Mick Jagger - The Story

Mick Jagger in Concert. Kooyong Tennis Stadium, Melbourne. Saturday February 17 1973. 

I couldn’t afford a front-of-stage ticket so I faked a press pass – very seventies ‘Blue Meanie Press’ – and managed to make my way in. It was an extremely hot summer’s day, about 35 degrees, and being an afternoon concert The Rolling Stones were meant to come on at about 4pm. The supporting act was ‘Madder Lake’. However, by 5pm still no Stones… rumour has it that Keith Richards had actually passed out for most of the afternoon - and by the way that he later staggered white faced onto the stage I’d say it was true.

So by 6.00 the first few chords of the classic Brown Sugar announced that here they were, at last live on stage in Melbourne. I just remember it was an astoundingly good concert… as well as Keith missing chords in the first few songs but then getting his act into gear big time. 

I shot about 10 reels of film and then realized I had to somehow evade security and get right to the front of the stage… and so spent the last quarter of the concert in the total pandemonium (no seating) right in front of the stage. In those days the stage was only about a metre and a half high and so if you were close to the front (as I was) - it was like you actually were on stage! 

The Stones were blazing their way through ‘Midnight Rambler’ when I realized that I’d run out of film. I was then lucky enough to nab another film from a photographer nearby and keep shooting … Mick Jagger rips the belt out of his trousers and while screaming ‘Did you hear about the midnight rambler!’, hits the stage three times with aforesaid belt – he then dropped to his knees and the crowd suddenly completely evaporated (a bit like the parting of the Red Sea) and I was staring straight at him. Click! And that was the last shot on the reel.

When you take a photograph sometimes you know you have a blinder, and this time I knew I did. So I went home and worked all night in the darkroom developing and printing the photographs. In a nutshell, Molly Meldrum, (who was then editing the magazine ‘GoSet’ before his ABC ‘Countdown’ days), put the shot on the front page of the next issue with the headline ‘THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!’

So there you have it, the Stones at their peak, then the biggest band in the world - and in my humble opinion still the greatest.

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