my last column where there should have been a period and it came out that McCabe’s concerts were not what they once were, when that observation was actually about the Twilight Dance concert series on the Santa Monica Pier. McCabe’s recently made the news for quickly canceling their scheduled concert for Michelle Shocked, the day after her very strong anti-guy diatribe at a show in San Francisco.
That’s far east Pico, and music returns to far west Pico as jazz-pop chanteuse Diane Michelle does another Saturday night gig at Raw Star Café, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., accompanied by guitar and her daughter Nicole Andrews (yes, it’s a family affair) and also featuring the seven voices of the 12 Rivers Choir. No cover, such a deal, and if you’re brave enough to try their raw menu, you’ll probably be surprised and delighted. I was.
Caught the Wednesday night burlesque show at the TRiP on Lincoln. Entertaining, funny, bawdy but not much skin showing, in the style of authentic burlesque. More professional than I expected.
Take a walk
I mentioned in a previous column that I had stolen my idea to walk every street in Santa Monica from Berkeley Blatz, the legendary Santa Monica High teacher who, I wrote, had done it five or six times. I exaggerated. He’s completing his third go-around. But since he walks up and down each street (twice what I do), you can double his numbers as far as I’m concerned. We’re still looking to find a time to get together so he can “school me” in his walking style and secrets.
I have to give some credit to other walkers in my life for inspiration. My neighbor Neil has been eschewing cars for decades, and my friends Tom and Barbara are religious in their walking regimen. Most of the friends we made in Europe on our recent camping trip there walk almost everywhere, and I’m sure there have been others in my life — but I wasn’t paying attention. Or I was intentionally blocking it out. But now, I’m one of them.
Peaceful protest made me proud
It happened just before this column shifted away from the three part basketball courts investigation, but let me say now that probably my proudest moment to be a citizen of Santa Monica came when I went over early Monday, Feb. 25, to see what was happening with the notorious Westboro Baptist “Church” demonstration targeting Santa Monica High students. From reports I heard, it was the largest counter-demonstration those heartless folks from Kansas had seen in quite a while, it was completely peaceful, and with one or two mild exceptions even all the signs the students held struck a positive note.
The students and others lining the street opposite the Westboro wankers symbolically turned their backs on them as the Kansas crazies chanted their hateful slogans, and there was a party atmosphere on that side of Pico because the focus was on standing up for principles they believed in, rather than raging against those who attacked those principles. (But away from the incident, in print, I don’t mind throwing out a few mild epithets.) My alumni daughter got out of bed hours before she needed to to be part of it. It was a great moment in Santa Monica history.
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 27 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.