Who could have ever imagined something like this would have happened?
This past Saturday night in Los Angeles we had the privilege of being a part of a super secret show with THE ROLLING STONES at our typical CYP2 stomping grounds, The Echoplex. The whole experience was so surreal, it’s hard to even know where to start to explain how it happened and what it was like to actually be there. It doesn’t feel like reality, but it was… somehow. Almost 2 weeks ago I got a text from Danny Johnson, my partner in Check Yo Ponytail and owner of Media Contender/Top Shelf/SMOG. ‘Urgent’ it said. So of course I called him right way while I was walking through Staples Center randomly at the same time the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame awards was letting out. Quincy Jones was rolling past me in a wheelchair as Danny said, ‘Wanna do a show with The Rolling Stones…’ Um, what?? YES.
Earlier that day AEG/Goldenvoice, who are organizing the Stones main tour, reached out looking for a space. For whatever reason their normal venues weren’t lining up and they really wanted to put them somewhere ‘cool’ rather than the typical West Hollywood venues that most of these type of shows happen in. Who cares if they thought of us or we were the victims of a happy accident, we were determined to do whatever we needed to to make this happen.
A couple days later we met with The Rolling Stones main road crew to do a walk through of Echoplex. It was amazing to watch their team work. They exist as a mini army whose sole existence is to make sure The Stones are satisfied at every turn. Every aspect of the venue was explored up & down for hours. We did this twice. Eventually we got the call that it was on. Reality hadn’t really set in yet. All I knew was I had 36hrs to make a poster.
Knowing that we were going to do or have involvement in a show with The Rolling Stones was the hardest secret I’ve ever kept. On one hand it’s SO COOL and you wanna tell everyone. On the other, if you do, it’s going to be a complete shit show. Friends, family, there was no hope in getting people in. There was one equal chance for everyone to attend: The big announcement Saturday morning.
Saturday came. The whole day was consumed with Rolling Stones media. Someone had leaked the show the day before, so there was already a line at The El Rey Theatre, where the tickets to the show were to be sold for a measly $20. My twitter, facebook and texts were blowing up even before anyone knew I had any involvement with the show, just purely because we’ve done shows at The Echoplex before. There was desperate search to find whatever and any way in. I couldn’t help.
I spent the day at the El Rey selling tickets. The amount of people that knew about the show was really small. So even when it came down to the details of selling the tickets and controlling the crowd, we all played our part. The line wrapped around the block and a lottery system was put into place to choose the winners. 350 lucky people got tickets and screamed on their way out in excitement.
The experience of being at the show itself was the most surreal of all. Since I helped organize the show and had made the poster, I had full access. The Echoplex was completely transformed, especially the backstage area, which now encompassed the entire back lot. Star Trailers were brought in, a make-up booth was set up, the backstage was buzzing with techs, celebrities and various Stones family members. Everyone back there was really nice and even all had the biggest smiles. Top to bottom, fan to crew, everyone was fucking stoked to watch this show.
When the Stones finally started I felt like I was still living in a state of disbelief. It was too real to be real. They played 14 songs in 90 min. They played like they were teenagers, it was fucking amazing. I’d watched a few Stones live shows from throughout the eras to get ready for the show and even at their age I couldn’t tell a difference. Mick still had all the jarring, spastic moves he’s always had. Keithe still looking cool with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. It was flawless. As I looked around the room and saw people like Johnny Depp and Gwen Stefani nodding their heads and smiling too, I knew they felt the same. As I looked into the audience and witnessed the Echoplex brimming w a level of excitement I’d never experienced there, I knew they felt the same too. The Rolling Stones won the night (or the decade) and created something people will talk about likely for the rest of our lives.
This wasn’t just an amazing event, but a beautiful example of people coming together to make something great happen. The Echoplex, their crew, everyone at AEG, Goldenvoice, Concerts West, The Rolling Stones, Danny Johnson & I all logged in a bunch of hours to pull this thing off. Fucking amazing work and extra special THANKS to Lesley Olenik for spearheading the whole thing and Echoplex for all the crazy work they had to do.
See below for photos and a video from the show. And peep the flyer I made as well (above).
Still can’t believe this happened!