CULTURE

Bang is bigger than ever, but theStones are trying to keep it real

At this stage of their unrivaled performing and recording career, now over four decades long, nothing – questionable – can really be said of the Rolling Stones. Apparently still enjoying doing what they do, as frontman Mick Jagger, 62, told a recent news conference – otherwise «we wouldn’t be doing it» – they’ve grown into an untouchable, bigger-than-life rock music phenomenon. There is little doubt that, amid the sustained interest, both by the band itself and its immense following, the Rolling Stones rank as rock music’s biggest attraction. Even so, despite the act’s mega-corporate-level dimensions, the Rolling Stones are trying to keep the spectacle as real as they can, as was pointed out at a news conference held by concert promoter Di-Di Music in Athens yesterday, ahead of a performance scheduled here for late June as part of the band’s «A Bigger Bang» European tour. «The stage set designed for this tour makes it feel like the band’s playing at a smaller venue, not a stadium,» noted Serge Grimaux, head of the multinational online ticket agency Ticketpro, which is expanding into the Greek market with the Rolling Stones show as its first business venture. «What is trying to be achieved, by the Rolling Stones and the creative team around them, is to keep it feeling and looking like the band’s close to the people,» added Grimaux, who has collaborated with the ticketing side of several Rolling Stones tours in the past. Even so, tickets will not be affordable for all. Ranging from 297 euros – for VIP seats – to 78 euros, tickets will go on sale March 7, at 10.30 a.m., organizers said. Ticket prices in Europe will average 75 euros, according to the band’s official website. Moreover, 232 people will be able to witness the supergroup’s performance from the stage itself. Declining to say how much tickets for the «on-stage experience» – as it has been dubbed – would go for, the concert’s organizer said the price would be considerably more than that set for VIP seats. Di-Di Music officials said they were awaiting further details from the band’s management for on-stage tickets, not yet available. Di-Di Music chief Nikos Loris declined to specify the event’s total production cost, but admitted that «I think it’s Di-Di’s most expensive show.»  Organizers said that 117 semi-trailers carrying over 1,000 tons of equipment would arrive in Athens six days ahead of the performance to set up the mega-scale event. Di-Di Music, a major concert-promoting firm in the Greek market, has staged numerous large-scale events over the years, including its annual Rockwave Festival. The June 25 performance date given for Athens was rescheduled from a previous date, four days later, that had originally been provided last November, when the band announced the itinerary details of its upcoming European tour. The change of date, organizers said yesterday, was the result of an additional show in Lyon, France. The Rolling Stones last performed here in 1998, also at the Olympic Stadium, as part of their «Bridges to Babylon» tour. Quite sensationally, prior to that, the British blues-R&B-rock’n’roll band made an unsuccessful attempt to play its first-ever Greek show back in 1967, just ahead of the country’s looming military dictatorship. However, police officials, expressing the political establishment’s line of intolerance toward the notorious visiting rockers, ambushed the stage and stopped the show just four songs into the band’s set. This latest performance is expected to last well over two-and-a-half hours. Tickets go on sale March 7 at Tickethouse (42 Panepistimiou, Athens, tel 210.360.8366) & (20 Ethnikis Amynis & Tsimiski, Thessaloniki, tel 2310.253.630), and through Ticketpro Greece (www.ticketpro.gr).