As usual, the Rolling Stones chose Toronto as base camp and rehearsal spot for their upcoming world tour. Also as usual, the worst-kept secret in town was that the Stones would perform a "surprise" club show in the city before hitting the road.
The cat was officially let out of the bag on Tuesday with the announcement that the band would descend upon the 1,000-seat Phoenix Concert Theatre for a show on Wednesday, prompting a near-instant lineup of fans eager to get their hands on the first-come, first-served $10 tickets. This ended weeks-long speculation about where and when the traditional surprise gig would be played, with other candidates such as the Mod Club and Kool Haus being bandied about.
Previous Stones world tours in 1994, 1997, and 2002 kicked off with intimate warm-up shows in T.O. at RPM (now Kool Haus), the Horseshoe Tavern, and the Palais Royale, respectively. The upcoming "Rolling Stones Onstage World Tour," which includes five Canadian stops, is in support of the band's 400th album (or thereabouts), A Bigger Bang, which is set to hit shelves on September 6th.
Included on that album is a song entitled "Sweet Neo Con," which is already generating interest for its blatant swipe at the American right and the policies of the current Bush government. Though Mick Jagger has said the song does not take direct aim at President Bush himself, lines such as "It's liberty for all/Democracy's our style/Unless you are against us/Then it's prison without trial," as well as references to Vice President Dick Cheney's former employer, oil behemoth Halliburton, leave little doubt that Sir Mick probably won't be scoring in the Lincoln bedroom any time soon.
The Rolling Stones' Canadian tour dates stack up as follows:
August 28, Ottawa, ON - Frank Clair Stadium
September 3, Moncton, NB - Magnetic Hill
September 26, Toronto, ON - Rogers Centre
October 28, Calgary, AB - Saddledome
January 10, Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
Writer: Neil McDonald