Nov 6, 2012

Rolling Stones Live in Concert: Regina 2006

After the incredible experience I had had a year before in 2005 by seeing the Rolling Stones in Calgary, it was with the same enthusiasm that I reacted to the news that in October 2006 they would be making their first ever appearance in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The parallels between the spontaneous lead up to the Rolling Stones concert the year before and how the 2006 concert came to happen didn't escape me. Despite my excitement, I accepted early on that I wasn't going to be able to go. Even with the concert in the city where I was going to university, the demand and price of tickets and made it unrealistic for a broke student. I reasoned with myself that I'd seen them once already, and that was nothing to be disappointed about.

As the date of the concert approached, Regina was buzzing. It was on the news every night, papers were counting down the days, and talk around the university continually floated around who was going and how amazing it was going to be. I might have downplayed it in my mind up until then, but who was I kidding? I really wanted to go.

rolling stones regina saskatchewanAnd then the news came in. Due to demand and enough time in their scheduling, the Rolling Stones were going to start selling tickets to a second Regina show. This was clearly a sign, although I was still on the fence about whether I could swing it. I asked my friend Dave, who always seemed willing to indulge my whims, and we kind of talked each other into it. The concert was a go if we could get tickets.

With both shows sold out, it was a little over a week before the concert that I started scouring eBay for tickets. The prices were still incredibly high and I wasn't convinced at that point that things would pan out. The concerts were taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend and I was heading home on the Friday night. It would still be possible to make the Sunday concert, and wouldn't you know it, on the Thursday night some last minute tickets became available.

I bid and won, and in a rare twist, because my purchase came so close to the wire I paid $30 below list price for each ticket. They were overnighted to me, and on Friday I had the two tickets in hand. It was actually going to happen! From there it was a rush trip back to Alberta to see the family for Thanksgiving, and on Sunday morning I was back on the road to make the October 8th Rolling Stones concert at Mosaic Stadium.    

That Sunday afternoon Dave and I met up to have some drinks before joining the crowds surrounding Mosaic. It was an incredible scene. People were selling parking space on their front lawns. Everyone from kids to grandparents were decked out in Rolling Stones gear. I've been to Roughrider games, and even went to the Grey Cup in Regina in 2003, but the vibe surrounding the concert made it feel so much bigger. You could tell even then that the Stones in Regina was momentous as much for its novelty as anything else.

Our seats were in section A7, which looked good when I saw them online, but I really had no idea how amazing they'd turn out to be. As we entered the stadium we passed one checkpoint, then were directed further down through another checkpoint, and then another. We were getting closer and closer to the main stage and it wasn't until we were there that it hit us that section A7, row 5, was actually the fifth row of the concert. We were literally just a few meters from the main stage, and were seated right along a central aisle with an unobstructed view. If the concert wasn't amazing enough, the reality of getting the chance to see the Rolling Stones live again, and from those seats, was an absolutely unforgettable, totally enthralling experience. 

Here's a bit of what I wrote on my old blog after the show in 2006:
The stage was overwhelming (especially from our vantage point) and the lighting, the pyro, and the sound was done to match. The heat from the explosions on the top of the stage was instantly felt. A giant blow up tongue erupting from the centre of the stage was almost as amazing as the final explosion where banners of fabric shot off of the structure and draped the entire frame of the stage. I got a huge rush from the spectacle of it all. While the Stones were on a stage I did a few 360s to take in the sea of people behind us and high up into the stadium who were just as mesmerized and caught up in the excitement. We were loving every minute of it.

What wasn't to love? I'll never forget that concert with Dave.

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