On This Day...

Madhouse History

On This Day in Madhouse History
May 1, 1975

On May 1st 1975, reporters were gathered inside the Fifth Avenue Hotel on 9th Street in New York City's Greenwich Village to attend a press conference where the Stones were scheduled to appear. But the Stones never went into the hotel. The handful of curiosity seekers standing outside the hotel – who'd heard a rumor of the press conference and who were hoping to catch a glimpse of the Stones entering the hotel – were instead treated to the sight of a flatbed truck rolling down Fifth Avenue carrying the Stones, their instruments and a wall of amps. The truck stopped in front of the hotel entrance and the band played an extended version of "Brown Sugar".

Charlie Watts had suggested this adaptation of a promotional gimmick often used by New Orleans jazz musicians; the idea was later emulated by groups like AC/DC and U2. After the Stones finished the song, the flatbed truck rolled down Fifth Avenue another block and the band jumped into limousines. They never attended the press conference.

Children were running down the streets yelling "The Stones are coming, The Stones are coming",  as mothers ushered them into the house yelling "Don't you boys know any nice songs."
The mid-1970s were the era of extravagant stage shows, from the likes of Elton John, Alice Cooper, Kiss and Queen. In keeping with this, the Stones embraced a new format for the 1975 concerts. Their act was aided by theatrical stage props and gimmicks, including a giant inflatable phallus (nicknamed 'Tired Grandfather' by the band, since it sometimes malfunctioned) and, at some shows, an unfolding lotus flower-shaped stage that Charlie Watts had conceived.

The tour officially began on June 3, 1975 at the Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas; however first the group played two warmup shows on June 1 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The tour continued, playing mostly arenas in the United States and Canada, including six consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden in New York and five nights at The Forum in Los Angeles. However, a planned Latin American leg in Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela for the balance of August was cancelled due to a combination of currency fluctuations and security concerns. Four additional US dates were then added, culminating in a final performance on 8 August at Rich Stadium near Buffalo, New York.

The band featured Billy Preston and Ollie Brown and this was the first tour with new guitarist, Ronnie Wood.

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