Most of the rest of the band will be coming in today, but the rehearsals don’t start until tomorrow, the 16th. Today I have a meeting with a company that is making an amazing new audio product. I can’t go into particulars yet, as it is for the moment “top secret”. But I will say that the team making the unit are some very talented and creative folks, some of whom I have known from prior years when they worked with other audio companies. We had a good meeting during breakfast and afterwards I went to see their new offices. All went fine and if things go as we all hope, we could be launching the new product as early as Jan of ‘07.
Ashley arrived in the morning on a red eye flight, and she and Rose Lane spent most of the first part of the day together. In the evening we went to dinner at a nice little Thai restaurant not far from the hotel on Stuart St. called Montain. It was a casual place, but the food was top notch and we loved being with Ash and catching up with all her recent adventures. After dinner we retired to our room and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine before saying goodnight to Ash and heading to bed.
The 16th would be our first rehearsal day, at the Orpheum Theater. Mick had called me earlier in the day to discuss what we might do different on this go-round. I went up to meet him and we had quite a long talk looking through my notes and suggestions. Before the end of the European leg we had talked about using Paint It Black as a possible new opening number, and we knew we wanted to try that out. We also talked about finding some different tunes in the early part of the set. We went through an outline for the newly revised set and finally decided on about a dozen songs to rehearse for the evening. Keith would not be coming in on this first day. He had been out in California filming with Johnny Depp on the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie and had barely made it home to Connecticut and needed a day to recuperate and re-pack.
So we headed over to the Orpheum about 6pm. Ashley and Peter (her boyfriend) came with me, but Rose Lane stayed back to relax and do some computer work.
We started out with a jam or two…. Mick pulled out a Muddy Waters tune called Champagne and Reefer, playing guitar and blowing a mean harmonica. Then we got down to business on some of the new ideas. But about an hour and a half into the rehearsal, he started having some trouble with his voice. He couldn’t figure why, as he had been totally fine up to then. Don Lawrence, his vocal coach, was there with us and had a short private session with him in another room, and it was determined that he might be having an allergic reaction to something in the building. In any case, to play it safe he left the rehearsals, but we got Bernard to sit in and sing in his place, doing a few more tunes before calling it off.
The next day I went to check on Mick, and indeed it seemed that he did have a reaction of some sort. He had met with Don and with a Doctor, and the decision was that he should not sing until the day of the show. Also, we moved the rehearsals from the Orpheum to the Aggonis Arena on the Boston University campus, just to play it safe and make sure that no one else had problems. I met with Mick to go over some other ideas to try in his absence. And also, with Mick absent from the coming rehearsals we could concentrate some on other numbers for Keith.
The girls and I went out shopping some in the day…and I found a great looking jacket at Ralph Lauren. However, it was a little small for me. The good news was that they found one at their Denver store that was the right size and would send for it. Rosie bought a pair of pants, and we just had fun walking around looking at the different stores.
Later at the rehearsal hall, we went over lots of tunes….trying the new idea of Paint It Black as the opener, going over Live With Me, Monkey Man, Under My Thumb, She Saw Me Coming, Star Star, She Was Hot, Sweet Virginia, Sway, Loving Cup and some others. Keith wanted to try You Got The Silver, Little T and A and Can’t Be Seen With You. We went over all these tunes for the next couple of days, and they all sounded great.
The 19th would be an off day with no rehearsal, but Mick wanted to get together and try and finalize a set list so that it was all done. We agreed on a 7pm meeting in his room. He had a piano there, so we could go over some things if need be. For the first part of the day, Rosie, Ashley and I went out shopping. I wanted to try on the new Ralph Lauren jacket and they wanted to roam around the Newberry Street area. The jacket fit fine except for the sleeves being a bit long, so we had their tailor alter them and we would pick it up in a couple of days. Our good friends Herren and Susan Hickingbotham had come to Boston and that evening we all went out to dinner to celebrate Rose Lane’s upcoming birthday on the 23rd. The restaurant was called Avila. Rosie and Susan had eaten there a couple of days before while we were rehearsing and liked it. So it was Herren, Susan, Ashley and Peter and Rosie and me for the dinner. Great time, nice food…. and I especially enjoyed the 1997 Monthelie-Les-Duresses wine…lovely!
All right, it’s Showtime! Gillette Stadium is quite a ways away from Boston…out in Foxboro, about an hour drive. We made our way there around 2;15. We had a sound check scheduled at 4. Mick would not sing, but would be with us on stage to go through the motions with Bernard again sitting in on the vocals. That went well, and we tried out a new song rolling out on to the B-Stage….Under My Thumb. We had a couple of logistic challenges with it, but we made it work.
After the sound check I went back for a final discussion with Mick on the set list, and we agreed to stick with what we had written the day before which contained the new Paint It Black opening, Live With Me, Monkey Man, Sway, Under My Thumb on the roll out to the B Stage, JJ Flash on the B Stage as the “new” changes. Keith went with You Got The Silver and Little T and A, so all of that made for some very significant changes to what we did before on the total of four shows we’ve done in Boston in the past 13 months.
I went to the Rattlesnake to see my friends…Steve Kramph and his folks from the Chestnut Hill Audio company; Brian Marriott, a friend that now works with AARP; Ashley, Peter and their friends and several others. Said hello as much as I could, but Keith wanted to rehearse some of the numbers we would be doing, so I had limited time. The rehearsals in his room went pretty well, and I went through the rest of the “pre game show” routine.
The show had fantastic energy right from the start. We could tell that the fans were excited to hear a new opening number and some tunes we haven’t played before. There were some stumbles here and there, but overall it was a huge success. When we got back to the hotel room and Rose Lane went to some of the Stones chat rooms, the news was all over the place and everyone was ogling over the change in set list. We went down to the bar as Ashley, Peter and their friends were there, and Herren went with us. Susan had a stomachache and had passed on the concert. We didn’t stay long, though…and headed up to bed shortly after. A great day for the Stones and their fans!
Final off day in Boston, and we wanted to spend as much time as we could with Ashley. Herren and Susan had an early flight back to Little Rock, so they wouldn’t be with us today. The three of us had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen around the corner after I dealt with shipping a guitar I had signed by the band for a charity (American Forest Foundation) to where it needed to go. Then we went to Louis Boston, a fancy shop in between Boylston and Newberry streets. We browsed around but didn’t buy anything…then went to Ralph Lauren to pick up my jacket. They did a good job on the sleeves, and it fit perfectly. After that we strolled around, going to a nearby mall and hitting a few stores. We were near Ash’s apartment, so when we were tired of looking around she went to her place and Rosie and I went back to the Four Seasons for some down time before dinner.
We arranged dinner at Terramia, a nice Italian place in the North End. The three of us had a fine meal and good conversation….but we all felt a degree of sadness because we knew it was our last night together for a while. We had so much enjoyed being with Ash and her friends and it’s tough to say goodbye. Ash came back to the hotel with us for a while, then headed off to her place. Rosie and I packed our bags to the point where all we would have to do in the morning was basically zip them up, and put our heads on the pillows.
Ashley came to see us off about 11…again, tough to say goodbye. We hope to see here when we’re in NY in Oct, but there are no guarantees at the moment. We gave her a big hug and it was hard for Rosie to hold back tears (me, too!), but we managed not to get too blubbery. She headed off and we went for lunch before our designated departure at 3. We had about an hour and a quarter drive to the airport Portsmouth, NH in order to avoid having to go through the screening process that Logan Airport was insisting on (even though it’s our own private plane). But we enjoyed the drive, seeing some early Fall color changes on the way. Eventually we took off for Halifax, landing there in the evening about 7:30, getting to the Lord Nelson hotel just after 8. We were feeling pretty beat. Went down to the lobby bar for a drink, then out on the streets to find dinner at a place called Ryan Duffy’s, a steak house. Nice dinner, with a bottle of Sterling Vineyards cabernet, then back to the hotel and to bed.