Rolling Stones play for free in Brazil

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19 February 2006


Publicity photo from the Tour of the Living Dead

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (UNN) — The yearly surge of elderly tourists attending Rio's world renowned carnival began a week early this year, with the arrival of Rolling Stones, who were on hand to provide a free concert before a crowd of nearly 120 people at Copacabana Beach.

The audience, largely comprised of residents from a number of neighbouring retirement homes, were mildly impressed by the performance, though it was unclear whether this was due to the music itself, or the rare treat of being allowed outdoors for a field trip by bus.

"I was filled with great hope," said Rogério Budasz, 81. "The fact that Keith Richards is still alive, yet alone able to play, is greatly inspiring to me. Yes, he's not as good as he was, and actually isn't even as good as those kids I used to hear trying to tune by ear at the music store, but still... it beats shivering on a cold bedpan watching Lawrence Welk, doesn't it?"

Quote1 It beats shivering on a cold bedpan watching Lawrence Welk, doesn't it? Quote2 ~ Rogério Budasz

Most of the geriatric rockers were able to get to the stage under their own power with the aid of wheelchairs, canes, and walking frames, though Brian Jones, looking much worse for wear, had to be carried aloft by a dozen pallbearers. Bill Wyman was able to reunite the lineup for the evening by special arrangement with his Warden. Though he had the most dexterity of the surviving members, his walk to the stage took the longest owing to his insistence on keeping his back to the wall at all times.

In lieu of an opening act, Mick Jagger officiated a round-robin shuffleboard tournament. The winner, Fabiano Damiao Ferreira Da Silva, 68, was excused from having to listen and was instead allowed to remain backstage and receive unchaperoned conversation with Mick's personal stable of 40-something groupies (age, not quantity).

The gents opened the Saturday night show with a 12-minute extended version of "(Hey You) Get Off My Lawn," unintentionally lengthened due to forgotten lyrics and the resulting long instrumental sections.

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Fire department officials were within seconds of the stage, ready to provide defibrillation to band and audience members as required.

"I've waited for this all my life," said 99-year-old Mariana Dos Santos, shortly before passing away due to complications from a prior stroke.

Event security consisted of four police officers deployed by the city, dressed in traditional Brazilian soccer riot gear, but apparently warned by officials to refrain from using their stun tazers.

Earlier this month, three people were fatally crushed and 38 injured in Sao Paulo when dozens of elderly broke through security lines at an autograph session for Wayne Newton.

This was the Stones' third visit to Brazil but their first experiment with a free show. Falling ticket and CD sales, and diminishing concert attendance has driven them to cast their net into deep international waters in recent years.

"They're past their prime, and they need to get a grip," said has-been nineties rapper Vanilla Ice, before abruptly retracting his statement and apologizing profusely. "Do you have Mick's number? If he'd let me sample some stuff, I think we could mount a mutal comeback. Mick, if you're reading this call me. At home. Please."