Remember When the Rolling Stones Played a Surprise Show at Toad’s Place in New Haven?
I remember first hearing about it while I was watching the 11 o'clock news on channel 8 the evening of August 12, 1989. The world's biggest rock band, The Rolling Stones, had just played a surprise warm-up show for their upcoming Steel Wheels World Tour at Toad's Place in New Haven. The Stones had been staying at the Wykeham Rise School in Washington, Connecticut rehearsing for the tour, and took to the tiny stage in New Haven as a "thank you to Connecticut for the hospitality" according to tour press agent, Lynn Tanzman. I always heard that it was truly part of the celebration for Jimmy Koplik's birthday.
If you've never been to Toad's Place, it's an average sized venue, I think it has a 700 person capacity? With a great sound system, and a relatively small elevated stage. The walls are adorned with past concert playbills, and this was their biggest show, ever. The Stones took the stage that night and ripped through an 11 song set. They opened with Start Me Up, and ripped through Bitch, Tumbling Dice, Sad Sad Sad, Miss You, Little Red Rooster, Honky Tonk Woman, Mixed Emotions, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It), Brown Sugar, and Jumpin' Jack Flash. Here's a YouTube recording of the show:
The tickets were sold for $3 a piece. I've seen a few photos over the years from the lucky few who were at that show. The only person that I personally know who was there, was my old friend and former co-worker, Mike Lapitino. Lap told me a story once about that night, and I hope you don't mind me telling it here buddy, but it's a great one. Post-show, Lappy and Jimmy were hanging out with the band, and everyone obviously was trying to get their moment with the stars. Lappy was near a mobbed Keith Richards, who didn't seem to have a drink in his hand. So, Lappy made it a point to slide up next to him, and slipped the legend a nice cold beer. Keith looked right at him through all the fuss, and said "Bless your heart". You can die happy after getting blessed from Keith f'ing Richards, right?