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Getting Some Satisfaction

[whitespace] Stones fan line up for tickets to San Jose concert

By Heather Zimmerman

He was 20-something, well-dressed, more than a little drunk. He had been quite indignant when my friends and I walked past him as he was peeing on a tree near the sidewalk.

"Hey! Go away! Go away, I'm trying to pee here," he screamed.

It was late Saturday night--about the time the bars close. My friend Jennifer--aware that I had to get up early in the morning to talk to Rolling Stones fans waiting to buy tickets at the San Jose Arena box office--jokingly asked the inebriated urinator if he knew about the biggest concert to hit the arena since at least Barbra Streisand.

Apparently finished with his chore, he stumbled over to us. "Yeah, I have tickets. But the bummer thing is, I'm taking my mom. Can you believe it? My mom."

"Really?" I asked, " Where did you get tickets? They don't go on sale until tomorrow."

A smirk. "Oh, I have my sources." And then earnestly, his smile fading a little, "But I'm taking my mom. Isn't that a bummer?"

Regardless of his dubious choice of places to relieve himself, let alone his quasi-sinister sounding "sources," our drunken acquaintance sounded credible. After all, he was taking his mom to the concert--his mom. Who would lie about mom?

Among the ticket buyers I met at the arena on Sunday (Nov. 22) morning, were some moms--and dads. The crowd was mostly friendly Eddie Bauer-clad 40-somethings, buying tickets for their second or third--and sometimes even first-ever--Stones concert and often planning to take the kids.

Leaving the box office with tickets in hand, Todd Martin--looking somewhere between stunned and relieved--said this show would be his first and that he was planning to take his three teenagers.

"Even my kids are saying, 'Yeah, Dad, they're pretty good.'"

His friend Ann Smith appeared, breathlessly waving her tickets, "Oh my God! I just spent $540 on six tickets!"

Jerry Alba, relaxing in a lawn chair at the edge of the throng, was less effusive, saying he is back for more after catching the legendary Brits in L.A. in 1972 because "they rock."

And that was the consensus, of course, in one form or another. One Santa Clara University freshman likened it to "us seeing a Garth Brooks show in 30 years. Everyone acts like they're the hottest thing going."

Not that there wasn't some, uh, latent attitude in the air. Amid the calm crowd was a sea of cell-phone owners, pacing, frowning, arguing over ticket prices. There were emphatic hand signals between people in line and their friends waiting across the barricades. And one smug ticket-holder leaving the box office said none too quietly, "Why's everybody look so hopeless?"

But for all the negotiating, grousing over prices and semi-sleep deprivation (most people said they got there around 6:30am) probably no amount of goading would have incited this crowd to riot. Alba's laconic philosophy seemed to best sum up the mood, "They're [the Stones] here, and I'm here. It seemed like a good idea."

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Web extra to the November 25-December 2, 1998 issue of Metro.

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