We have to go back to November, I think, to really capture the full odyssey here:
Last fall, the Rolling Stones announced their first tour in a couple of years. My wife is a huge fan, so I got tickets for Christmas. Two for the last night of the tour (June 25 in Chicago) and two for the first night (April 20 in Miami). I presented them at Christmas and they were well received.
Then Mick visited his cardiologist.
I guess you do that before a tour when you’re an aging rock star. Maybe when you’re not aging, too — tours are expensive — but presumably Mick’s workup was slightly more thorough than would be, say, Justin Timberlake’s.
During Mick’s examination, they found something wrong with a heart valve, and elected to replace it. This delayed the tour.
OK, first off, it is hilarious that the Stones have reached the point that they had a tour delayed by a heart condition. They’ve been arrested at customs, they’ve been banned by whole countries, they’ve had a person stabbed in the front row of a concert, and now they have aged into “Dr. Goldman says I need a few weeks off to have a procedure.”
So they postponed the tour, and we all waited while Mick got the greenlight. Which he did, eventually, and the last show of the tour became the second show of the tour and the first show of the tour was rescheduled from 4/20 (which would have been amusing) to 8/31, the last stop.
We rearranged our travel and thought no more of it.
The Chicago show came and went. It was great, I thought, but the expert with me thought they looked a little tentative. They also goofed once, which I loved: Mick and Keith started playing two different songs at the same time. They laughed, acknowledged it was early in the tour, and kept rolling. Mick was a little cautious, as any senior dancing on a stadium stage would be — don’t want to slip and break a hip or anything. It was fun, though, and they’re still the best band in the world if you adjust for age.
So a couple months pass and we head south for the Miami show. And a few days before the show, we start hearing increasingly exciting reports about something called “Tropical Storm Dorian.” And we enjoy ourselves, imagining the Stones acting entirely age-appropriately, which is to say, sitting around monitoring the Weather Channel.
And we get to Thursday night, and we are in Key West, and the Stones tweeted that, out of abundant caution with regard to what was now Hurricane Dorian, they were moving the show up from Saturday night to Friday night.
This is what happens when old people obsessively watch the Weather Channel.
We packed up, set alarms for bright and early, and drove past hurricane shutters and gas lines and, in formation with other prospective refugees, drove 160 miles back to Hard Rock Stadium. The reports about Dorian were growing increasingly dire and shrill, so we kept watching the projected path, which kept getting better and better vis-à-vis us getting to see the concert and fly home ahead of the hurricane, and we kept giggling about Charlie and Mick and Ron and Keith sitting around the TV in Keith’s hotel room, taking drugs (beta blockers, blood thinners, Lipitor) and fretting about what to wear and what time to leave and how to account for the traffic and all the other things dudes in their late 70s do in Miami.
Anyhow, the show went off without a hitch, and it was great. They haven’t slowed, it turns out — though Chicago was, in fact, tentative. They were rusty. Come Miami, they were not.
Dorian missed Florida almost entirely, by the way. (PSA: Don’t watch television.) And as my favorite Miami writer says, I Swear I Am Not Making This Up: The only rain we saw the whole weekend was the brief cloudburst coinciding with the first encore.