Sunday, June 28, 2015

stevo! the stones! where no "mixed emotions" happened ...

“I see a red door, and I want to paint it black.
No colors anymore – I want to turn them black.
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes!
I have to turn my head, until my darkness goes …

I see a line of cars, and they’re all painted black.
With flowers and my love – both never to come back.
I see people turn their heads, and quickly look away!
Just like with newborn babies, it happens every day …”

-- “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones.  Sadly, not performed last night … but so brilliantly played over the closing lyrics of my second favorite movie of all time.  (al pacino voice) Vanity.  It’s definitely my favorite sin …

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Almost nine months ago to the day, almost nine months ago to the minute, I cracked open a frosty cold Coors Light in the parking lot of the Truman Sports Complex, somehow didn’t remove the t-shirt to soak up some sun, and began preparing for a night that I not only imagined I would never witness in my life … but a night that was so overhyped, so ridiculously anticipated by me, that I had no doubt it would be a crushing, deflating, “damn, that wasn’t anything like what I expected” moment that occur way too often in life.

Nine months ago, the Royals somehow rallied to beat the A’s 9-8 in the twelfth inning of the most incredible sporting event I have ever been blessed enough to attend.  That Tuesday night to close out September, and open a month of baseball this generation of Royals fans had never experienced before – indeed, never imagined we’d get the opportunity to experience – not only lived up to the hype, it knocked the hype out in the third round on a TKO that even the shady judge from Nevada couldn’t doctor a ballot over.

Saturday night, after a fun day pregaming by the pool, pregaming in a lot I have never tailgated in before, heading in for one epic opening act, hiking up damned near to the coaches box for my seat, and waiting in nervous anticipation, three notes opened the night.  Three notes every Chiefs fan instantly and immediately knows by heart, and instantly and immediately belts out the three one-syllable words that make up the lyrics for those three notes.

(Well, unless you were the dude who sat behind Jasson in Section 109 back in the day.  If you were that dude?  Then you changed the middle word, slightly.  But – that change worked then, and it still works today.)

From those three notes to open the main portion of the night (note: keep reading, it's a ways down on the list), to the epic closing nearly 2 ½ hours later, as the fireworks woke up eastern Jackson County, rattled Arrowhead Stadium to its foundation, and one truly “holy f*cking sh*t” moment closed the night down in a way I will never forget, this was the greatest night of my year.  

I’d argue this was the most fun I’ve had period in five years.  

This was one epic concert, one amazing night, one I will never, ever, ever be able to do justice to.

(col. hannibal smith voice) I know that.  But I gotta try.

I spent my Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium, watching the Rolling Stones in concert.  I have never paid as much for a ticket to a concert, as I did for Saturday.  (I should note: I have attended concerts that cost more.  But my mommy and/or someone else, footed the bill for those.)  I have rarely been as geeked entering a concert as I was last night – I honestly think that other than Sir Paul last year, the only time  I’ve been this ready to storm the concert gates was Projekt Revolution eleven years ago come August.

For the second time in nine months, an event at the Truman Sports Complex somehow, someway, not only lived up to the hype?

It knocked that hype all the way to (reggie jackson voice) second f*cking base.

Here then, are 27 moments from last night, that struck me in some way, shape or form, as a memory that will last a lifetime … or in a few cases, a frustration I hope someday gets overcome.

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I should note two things up front: first, for the most part, this is a reverse countdown.  The Numero Twenty Seven Moment matters far, far less to me than the Numero Thirteen Moment, than the Numero Nine Moment, and so on.  However, Moment Numero Twenty Five isn’t necessarily more memorable to me than Moment Numero Twenty Four or Twenty Six.  If that makes sense.  And I swear, in my f*cked up fevered imagination, it does.

Secondly, this is the first post in sixty days on this site.  Sixty.  Days.  I truly apologize.  I wish I had a better excuse than “everything that’s interested me in the last two months is negative / a desire to rip people / nothing you want to read” … but that’s sadly my reality.  Finally, after sixty days, something happened in my life good enough to record for as long as this gift Al Gore invented exists. 

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27.  Both a “dammit!” and a “damn, this is gonna be our night!” pair of moments.

My favorite Rolling Stones song (and hang on, let me take off the white t-shirt I’m wearing … and anything else that’s stainable, because there are gonna be some rotten vegetables flying my way at the blasphemy I’m about to type …)

My favorite Rolling Stones song is “Mixed Emotions”.  I know – how?  How is that possible?  How can anyone sit through the twenty plus classics (and one utter clunker) performed last night, and think “yeah, these are pretty sweet, but “Mixed Emotions”, that’s the best!  That’s better than all of this!”

What can I say, other than (scott hall voice) hey, yo.  It’s me.

The “dammit!” moment was, as expected, when “Mixed Emotions” was not played.  (As far as I could tell, they played one song post-mid 1980s … and that was the night’s clunker.)  I wasn’t surprised – the Stones had yet to play that song at a single stop on this tour, and when you get the expected, you can’t necessarily b*tch, moan and complain about it.

Which is why I loved the “damn, this is gonna be our night!” moment.

The smartest move all day, was arguably made by me.  We’d originally planned to head for the stadium about 5:30ish.  I had a gut feeling that was a mistake.  So I texted the one person who had to drive to get to our meet-up point, and asked if she could press the schedule.  Anna had a 90 minute drive in.  I asked her to please try to get here by 4. 

She got to the house a little after 4.  We were hauling out chairs and beers a little after 4:30.  And no sooner did I sit down, crack open that Coors Light, than the neighbor’s stereo next to us, playing 101 The Fox (which had 30 straight hours of Stones music Friday night into yesterday), belted out … (norm macdonald voice) you guessed it – Frank Stallone!

No – you guessed it.  “Mixed Emotions”.

One of the funniest moments of the night?  After the song was over, and I’d belted every word as loud as I could sing it, just making a total ass of myself in the moment and loving every minute of it, the dude next to us walked up to me, and asked to shake my hand.  I asked him why.  His response?

“You must be one helluva fan, to know every word of that piece of sh*t song!”

Oh.

(But you shook his hand, right?)  Hell yes I did.

26. My unilateral decision to head out way earlier?  Was brilliant! 

Tracking various friends on Twitter headed towards the concert, every artery into Arrowhead was a parking lot by 5pm.  A few folks opined it took three hours – three hours! – to get from 63rd Street to Raytown Road on 435.  It’s a three mile drive, at most, and it was taking three hours.  And my last true b*tch about the night is …

25. The exit. 

Memo to KCMO’s finest (who suck at parking control as much as I suck at sobriety, and passing on a joint handed to me … and yes, more on that “oh sh*t” moment in a few moments).  Gate 5 is NOT the gate to force people to exit into, leaving Lots F and G.  Gate 5 drops from seven exit lanes, to three exit lanes, in barely 1,000 feet at the practice facility entrance.  The bottleneck to get out was ridiculous.  It took nearly forty minutes just to reach Raytown Road. 

And then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, KCMO’s finest forced everyone to turn right, and either merge onto 435, or circle around onto Manchester and start over!  Really?  Every bleeping person in the left turn lane (including us) was in that lane?  To turn left!  To head east on Raytown Road back to, I don’t know, Raytown!  Where we came from!

KCMO’s finest flunked yesterday for parking reasons.  But damn, did they let a lot of stuff go, of a non-driving nature …

24. One moment you had to be there to witness, that I thought was really cool.

The last song Ed Sheeran performed was his biggest hit to date (and the only one by him I actually can sing along to), “Thinking Out Loud”.  (For the record: this dude is still visibly outraged that “Thinking Out Loud” did not win the Grammy for Song of the Year, it’s that great.)

Our aisle / usher lady, stop helping people find their seats, when Mr. Sheeran began performing this number.  She just stood (as did I) for the next four minutes, and lived in the moment.

Massive Tommy Points to that usher dudette. 

23. A chant that stunned the hell out of me … forecast by a moment that I cheered the hell out of.

About midway through the set, Mick Jagger brought the fun, tomfoolery, and hijinks to a halt to introduce every member of the backup and the band.

And as he introduced the drummer, Charlie Watts, he stunned Ol’ Chuck and the other 50,000 plus of us in attendance, by planting a Royals cap on his head. 

Arrowhead erupted.

To the point that two hours later, exiting down the spiral ramp of Gate F, a chant as unmistakable as it was, and as unthinkable as said chant was twelve months earlier, could be heard well into that good night.

“Let’s Go Royals!  (Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap!)  Let’s Go Royals!  (Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap!)

Wow, how things change in the span of nine short months sometimes …

22. My Favorite Text of the Night.

“The Voice of Reason”, 9:47pm: “Percentage chance of you creaming your pants when Mick (sings) “Start Me Up” at Arrowhead?

Me, 11:00pm: “It was the opener and it was great.”

“The Voice of Reason”, 11:02pm: “That didn’t answer my question.”

As hysterical as that comeback was (at least to me – and admit it, that’s damned funny, even if it is mocking my inability to control a bodily function when I get really, really happy … wait, did I just type that out loud?!?!?! …), as hysterical as that was?

My favorite text of the night was my reply to it.

Me, 11:05pm: “At best it’s my 4th favorite moment so far.”

My two favorite moments?  Were still nearly (respectively) ten and sixteen minutes away.

Which means “Start Me Up” will be, at best, Momento Numero Cinco on this listing.

Dios Con Mio!

21. Mick’s First Great Crowd Playing Moment.

When Mick asks the audience “how many of you are from Kansas?”  Then asks “how many of you are from Missouri?”  The applause sounded about equal to me.

Mick, into the mic, though intending the thought to himself: “there is a subtle difference!”

I just wish he’d thrown a “bloody” in that phrase somewhere, to make it something (the great mr. hugh m. hefner voice) REALLY special!

20. Keith Richards Is Not Only Alive – He Can Bloody Sing!!!!!!!

No, really!

Keith Richards pulled lead vocals on two numbers last night at the midpoint of the show.  One (“Before They Make Me Run”) was decent enough, especially if you recover from the shock that, you know, a living, semi-breathing corpse is singing bloody damned well on stage!  (Note: I may or may not have added “bloody” to my vocabulary yesterday, in honor of this event.  You’ll bloody well deal with it, blimey!)

The other, he did “Happy”, which is a top ten Stones track for me.  And he nailed it.  He bloody freaking nailed it.

Given that he had to follow up not just Mr. Jagger placing the Royals cap on Mr. Watts, but also had to follow up my fourth favorite moment of the night just before that?

What a moment.

19. I Defy You To Stop Me!

Ronnie Wood was spotted by me at least – at least – 22 times openly, tauntingly, and quite visibly, puffing away on a cigarette while performing.

And he didn’t even try to hide it.  Hell, he lit that sucker while on the stage screens at least twice, in open defiance for the KCMO Health Department to shut this concert down.

They’d have had a riot on their hands if they’d tried.

18. “Whoa, This Thing Doesn’t Reek!”

In a moment that will stun nobody who knows me, the first one of us tailgating who had to break the seal was, uuh, me.  So I go off hiking for a port-a-potty, which was a solid 5, 6 rows behind us, and a solid 500 feet right of us.

I step foot into that thing, expecting the usual stench of human refuse that makes you need to immediately puke and make the stench worse for the next victim … only, it didn’t stink.  It actually had an apple-cinnamony smell to it.

In case you think I’m joking, I stood in that thing a solid two minutes after I was done peeing, in utter disbelief that a port-a-potty could smell better than my main room on any typical Tuesday.

I even mentioned it when I got back to the group – “you don’t have to fear the johns, they don’t reek!”

Nobody believed me. 

Until Jeff and Paula risked it an hour later … and noted “wow, that didn’t smell at all like a Johnny on the Spot!”

Mad kudos to whatever sanitation company provided the relief stations last night.  I can confirm that even at 11:45pm, after hours of abuse to said relief station?  I still wasn’t overwhelmed by vile smells, stepping in almost seven hours after I first did.

17. “Wait – this is Arrowhead?!?!?!?!”

Uttered by Mona as the Stones took the stage.  Here’s the view:



(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6 Plus.)

Yes, this is Arrowhead … and it looked nothing like Arrowhead.

16. “Damn!  Every f*cking parking spot is full!”

Said by me, on my one beer run of the night, between Ed Sheeran and the Stones.  I looked out to the west, and yeah.  Every single spot in F, G, H, and J was full, and the hill behind H and J was packed as well.

And every seat west of about the twenty yard line in the east side of the field (where the straight part of the stage began, I’m guessing about section 103, 104, on around to about 114, 115) was full.  There was not an empty seat in the house anywhere, on the field, club level, lower level*, or upper deck, where tickets were sold.  In a word?  Incredible.

(*: save for section 131, and 126.  Looked like nobody sold tickets there.  I theorized it was due to the two huge cranes of speakers and light strobes that blocked the view.  But even those two sections were nearly full, as the show hit its crescendo about 11:10, 11:15 last night.)

15. The Only True Clunker Moment … and Even That Wasn’t Awful.

The fourth song the Stones performed was “Doom and Gloom”, which as far as I could tell was the most recent track they performed.  In fairness to Mick and the gang, coming off of the opening three classics (“Start Me Up”, “It’s Only Rock and Roll”, and the grousely underrated “Tumbling Dice”), and given Momento Numero (at worst) Tres still to come followed it up, a letdown seemed inevitable at some point.  So kudos for getting the worst moment of the show over with in the first fifteen minutes.

Had I been sitting ten rows lower?  That would have been the bathroom break moment of the show.

Or as it’s known in the WWE: “The Women’s Match”.

14. The Seat.

I sat in 330, Row 27, Seat 17.  Here’s the ticket:



(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6 Plus.)

I paid $92 for that seat. 

It’s the best $92 I’ll spend this year, that doesn’t involve a casual encounter on Craigslist (rimshot!)

Oh, and here’s the view as I arrived:



(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6 Plus.)

13. The Pregame Meal.

In the interest of full disclosure, Mona and I had mapped out our plans for yesterday at least two weeks ago.

The way this event came together, at least for me, was that our good friends and Chiefs tailgating buddies Jeff and Paula, who live in Omaha, had seen the Stones coming here, asked if the Chiefs gave us purchasing privileges and/or discounts (and they did / do), so they bought four tickets, for the two of them, and Russ and Mona.  Only Russ didn’t want to go.  So Mona asked if I’d be her date.

Gee, me pass up the Stones?  I’d have to be stoned to do that!  (Hang in there: moment nueve is one I’ll never live down, I fear.)

So I said sure, and as the spring and summer went along, a few other friends said they were going, we started to coordinate some things, get a decent group and tailgate together, and then last Tuesday, I was out to dinner with Mona, planning how we were going to give two awesome friends a great day here in KC.

(Here’s where I should note, they are both art teachers in the Omaha area.  Paula teaches on the Nebraska side, Jeff on the Iowa.  Or it’s vice versa.  Either way, these are the two folks I referred to as “Tony and Lisa” for the first three years I knew them, because I’m that hideous with names.)

So we found this retro art gallery / winery to check out for lunch, found a couple other neat places we thought they’d enjoy, and decided “done and done”.

Then came Saturday morning.  When we opted for breakfast poolside, with the 101 The Fox Stones Marathon on the speakers, and yeah, nobody wanted to leave. 

So, change of plans.

The pregame meal was some fancy parmesan and garlic butter potatoes, grilled bacon wrapped tenderloin, fresh corn on the cob steamed to perfection, wilted lettuce salad, chilled cucumbers and onions, a perfectly chilled bottle or three of Martini and Rossi, a few perfectly poured vodka tonics (hey, that’s my contribution!), and about thirty straight minutes of nobody saying a word, just polishing everything off.

I wish I’d snapped a photo.  It was that damned perfect.

And saved what we’d intended for lunch for …

12. The Postgame Meal.

We finally made it home to Mona’s about 1am.  (Yes, it really took an hour to get home from Lot F23.  45 minutes to get onto 435, another five to merge far left to get onto 350, and then ten minutes to traverse 63rd Street to Woodson.  Thank you again, KCMO’s finest.  You are fine … for everything other than parking control.)

Once we stumbled in, we broke out the cheese, sausage, cracker, and wine spread we’d intended for lunch.  (Yeah, I know – mock away.  I really could care less.  I’m 38.  I’ve given up avoiding middle age stigma.)

After an hour devouring that, most folks headed off for bed.  I tried to, I really did.  Only I couldn’t sleep.  I was still so pumped over what I’d just seen.

11. “It (takes) a HOOOOOOOO … OOOOOONNNNNN … KKKKKYYYYYY Talk WOMANNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!”

Sweet merciful Jesus.

This was one of the few moments that brought Arrowhead to our collective feet, kept us there, and wasn’t played out (the cynic) or milked for even greater, uuh, greatness (me).

As soon as the opening notes of “Honky Tonk Woman” began, Paula leapt to her feet two seats from me and grabbed her husband Jeff out of his seat.  (No easy feat when you’re as packed in as we were last night.)

And she wasn’t the only one.  Every damned person was standing and shouting that chorus.


Could not shout that enough, it was so great.

(Seriously, click the link, and listen to the chorus.  Epic awesome!)

10. The #StonesKC Choice.

For the record, I voted for “Get Off Of My Cloud”, which would rank in my top five Stones song.  (Fine, gun to my head, my top five: “Mixed Emotions”, “Sympathy For the Devil”, “Miss You”, “Beast of Burden”, and “Angie”.  The next five: “Start Me Up” (or “Start Us Up!” as Jasson’s former neighbor would shout), “Gimme Shelter”, “Paint It Black”, “Happy”, “Mother’s Little Helper”.  Just barely missing the cut?  “What a Drag It Is (Getting Old)”.  Yes, yes it is.)

The choice that won was “Street Fighting Man”, and I gotta admit, it was damned good.

(Will try to link when available on YouTube!)

9. “So, what did you think? / “I’ve never – NEVER! – seen someone own a stage like that!”

Asked of me, and answered by me, after the concert.

I’ve NEVER seen anyone own a concert stage, like Mick Jagger did last night.

I hesitate to make this comparison out of respect for the religious among us … but that was what it has to feel like, to have some Man of the Cloth absolutely bamboozle you into buying everything he’s selling.

I’m … I’m still speechless, at witnessing Mick Jagger last night.

I think … no.  I know – that’s a good thing.  That’s a DAMNED good thing!

8. “You Want a Cookie?”

Well, I suppose, given my (and our) collection of friends, that eventually, I’d toke up in front of my Second Mother.

That moment arrived a little before 6pm yesterday, right after I got back from Moment Numero Siete about to appear, when Anna asked me that question.

Stupid me literally processed that as “sweet, she baked happy cookies!  Hell yes I’ll have one – I’ll have three!”

No.  Her definition of “cookie” is my definition of “one hitter”.

So, as she passed me the blunt she’d rolled, I realized I’d reached my Rubicon.  Be myself … or be myself.

I didn’t quite go (brewer and shipley voice) one toke over the line, but I toked.

I guess every kid fails his “parents” at some point.

I failed my second mother?

At least nine times last night.

7. One Epic, Awesome, “No, Really – This Was a Real Place?  You Worked There?  These Were Real People?!?!?!?!?!?!” Trip Down Memory Lane.

This, peoples and peepettes, is the last fond memory of last night, that did not involve a moment on the stage.

When we got there about 4:30, I texted my buddy Anthony that we were in F23.  He replied “we’re in the shade in F21.”  So, in typical Stevo-style, I stood up, noticed F22 was directly east of us, and thought “well, I can find this – F21 has to be in front of F22, right?”

Fifteen minutes later, I figure out F21 is BEHIND F23, and to the south.  (Seriously – who designed the parking lot numbers at the complex, me?)  I finally find “The Perpetual Intern”, and his father in law, and after we exchange pleasantries, we discover it truly is (little kids voice) a small world after all:

* My mom had at least one of his kids in class.  And one of her team teachers had at least one other one.  (This should be one helluva trip down memory lane, when my mom and I connect on our usual Sunday night talk later today.)

* Said father in law wounded one very green and ill-prepared soldier, by somehow spraying the Boulevard Pilsner all over my shirt.  (Pause).  I know, I know – cue the peanut gallery with the “wait, you still had a shirt on, on a pushing 90 degree day?!?!?!?!?!” response.

* But it led to a solid 15, 20 minute look back, at what working for Transamerica once meant, at least for us, and so many of you reading this.  There were names dropped I hadn’t thought of in a decade.  There were moments that still inspire spit-out laughter (Dennis literally watching “Springer” and “Maury” at his desk; Tucker somehow was the one of us who got picked to relocate; me and Mary’s verbal b*tch slaps heard two city blocks away, my brother now being Mary’s defacto boss, and of course, all things Leif), moments that made me smile at the memory (P Otts every Friday, “Smoking Breaks”, the sexual harassment / gambling ring busted when Scott quit, all things Leif), things that made me sad in what’s been lost (hackey sack at the park across the street, Dale “leading” the interns, and again -- all things Leif), and of course, sadness over what’s probably gone forever, no matter how much I hate it (The Champ).

By the time we were done, “The Perpetual Intern”’s father in law could not believe we worked in a place where all this sh*t went down.

Anthony and I?  Just feel sorry for all of you, who’ll NEVER work in a place, where all this sh*t not only went down, but was accepted as an everyday, normal part of the workday process!

The Last Six?

I’ll try to link, or upload.

6. The Three Notes To Open the Concert.

Yeah, lower than I anticipated.

“Start Me Up”.


5. The Final Closing.

Yes, the fireworks were epic, closing the joint down with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” after (arguably) the most satisfying concert experience of my life is Irony 101, and I could keep going.

But there was one moment that just nailed it.

After the backups, the choir that nailed “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (which should have somehow been listed in here; epic failure on my part), and other assorted hands were recognized, The Four took the stage.

Mick.  Keith.  Ronnie.  Charlie.

Arm in arm.  Bowing to the crowd, in unison.

I have to admit – in Section 330, Row 27, Seat 17?  It got awful, awful dusty at that moment.  Because what are the odds that will ever happen again – four friends, four bandmates, spanning 284 years combined on this planet, and 212 years combined in this band – will EVER bow together again, in front of a grateful audience?

In hindsight, this is at least two spots too low.

4. The “Miss You” Sing Along.

Again, just click, and enjoy.  I cannot possibly do it justice.

3. The Duet.

All I can possibly add to this – other than until the final two moments to appear, both of which came after Gregg and I’s text exchange twenty some odd spots ago – is that THIS is the moment I thought would define this night for me, this concert for me, this experience for me.

And it’s third.

I guess all I can say, is let that sink in.  Twenty minutes in, I was so satisfied with what I had seen, I’d have been fine if everything stopped then, not another moment occurred.

And yet, many more moments did, at least two of which I thought were better and more memorable, more enduring, more incredible.

But this one?

I’m embedding the clip.  You NEED to see this.  Just watch the sheer joy, the utter “holy f*cking sh*t, this is real, and it is spectacular!” reaction from Ed Sheeran throughout this five minutes … and please know?

I was digging it even more than him.


(Here’s where I should note, “Some Girls” is my favorite Stones CD.  “Miss You”, “Beast of Burden”, and “Shattered”, with an epic cover of “Just My Imagination” to boot.  Grousely underrated.)

2. “It’s Just a Shot Away!”

I had to look this one up … so kudos to Lisa Fischer.

Who damned near brought the stadium down, for four solid minutes, matching Mick Jagger note for note, stressful moment for stressful moment, awesome for awesome, on “Gimme Shelter”. She NAILED it. 

I actually turned to the guy next to me (who I never got a name of, in a rarity for me), and actually said “godd*mmit, I should have recorded this.  This is the moment of this night, I’ll never want to forget.”

The lesson?

Go back to those text messages twenty spots ago.

As usual?

I was premature.


(Seriously -- watch.  Lisa Fischer is THAT epically awesome.  I've RARELY fist pumped like I did for the last three minutes of this song ...)

1. The Coolest Stage Backdrop I’ve Ever Seen.

Followed up “Gimme Shelter”, and I did record it, below, intending for you to enjoy.

Only ... it's too large to post.

So enjoy the YouTube version instead, for as long as its available:



(Just look at the stage.  And especially when Mick appears.  Jesus, that's incredible!)

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Thank you, Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie.  Thank you, Kansas City.  Thank you, every reader who was there.  Just … thank you.

I NEEDED last night, after my last few months.

I NEEDED last night.

(Pause).

You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes?
You just might find?

You get what you need …

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