'Our first time in your fair city': Look back at Rolling Stones' 2006 Zilker Park show
The Rolling Stones have played Austin just once before, in October 2006 at Zilker Park. More than 40,000 fans, plus many more who listened from outside the event gates, witnessed the rock legends playing an 18-song set as part of the band’s two-year world tour to support its 2005 album “A Bigger Bang.”
The Stones pulled out some surprises that night, acknowledging the Lone Star State by covering Waylon Jennings’ “Bob Wills Is Still the King” and Buddy Holly’s “Learning the Game.” The show also featured two Texas openers: San Angelo trio Los Lonely Boys and Austin-via-London legend Ian McLagan, whose English bands the Small Faces and the Faces emerged from the same 1960s U.K. rock & roll scene that gave rise to the Stones.
Radio Shack sponsored the leg of the tour that included Austin. The concert fell about 8,000 short of selling out the 50,000 capacity that had been set for Zilker. General admission tickets were $95, but many ultimately sold for less than half that price online a few days beforehand, and near the gates as fans entered on the park on Oct. 22.
Here are a few excerpts from American-Statesman reviews and previews for the 2006 concert.
'Seismic cultural event'
In this day and age, your average Rolling Stones fan pays a great deal of money to be entertained by one of the most consistent rock ’n’ roll acts out on the road. Fans expect to hear the hits of their youth and maybe the occasional surprise. The Stones managed to stun a Zilker Park crowd of 42,000 (not a sellout; capacity was 50,000) by playing a rarities-packed set. …
Guitarist Ron Wood took most of the solos, with the iconic Keith Richards providing his singular rhythm. Decked out in a shiny red shirt and the world's tightest black pants, Sir Mick Jagger bounded around onstage, telling the fans repeatedly how good they looked. …
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Austin-based opener Ian McLagan and his Bump Band played a tight 40-minute set of organ-driven R&B and rock. After acknowledging the greatness of a Stones appearance in Austin, McLagan told the crowd, "They might be your favorite band, but they were my favorite band first." After all, McLagan and Stones guitarist Ron Wood did time in the Faces, England's ultimate bar band. …
The concept of a Stones tour as a seismic cultural event dates back more than 30 years.
Ray Waddell, who covers the concert industry for Billboard magazine, told the American-Statesman, “The band rewrote touring history a bunch of times. It's just innovation after innovation. You can almost chart the course of this business by Stones tours.”
— Joe Gross
'We're virgins of Austin!'
"What a fantastic night!" Mick Jagger said early in the Rolling Stones set at Zilker Park Sunday night. "It's our first time in your fair city. We're virgins of Austin!"
That condition was rectified with a truly magical show that had fans on their feet throughout, chanting "I can't get no!" during "Satisfaction" and singing the middle of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" so loud that they must've heard it all the way to Ben White Boulevard.
Meanwhile, pockets of Barton Springs Road, where the massive main video screen could be seen between trees, were packed with fans not wanting to let the chance to hear true rock ’n’ roll legends in their hometown pass them by. "The Rolling Stones in Austin!" one young freeloader exclaimed, hugging strangers. This was a concert for all of Austin, not just those who paid to see it.
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Forty-two years after their first U.S. tour, "the world's greatest rock ’n’ roll band" seemed on a mission as it came to a music Mecca. But first the Stones made Austinites wait even longer, with a torturous one-hour-and-20-minute set break after support act Los Lonely Boys left the stage.
Maybe they were working up Waylon Jennings' "Bob Wills Is Still the King," which Jagger introduced as "a song we've never played in front of anybody before." When Jagger sang "It's the home of Willie Nelson, the home of Western swing/It don't matter who's in Austin, Bob Wills is still the king," the crowd hooted and hollered with titanic Texas pride. …
Fans could sense that they were about to become part of something more than the live DVD recorded of the event. They can now say that they were at the most significant concert in Austin history — and not just because at about $4 million in ticket sales, it was easily the highest-grossing local concert. There was something special in the air. There's never been a louder, more blissed-out crowd at a local show.
— Michael Corcoran
'I have never been to a Stones concert'
On Oct. 22, the Rolling Stones will be performing at Zilker Park. Tickets went on sale at 10 Saturday morning. The cheap tickets for lawn seats are $95, before the service charge.
Which led me to wonder: For that much money, do I want to sit on the grass (double-entendre alert) with 50,000 geezers?
Do I want to listen to a band play “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" for audience members who can't remember the last time they got some?
Satisfaction, that is.
Do I want to go to a concert where a guy throws out his back by letting Grandma sit on his neck so she can get a better view of the stage? Do I want to see Grandma struggling to climb onto Grandpa's neck? Probably not.
I'm torn. Although I've been to the Rattlesnake Races in San Patricio, the big chili cookoff in Terlingua and even Hooters in Round Rock, I have never been to a Stones concert.
On the other hand, $95 is a lot of money that could be spent more wisely on, say, blood pressure medication, which will probably be the drug of choice at this concert.
Do I really want to attend a concert where instead of acid, everybody's dropping Altace? I can hear it now from the stage: "Don't take the brown Lamisil."
— John Kelso
'The Holy Grail of the unticketed'
(Anna Hanks attended the concert with neighbors from Austin’s Clarksville neighborhood who had promised to sell her an extra ticket they had if she couldn’t buy one at the gates.)
Arriving at Zilker Park at 2:30 p.m., our group was first in line at the Town Lake entrance. We were there before the scalpers.
After a crowd gathered, I went looking for ticket prices. Before the gates opened, lawn tickets were $50 at the Barton Springs entrance, $40 at the Town Lake entrance.
That's when I found it, the Holy Grail of the unticketed. A lost ticket, nestled on the grassy edge of Barton Springs Road. Unclaimed. Unused. Untrampled. Completely unethical to take.
I picked it up anyway, turning it over and over in my hands. Had I really just found a valid Rolling Stones ticket on the ground?
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I was waiting for the reality TV and/or practical joke gotcha moment, when a guy came up to me on a bike, asking me how much I wanted for the ticket. He offered me $50. I told him it wasn't mine, and that I was waiting for the person who'd lost it.
Then I realized it was 3:45 and I had to get back to the others in line. When the gates opened at 4 p.m., my Clarksville ticket would be inside the fence without me.
I handed bikedude the lost ticket, making him promise that, if possible, he'd return it to the person who'd lost it. I even asked if he was aware of the ethical ramifications of accepting a lost ticket. Of course, he said yes.
OK, OK, so who wouldn't have said yes to whatever whacky theory for a free Rolling Stones ticket.
I sprinted back to my group, completely amazed and flustered at what had just happened. Consequently, the Clarksville crowd sold me their extra ticket for $20.
— Anna Hanks