The 80-foot-tall Rolling Stones billboard that appeared a few days ago on Summer Street, right outside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, was our first clue that the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band might be making a stop in Boston soon.
And, sure enough, promoter AEG Live announced Wednesday that the Stones will indeed be playing at TD Garden June 12 as part of the band’s “50 and Counting” tour. (The 50 refers to the number of years the band has been playing together, not their ages, which are closer to 70.)
No word on when tickets will be available or how much they’ll cost, but you can bet they won’t be cheap. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts, and Mick Taylor, a Stones alum who’s back in the fold for this tour, have been promised a bounty of between $4 million and $5 million per show, and you don’t make that pricing tickets at $40 a pop, even if you fill all 18,900 seats at the Garden.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Jagger sounds energized for a guy who’ll celebrate his 70th birthday in July.
“We did a few shows in London and New York last year . . . and had such a good time that we thought . . . let’s do some more,” he said in the statement. “It’s a good show. Lots of the classic stuff everyone wants to hear. With a few little gems tucked in here and there. The stage is shaped like lips and goes off into the venue so I get to run around in the crowd. It’s great fun to be able to get that close to the audience.”
Added Richards: “From day one at rehearsals it sounded so fresh. You could tell that everybody was dying to get their teeth into it.”
Of course, this isn’t the same band that started a riot at Manning Bowl in Lynn in 1966; or the one that showed up four hours late for a show at Boston Garden in 1972 because Richards allegedly slugged a photographer at an airport in Rhode Island; or the one that played a mesmerizing show at the Garden in 1975 featuring a giant inflatable phallus; or even the one that opened their “Forty Licks” tour at the FleetCenter in 2002 by playing four songs from their classic 1972 LP “Exile on Main Street.” (Tickets for that show, by the way, were $350.)
“My personal view is that the Stones were over in 1967 with the release of ‘Aftermath.’ They personified the ’60s — invented it in many ways,” says rock biographer and Milton resident Stephen Davis , author of “Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones.” “Now we’re into a heritage act.”
Why, with mansions and untold millions, are the Rolling Stones going back on the road?
“It’s what they do, and it’s not just them. They have an entourage of hundreds who depend on them to keep their families in food and drugs,” says Davis. “The Stones isn’t just a band, it’s a machine, a kaleidoscope of corporations.”
Former Globe critic Steve Morse has seen the Stones countless times, including their famous 1969 show in London’s Hyde Park. Will he be paying a small fortune to see them yet again?
“I’ll wait to see what the tickets cost,” said Morse. “But, you know, the Stones come of the blues tradition, of Muddy Waters and guys who bopped til they dropped. I’m excited.”
Sounds like a yes to us.