As expected, the Rolling Stones announced two shows for London's O2 Arena and Newark, New Jersey's Prudential Center. The shows, which are part of the band's 50 And Counting dates, will take place on November 25th and 29th in London and December 13th and 15th in Newark. A pay-per-view screening of the December 15th show will be distributed by World Wrestling Entertainment as One More Shot, and broadcast live the night of the concert. The Stones last performed in public on October 6th, 2006 when they wrapped their massive A Bigger Bang Tour in Regina, Saskatchewan's Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.
To the dissapointment of hard-core fans, former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor are not -- officially -- a part of the upcoming shows, but the band's video teaser -- featuring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood -- did promise "a few friends joining us."
Despite the fact that the band is playing Newark, New Jersey -- not a New York venue -- Mick Jagger said in the announcement: "Everybody loves a celebration, and London and New York are two good places to do it in!"
Keith Richards added: "Sorry to keep you all hanging around but the waiting is over. I've always said the best place for rock n' roll is on the stage and the same is true for the Stones. I'm here with Mick, Charlie and Ronnie and everything is rocking. See you very soon!
The ticket prices for the Newark shows run from somewhat fair to the ridiculous, with only two tiers of tickets available -- $95.00 plus $19.80 in service fees coming out to $114.80 and $750.00 plus $63.00 in fees coming out to $813.00. Without adding in the service fees in the UK, the tickets for the Stones' O2 shows range in price from $152.60 to $602.50.
The general on sale for the Newark shows is set for October 26th, with V.I.P. Hospitality Packages going on sale on October 20th, and the American Express pre-sale happening on October 22nd.
The Prudential Center, which opened in 2007, seats 19,500 for concerts -- that's 500 less seats than Madison Square Garden.
Bill German's BeggarsBanquetOnline.com posted an update on the band: "Right now, they're rehearsing in Paris, running through Jagger-Richards classics like 'Let It Bleed,' 'Lady Jane' and 'The Last Time,' as well as Lennon & McCartney's 'I Wanna Be Your Man' and the Otis Redding nugget 'Dock Of The Bay.' They've also been rehearsing their two new numbers, 'Doom And Gloom' and 'One More Shot,' which will appear on next month's greatest hits package, GRRR!"
German went on to add, "There's word that there'll be a non-seating area -- a standing pit at the front of the stage (ala Bruce Springsteen's last few tours) -- in the shape of the band's tongue logo."
Mick Jagger told us that whether they're playing a sweaty, smoky club or a 60,000 seat stadium -- about a third of the Stones' setlist has to be devoted to their legendary hits: "I figure there's about 10 songs that if you don't play them, people are gonna say, 'I wish they'd a played. . .' So, y'know, they're paying, y'know, good money to come and see you, and I don't see why you should disappoint them, just being difficult, 'I don't wanna play "Brown Sugar."' I mean, because they probably wanna hear it. I quite enjoy playing 'Brown Sugar,' but sometimes you don't want to. But anyway, there's about 10 of those."
On the "Ask Keith" section of his website (KeithRichards.com), Keith Richards explained that he has no interest in changing the arrangements of the Stones' greatest songs: "A lot of these things are in their time, and they belong where they belong. And to fiddle about with them and treat them as, y'know, they're 'Mona Lisa's,' or something would be pointless. All the big ones and the best ones that everybody knows, we'll leave them as they are. Y'know, I won't recall nothing and say, 'We shoulda done this or shoulda done that.' Y'know, 'cause they're in their time and space. That's where they are."
Ron Wood told us that at this point, the Stones are sailing in uncharted waters: "We notice that we're cutting new ground, y'know, in that no bunch of guys have ever stuck together this long in the rock n' roll field."
Charlie Watts admits that he's never even considered the Rolling Stones to be an institution: "I don't look at the Rolling Stones like that. Y'know, it just. . . they're a group of people that I know that become the Rolling Stones when they get together. Something happens around us when we play that is either magic, or (a) catastrophe -- whichever way you look at it. It always has done and I assume it always will."