I’m a HUGE Rolling Stones fan and I’ve seen them live once in concert (at last year’s Comerica Park show with Dad…we were so far away I couldn’t see Mick Jagger’s lips, even on the jumbotron screens.) What’s not fair, though, is that they never finished their ONE London, Ontario show in history…April 26th, 1965.
From the Ontario Archives:
The Rolling Stones Discuss Their Music – A Power-Outage at Their Concert Sparks a Riot
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I also want to share this article from James Reaney at the London Free Press, word for word, as written with the help of MANY Londoners who shared their memories of that spring night, published on the 50th anniversary of the show last year:
This column should have 3,000 authors — at least.
It is dedicated to the mighty 3,000 fans who came to rock with The Rolling Stones at the old Treasure Island Gardens on April 26, 1965 — 50 years ago Sunday.
The Stones only played a few songs before the plug was pulled, the Stones stopped playing and fan mayhem ensued. The fool snow fence strung across the floor fails to protect the stage.
As the decades have rolled on, the Stones “riot” has grown and morphed to become a legend of Forest City lore.
Fortunately, there were few serious injuries in all that chaos. That is likely why the happy memories still shine so brightly.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of that date in rock and roll history, here are selected memories of those lucky enough to have been there.
Here is one warning. A personal visit to the old Gardens, later the Ice House, the Forest City Velodrome and other things proved to be a pretty sad 15 minutes in a deserted parking lot.
Whatever keeps the inside cycling, it was too quiet outside. No magical echoes of The Rolling Stones or the screaming fans or the Knights or Johnny Cash proposing to June Carter or any other glory days.
As the song says, it’s all over now.
Still, April 26, 1965 is a night when love was real, not fade away.
Some of the memories were passed along by relatives of fans who are gone. Some of the choicest are from the late Pat Quinn, the promoter who brought the Stones here.
Other recollections are from future London rockers who were in the crowd or 1965 local heroes on the bill.
Research over the years has revealed sagas of fan close encounters with the nice-guy Stones later that night over pizza, of autographs tossed out by mothers who should have known and efforts to lure the British rock band back to London.
One of the Stones who played the arena that night, Brian Jones, died a few years later. Another, bassist Bill Wyman, left the group. He was back in London in 2001, leading his own band and has encouraged London fans who want the Stones back to reach out to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
Still, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts are heading out on the road as The Rolling Stones tour once again.
This could be the last time — but that will never stop the fans of 1965 from remembering and dreaming.
IT WAS OFF THE HOOK
The consensus is the Stones were playing a 1964 tune, Off The Hook, when the plug was pulled.
“It was Off The Hook. Brian Jones kept on with beat using a tambourine until he had to leave the stage.” — Ken Thorne
“I think The Stones were playing Off The Hook. They didn’t finish it. I just remember Mick’s face. He was pretty angry when the power went off, I think he yelled ‘F—-.’ Then he yelled, ‘come on,’ and (the fans) did.” — Susan Bradnam
“Brian Jones kept going with the tambourine to the beat . . . ‘Off the hook, off the hook,’ ”— Jack Whiteside.
(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION
The accepted history about shutting down The Stones is that police and security personnel — a mix of OPP and Frontiersmen — pulled the plug because they feared the fans were getting rowdy.
“(The police) switched the power off. We were really angry with them. It was a normal reaction from the crowd, which we were getting every day . . . they just couldn’t deal with it. They just freaked and ripped the power, which made it 10 times worse. Because then the kids are cheated and they do riot.” — Bill Wyman, 2001
YOU CAN’T AlWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT
Revisionist history points to the Stones’ touring management when it came to pulling the plug. London promoter Nick Panaseiko, who was backstage at the time, says there had been a dispute between Pat Quinn and the Stones’ team over payment. On stage, the Stones were unaware of this — but knew police had pulled the plug at previous stops, including — it is said — Toronto.
“The PA was still working, but the guitar amps, (the tour manager or rep) pulled the cord on them and he says, ‘C’mon, we’re getting out of here.’
“Mick just thought this was a repeat (of shows where police had pulled the plug). Mick’s got the microphone live and I can still hear it now, he said, (read in Jagger voice) “The po-leese have torned off the e-leck-triss-ity” and the crowd just went nuts and they stormed the stage and the Stones ran out the back. Keith was up there egging them on, ‘C’mon, c’mon.’ He wanted a riot.”
— Graham Beattie, then a member of top London band The Fortune Tellers, and capable then and now of a spot-on impression of Sir Mick
AS TEARS GO BY
For many years, it has been said arena management took the money. Pat Quinn estimated his losses at $3,000-$5,000 in interviews during the 2000s.
“I would have done bloody well except for the riot” . . . meanwhile, the arena kept gate receipts to cover damage. Pat Quinn to Postmedia Network’s Mike Strobe in 2003 in a quotationrepeated in The Free Press.
Another take has Quinn vs. Stones over the money.
“I worked at the Disc Shop (in) Wellington Square Mall and we sold tickets. I delivered the money to Pat Quinn. There was lot of arguing going on back stage between Pat and Stones management as the show started. The next thing I heard was management yelling for Stones to get off (the) stage.” — Nick Panaseiko
THE SINGER NOT THE SONG
In that much more innocent era, it is amazing how many fans were able to spend time with the Stones before and after the show. Some didn’t even have tickets, but gained access with letters from Sayvette — Pat Quinn was the store’s manager — which had held a meet-and-greet contest.
“They came into focus, alive and looking rather cool in their pointed-toe boots and colourful shirts. They were ready for the concert, dressed casually, and talking about guitars and songs. As we approached them, they focussed intently on us, were extremely polite and asked questions about where we were from etc.
“Mick was especially polite and a perfect gentleman, but was unable to hide his energy level as he could not stand still. He was smoking as were a few others.” — Dan Rutledge
“I managed to get in their room and stayed there with them for about a half hour. Jagger, Jones and Richards were in the room I was in. The others where next door in an adjoining room. I got Jagger’s autograph on an Export A cig pack. He let me take ashtrays and anything that was not nailed down. I sold them all when I got outside except the autograph.” — Wayne Pitt
THE LAST TIME
There have been repeated efforts to lure the Stones back to London. Among the recent efforts has been one by Mark Edmunds who was encouraged by former Stone Bill Wyman to reach out to the band.
“I did send letters to each member of the band and received a reply back from Bill Wyman and Keith Richards’ letter was returned because of wrong address. So I figure Mick, Charlie and Bill got their invitations.” — Mark Edmunds
“James, if you print nothing else, print this: It’s an old drum, but we keep on pounding it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Stones would come back and perform the rest of that show as a benefit concert to raise money for the music in this city? The Musicians of Orchestra could certainly use some help . . . but there are many other musical groups not the least of which is the amazing Aeolian Hall (run on volunteers) and their incredible El Sistema program bringing music to underprivileged kids. Now if that doesn’t melt the old Old Stone hearts, what will?” — Susan Bradnam