Oct 25, 2012

Rolling Stones Live in Concert: Calgary 2005

I have seen the Rolling Stones live in concert twice. The first time was in Calgary in 2005, and the second time was in Regina in 2006. Both shows were part of their A Bigger Bang tour, and both times came about in uniquely spontaneous ways. After recently coming across and buying a DVD box set of the Rolling Stones featuring their Bigger Bang tour highlights, all of my memories from those concerts came flooding back and I felt compelled to write them down.

This was my experience leading up to and at the Calgary show on October 28, 2005.

In the fall of 2005 I had just started another semester of film school at the University of Regina. Within the first month of classes I'd been left feeling restless and uninspired due to the fact that it was the first time I had no production courses. Creativity was lacking. All I had were a few electives and a film theory course. In all honesty, I was taking it pretty easy on myself and was simply craving new experiences. Cue Kelly Dodd (AKA Doddsy, as I called her).

Doddsy was a friend who had lived in the dorms next to me the previous year, but she was now attending SAIT in Calgary. It was late October. During a chat with Kelly over messenger (these were the low-tech days before facebook after all) she mentioned how she wanted to go to the Rolling Stones show in Calgary that was happening in 3 days. We entered into one of those conversations full of hypothetical situations where we could do whatever we wanted whenever it suited us. Ah, to be a student again.

We had a good back and forth going when Doddsy admitted that she'd looked into the cost of tickets that were up on eBay. I remember the idea suddenly becoming more tangible and soon we were making deals. I did my best to encourage her to bid, and proposed that if she was able to get the tickets I'd make the 700km+ drive from Regina to come see the show with her that Friday night. As it turned out, we won the auction.

Being a broke student at the time, something I didn't originally admit was that I had actually dropped one of my electives so that I'd have enough cash to make the trip. This was short-sighted, yes, but of all the foolish things I did in university this is one that I'm proud of. I don't remember what the class was that I dropped, but I definitely still remember this concert. On the 27th I was cruising down the Trans-Canada in my old Buick, buzzing about going to see the Rolling Stones.     
The entire experience was a blur just because of how much had happened in 3 days. That Friday, Doddsy and I spent the afternoon in the campus pub at SAIT with a few of her friends to have some drinks before the show. A short train ride later, through a security checkpoint, and there we were sitting in the Saddledome.

calgary rolling stones concert 2005

Here's some of what I wrote just days after the show in 2005. This comes from my old (now defunct) blog:

Sitting, waiting, bored beyond belief, an hour passed by where we had nothing better to do than watch the mish-mash of old and young filter in and find their seats. We were higher up (no pun intended) but were parallel to the side of the stage and had one of the giant screens directly in front of us. Thirty minutes elapsed and I felt my afternoon buzz being replaced by sleepiness. I began thinking I wasn't going to enjoy the show, and for a brief moment I second guessed whether all of the effort had been worth it.
Suddenly the lights began to fade, the screen in front of us burst to life with the Stones logo, and the mumbles throughout the crowd erupted into an eager and instantly awakening cheer that engulfed the entire stadium. This was it, October 28, 2005 at the Rolling Stones concert in Calgary. As the first few chords of Start Me Up echoed towards us, I went from almost falling asleep to nearly pissing my pants. It was so good! 
I won't cover the whole show, and clearly it's not the same anyway, but I came to hear the classics (as most do) and the Stones didn't disappoint. My personal favorites included a soulful rendition of Wild Horses that had the stadium a glow in lighters, and an encore performance of You Can't Always Get What You Want. It's truly something that I'll never forget seeing. 

All these years later, I'm still amazed sometimes by the fact that I made it to that show. The last minute rushing around, the willingness of Kelly to make it happen, and the ultimate payoff of the show being everything we had hoped it would be. All of that just locks the experience in my mind. Little did I know at the time, but less than a year later the opportunity would unexpectedly emerge AGAIN.

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