Yeah, that's the old Jack Tar Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater behind the young Don Knotts impersonator in the snapshot there. It was summer, 1965. The Rolling Stones had brought the British invasion to us just as I was breaking out of high school. Mr. Pendergrass, my pal, Buddy's dad, took us to see the show at Jack Russell Stadium. Tiny little baseball field that advertises a capacity of 3,000. It wasn't full.
The legend is that as the mini-riot broke out the Stones had to be chauffeured out of the facility for their protection after a mere four songs. In fact, that was pretty much the story by the time that I was back to the classroom. Close.
The sparse audience was already excited as Pam Hall and the Catalinas opened the show. This was as close as the Tampa Bay area would get to the Beatles.
Seems comical now, thinking about the tiny Vox columns that made up the P.A. The boys played more than four songs. I don't remember how many more. Give me a break, it's been nearly fifty years! At the time, though, I was able to run down the entire set list. My favorite moment of the show was when Mick announced, "Our drummer will introduce the next number." Charlie got off his stool, walked to the mic and said, "Little Red Rooster," and went and sat back down. Now, that's show biz!
A chubby kid toppled over the wall and a couple dozen teenagers followed him. The lads casually piled into the Cadillacs parked by the stage and drove off into the humid Florida night.
If legend and Keith's memory are to be trusted, that's the night that he recorded the original idea for Satisfaction on a cassette recorder before he fell asleep. The little guitar riff, of course, was lifted from Nowhere To Run, the Martha and the Vandellas hit.
Rock'n'roll history, I suppose. The hotel is now Fort Harrison, headquarters for the Scientologists. That was the only time I ever saw the Rolling Stones. They've done well.
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