Rob heard another phone pick up out at Long View. "Go ahead, Rob, we're
Rob Barnett says he dragged himself into his Worcester apartment at
5:30 AM. It was already light out, and Rob had been up all night,
outside in the damp and the cold, and he was very tired. He fell
quickly into a deep and dreamless sleep, which lasted only until 5:45
AM, when his phone rang.
"Rob, is that Rob Barnett? It's Stu, Rob, and I'm here with Mick
Jagger. It's important that we speak with you. Wake up."
Rob woke up, quickly.
Rob Barnett was the Music Director at WAAF, the radio station in
Worcester, and had closely followed the movements of the Rolling
Stones, and of Mick Jagger in particular, for over six weeks. Together
with his colleague, Dave Bernstein, Barnett had been quickly sworn to
secrecy, by me, and they saw to it that no mention of the Stones' exact
location Long View Farm made it onto the air until long after
the fact had become common knowledge. It was Rob who had staked out the
Worcester Airport the day Mick flew to Philadelphia in the Twin, tape
recorder at the ready, hoping for an interview.
"Rob," I said, once Mick had taken off, "I can't help you with
can't prevent you from going up to the man, and asking him, but I'm
simply not permitted to set up things like this on his behalf."
So Rob did just that waited until Mick got back from his press
conference in Philadelphia walked up to him, and asked him for an
"O.K.," Mick said. "I suppose so. But not before this gentleman
me to the little boys' room."
"This way, Mick," I said, laughing to myself that I should be so
regularly called upon to serve in this capacity. "This way." Mick
emerged promptly from the Men's Room, and then, much to Rob Barnett's
delight, started talking into the tape machine.
During the course of the interview, which WAAF aired scarcely 15
minutes later, Mick got to tell his version of the tennis court
incident; namely, that he most emphatically did
any drugs to children on the streets of North Brookfield, and that it
never would have occurred to him to do so.
Rob was very pleased with his interview, distributed it widely among
sister FM stations across the nation, and developed the temerity over
the days which followed to broach a further plan whereby WAAF would
help distribute the tickets to any eventual surprise club showing of
the Stones in the area; say at Sir Morgan's Cove.
Ian Stewart was intrigued by Barnett's suggestions, and met frequently
with him and Barnett's colleagues at the Paxton Inn midway between
Worcester and North Brookfield hammering out details. First of all
they rejected the plan which called for the handing out of tickets at
Sir Morgan's Cove itself say at midnight on the Saturday night
preceding the Monday night surprise performance to all customers
who happened to be present. It was Stones fans they wanted to get to,
not to the fans of whichever band happened to be playing at the Cove
that particular Saturday night.
Also rejected was the record store handout proposal, according to which
each purchaser of the album "Tattoo You" would also get a ticket, or
tickets, to the surprise show. They'd be fans all right, but there'd be
virtually no control over what happened once the tickets got split up
among the record stores in the area or when the record stores ran out
of albums. Also, disturbances might occur in the shopping malls among
those fans who didn't understand the rules, or who disapproved of
Barnett's idea, which was brazen in its aggressive posturing of his
radio station, WAAF, was to give out the tickets late Monday, just a
few hours before the show, to people either wearing a WAAF tee-shirt,
or showing off a WAAF bumper sticker on their car. Stu was taken by
this proposal, and thought it would work.
"I'm awake," Rob said. "You say that Mick's there with you?"
"Most certainly is. Just got through practicing up in the barn, you
know, and nobody's quite ready to go to sleep yet. We want to discuss
the radio announcements scheduled for today and tomorrow."
Rob most assuredly
know that the Stones had just finished
practicing up in the barn. He knew from personal
they had just finished, having spent the night down in Stanley's cow
pasture, rubbing his hands to keep warm, and avoiding the cow patties
as best he could, which was not very well. He heard, "Hang Fire," "You
Can't Always Get What You Want," "Miss You," "Tops," and
You" from a quarter of a mile away, and was thrilled. So were scores of
other Stones watchers who had picked this Saturday night to infest
Stanley's property some keeping a respectful distance from Long
View; others attempting to penetrate the perimeter established by Long
View and Stones security staff, in order to get as close as they
possibly could. The studio log shows that two Stones watchers were
delivered to Police Chief Harvey Thomasian that night, apprehended in
the live acoustic chamber under the barn, a stolen microphone in each
hand. Two others were pulled off the side of the barn, attempting to
scale it as human flies, but these were apologetic and allowed to
return to the pasture below.
"Mick has two remarks, Rob, and then we think you'll be all set to go,
per our meeting earlier today. "
"What are they?" Rob asked, scrambling for a pencil.
"First of all, Mick feels that you should take out the 'on behalf of
the Rolling Stones.' A little dicey, that one is. Also... wait a
minute, Rob. What, Mick... ?"
"Also, Rob, and this is most important, Mick wants the announcement to
be read in a low-key and normal tone of voice. Got that? Low key.
Normal. We don't want people getting upset, or anything like that. You
still there, Rob?"
"Yes, sir!" Rob snapped. "Got it all. Steve will have to re-cut the two
announcements, since we did them today I mean yesterday like
you said to, but he'll just have to do it, that's all there is to it.
So why don't I read the Monday announcement back to you now, with all
the changes? This is the one which tells them how to get the tickets."
"Go ahead, Rob."
Rob heard another phone pick up out at Long View.
"Go ahead, Rob, we're listening."
"O.K., it goes like this:
For some time now, WAAF has been telling you that the Rolling Stones
would be adding dates to their 1981 tour of the United States. Now we
can tell you that
the Rolling Stones will be playing in a
low-key informal gig somewhere in New England, and
of the tickets to tonight's show. Here's how you
can get yours: WAAF will be on the streets in and around Worcester,
away the tickets to tonight's Rolling Stones gig. We'll
those people who are over 20 and are wearing a WAAF
T-shirt or who have a WAAF bumper sticker visible on their car or their
body. Our staff will be in unmarked cars and plain clothes. If we
approach you, we'll ask for a photo I.D. because tickets are not
transferable to prevent scalping. Once again, here's how you can get
tickets to tonight's Rolling Stones gig: WAAF and representatives of
the Stones will be on the streets in and around Worcester
the tickets. We'll approach
those people who are
over 20 and wearing a WAAF T-shirt or who have a bumper sticker visible
on their car or their body. We'll be in unmarked cars and plain clothes.
We'll be on the streets this afternoon giving away tickets up until
seven o'clock tonight. Do not call or come to WAAF... the tickets
are already on their way to you.
"So how's that?" Rob asked.
There was a long silence at the other end of the phone, out in North
Brookfield, broken finally by Ian Stewart. "Rob, we think that will do
very nicely. Very nicely, indeed. Just don't forget what I said about
the normal tone of voice, and everything will be just fine."
The announcement was first read at 6:20 AM, Monday morning, 14
September, by Dave Bernstein on WAAF. And that was the day the city of
Worcester took off work.