Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rolling Stones Gather Mass, but Don't Sell out Concert Draws the Diehard Fans

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rolling Stones Gather Mass, but Don't Sell out Concert Draws the Diehard Fans

Article excerpt

Steve George knew he wouldn't get back to his home in Ballwin until about 2 this morning, but he said it was worth it to see the Rolling Stones play in Columbia Sunday night.

"I went in '89 and it was the best concert I've ever seen," said George, as he and several friends barbecued hamburgers Sunday afternoon at a tailgate party across from Faurot Field.

"Even though they're 50 years old, they don't just sit there and play," he said. "(Mick) Jagger is in better shape than I am, and I'm 25."

Five years ago, George didn't have to drive this far to see the Stones play.

The band's "Steel Wheels" tour played at Busch Stadium and also in Kansas City.

Columbia's Hearnes Center had lobbied unsuccessfully to bring in the Stones during the "Steel Wheels" tour,said the center's Tim Hickman.

But for this year's "Voodoo Lounge" tour, the Stones bypassed Missouri's two largest cities and zeroed in on the college town at the state's center.

"The band wanted to hit college towns," said Stephen Howard of Concert Productions International. "Geographically we're able to serve both cities."

Hickman also said the production company might have worried that a St. Louis concert this late in the summer would conflict with baseball, a moot point with the current strike.

St. Louis' and Kansas City's loss turned into Columbia's largest concert.

The biggest bands that play Columbia usually book the University of Missouri's basketball arena, which holds about 14,000 concertgoers.

But for the Stones, officials at the Hearnes Center had to move next door to the school's football stadium, which holds more than 50,000 people.

The concert followed more than a week of intense work at the stadium.

Workers had to dig two trenches at one end of the field so that trailer trucks could haul in the 500 tons of steel and aluminum that make up the stage and props.

They also brought in several more trucks of generators to create almost 4 million watts of power, enough to power a small city.

Students living in a cluster of dorms across the road from the stadium watched for several days as the head of a 92-foot steel snake rose up from inside the stadium, ballasted with about 40 tons of water at its base. …

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