The day the Rolling Stones announced their upcoming Oct. 6 concert at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, the chatter at Rockin Rudy’s music counter was expectedly thick with speculation over how exactly the arrival of Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie—as well as their not-so-small army of logistical support—will go down in the Garden City. Customers and staff wondered when tickets would go on sale (no official news by press time, but expect an announcement as early as this week), how much tickets will cost (ditto; although Reuters reports tickets will start at $89 and students will receive a $20 discount), if any local bands will fill the opening bill (fat chance, but rumors are swirling about Pearl Jam’s open schedule during that time), and how in the hell UM will accommodate the expected 70 semitrucks, 50 buses and four cranes needed to set up the band’s stage (it’s unknown whether they’re bringing the arena or stadium setup, but organizers are confident they’ll work it out either way).
“It’s all anyone’s talking about,” said longtime Rudy’s employee Greg Keeler. “It’s just one of those things you never expected to happen here.”
Just as Keeler was talking, another customer chimed in with her plan to ascend Mount Sentinel and catch the show from the same spot whence she watched the stadium’s last mega-concert, Pearl Jam in 1998. It’s a novel idea, although organizers caution that the stage will be positioned in the venue’s south end—less ideal for mountaintop viewing.
“I think I’ll pay for it,” said Luke Softich, another longtime Rudy’s employee.
“It’s the Stones,” Keeler added. “I don’t think you pass something like this up.”
While fans are excitedly plotting strategies, UM Productions’ organizers are still exhaling after finally landing the show. Rumors have been rampant about the Stones anticipated arrival—the pressure was so intense that UM Productions’ Adviser Marlene Hendrickson drafted an emergency press release in case the concert didn’t come through—and the work’s still not finished. As of press time UM hadn’t seen the contract rider; the Stones confirmed 17 new North American dates before hammering out the specifics of 12 of the shows. The school has hired music industry consultant and alum Mike McGinley to help cover the lagging details.
Even with the loose ends, the show’s come a long way in four months, from wild conjecture to confirmed date. UM Entertainment Coordinator Tom Webster remembers when the Stones first flew their production manager and a rep from promoter Bill Graham Presents into Missoula in early May to inspect UM’s facilities. At the time, Keith Richards had just fallen out of a coconut tree in Fiji, prompting the cancellation of the band’s European tour. “There were a lot of reasons to believe this would never happen,” Webster said, echoing the general sentiment, “but, well, now it is.”