When me and my friends heard that the Stones would do some concerts in Rotterdam we immediately decided that we had to be there too. We collected the money (all of us were poor young boys, though not street fighting men)
and on a certain day two of us went to the ticket-office in The Hague. We had to be there very early in the morning, because the tickets were expected to be sold out very quickly.
We took our sleeping bags with us and went on our way from Leiden to The Hague, trying to hitch-hike. because it was much too early for public transport. There was only very few traffic and my friend was the first one to hitch-hike, hoping to catch a car that could bring us somewhere in The Hague. He tried and tried, but without any success. So I said to him that it was my turn now and I advised him to hide behind a tree, hoping to have more chance if a driver saw only one boy instead of two and hoping he would be willing to accept my friend as well as soon as he appeared from behind his tree. I stood there hitch-hiking
with my thumb up, and within no time a small car stopped. I ran to it and the driver appeared to be a KLM-stewardess who was on her way to Amsterdam-Schiphol. She smiled sweetly
when I asked her if she could stop somewhere in the neighbourhood of The Hague, explaining I was on my way to buying tickets for a Rolling Stones-concert, and she offered to bring me to the office, right in front of the door. Of course I didn’t refuse her kind offer. Then I said I had a friend with me and asked her if he could join in too. That was no hanging matter
and so we were driven to the building we were heading for, me chatting all the way with that nice and pretty stewardess. Finally we arrived and had to queue, lying on our sleeping bags, until the ticket-office would open its doors. After a long wait we got our tickets (price: 25 guilders = about 11 euros), felt richer than a king and went back home.
The day of the concert we went from Leiden to Rotterdam by train. It was 1973 Oct. 13, Saturday evening. We were all a bit nervous and excited: we would meet our beloved Rolling Stones for the first time in the flesh! After having listened to their records so many times (Goats Head Soup had been released a couple of months earlier) we now would hear them play their music live. Sensational!
In Rotterdam we had to take the subway and I still remember how the driver of the metro train said through the speakers: “We’re on our way to De Rollende Stenen!”, in a typically Rotterdam accent, with a strongly rolling R. His words were received with a very loud burst of cheers. The atmosphere in the hall, AHOY, would be great! But that was a big misunderstanding.
When we had found our seats it didn’t take long before we saw some guys running after each other with large sticks in their hands. Very threatening, though they didn’t threaten us. We were a bunch of very peaceful guys who weren’t used to fight at all. And I remember the moment I had to pee. I went to the toilets and there were many Hells Angels. I stood there, in my pink t-shirt and with long hair, looking like an angel but not from hell. Those guys looked at me as if they wished me dead and only with the biggest effort I could produce a trickle of urine, holding my face as if I was feeling okay and not afraid at all.
But then, after all the waiting during the supporting acts, the moment was there: The Rolling Stones were about to play, they could emerge any moment now. The lights were out, then they suddenly turned them on and at the very same time the Stones started Brown Sugar.
In hindsight that was the most exciting moment of the whole concert. They sounded extremely loud but also very clear and I remember Taylor’s guitar very well. His playing shone throughout all songs and it’s still ringing in my ears when I think of that concert. They played the well-known 1973 setlist and we knew all the songs by heart, so we could listen to them very carefully. Everybody kept sitting, most people were very impressed by the music, whistling and clapping only in between the songs. The music was too loud anyway, so you couldn’t hear anything else. We all sat in line so we only could look at each other with a big smile on our faces, sitting rather close to the stage.
Well, what to say about the music? We were so impressed and except Brown Sugar I especially recall Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want and Midnight Rambler and the dazzling last songs very well.
The most conspicuous thing was the melodic guitar of Mick Taylor, giving the songs an extra dimension. He was very well audible and at the top of his game with the Stones.
Jagger as usually gave everything he had, Keith even singing Happy rather well.
Watts and Wyman playing like, well, like typically Watts and Wyman. But this was absolutely the night of Mick Taylor and he sealed my life-long love for the Taylor-Stones. The show was over before we knew it and with totally deaf ears we left the hall.
Here you can watch and listen to the whole show: