THE ROLLING STONES LIVE
17th APRIL 1967
THE FIRST BIG GIG IN GREECE… AND THE LAST ONE!
I first heard about the concert on Mastorakis’ radio show, “A Bus Named Melody”. I was at home, listening to the radio. In the beginning of the show, Mastorakis mentioned a surprise he would disclose later on. When I first heard this, I don’t know how or why but I immediately thought: The Rolling Stones are coming to Greece. My hunch was confirmed by the middle of the show: the Rolling Stones would be in Athens, April 17. I was out of my head! I left home and ran to meet my friends, to tell them the good news.
I bought a ticket on the first day they were issued. The cheap ones cost about 30 or 50 drachmas and there were the ones costing 80 – 120 drachmas. Mastorakis had said that the first eighty persons to reach the airport to welcome the band would be awarded a free ticket. I of course went to the airport. Police started beating people up and in order to escape, we hid near a stream. I saw Brian Jones in his limo and started running behind the car.
I went to the gig with my brother and his company. My brother was more into the Animals and at first he didn’t want to go to the gig. “I don’t want to see these fags” he used to tell me. Needless to say he went mad when he actually did see them. At the time, there was no Beatles – Stones duel in Greece. Most people were into the Animals and there were the Stones fans. The Animals were considered wilder… I wouldn’t buy the Modern Vibes magazine. It was way too childish, but there were no other music magazines either. We used to buy NME and Melody Maker but our English was not good enough and we didn’t know how to read them.
So we went to the concert and I was the only one with a ticket. My company was walking around the stadium, trying to find a way to sneak in. They found an old man collecting chains which were used to prevent people without tickets from getting inside. So my brother says to him: “Come on now grandpa, in your age you shouldn’t be lifting heavy things. Here, lets us help”. They helped him and so they went in. There were many people, about thirteen thousand. There would have been even more if it had not been for all the fuss a day before. I knew some guys from school who had bought tickets but didn’t come to the gig because they were afraid they might be beaten up by the police. The police couldn’t care less. They’d beat anyone up in a minute.
Before the Stones came on stage, there were the Greek support bands: Loubogg, M.G.C., Idols and the rest. Mastorakis had promised these bands that if they were good enough, the Stones would take them along. Papastamatis sung Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night” and received almost as many cheers and clapping as the Stones.
When they came on stage, I was speechless. They started playing the Last Time.
In “Lady Jane”, Jagger was holding a rose and dancing amazingly… the girls were ecstatic.
In “Ruby Tuesday”, I see Brian Jones grabbing an instrument and there I go grabbing the binoculars of the guy standing next to me. The guy was yelling but I couldn’t stop. When Jones played harmonica, the whole stadium went silent just to listen to that. All of a sudden, everyone was speechless.
They also played “Let’s Spend the Night Together”. I was going crazy just by looking at Richards. In front of me there was a policeman, standing with his back at the band. I told him: “Don’t look at us screaming. Look at them, you ain’t gonna see them again”.
Bad things started happening during “Satisfaction”. A guy sent from the mayor handed two baskets with carnations to Jagger. Supposedly, all proceeds from the gig would be granted for the camps of the Municipality of Athens.
There were two bouquets, one with red and one with white flowers. Jagger picks up the red flowers, kisses them and hands them to an English man to throw them over to us. Police attack the guy and beat him up. Wyman was the first to notice what was happening. The Stones were wild, they wouldn’t hesitate and they went off the stage to help over. Mastorakis comes on the stage and starts shouting: “Gentlemen, it’s a shame”. After a while, the Stones end the fight, go back up on stage, finish off “Satisfaction”, unplug and leave. The crowd would refuse to leave yet. Then they turned off the lights. Mayhem followed. Girls screaming, boys teasing them. No-one knew exactly what was going on. We left the stadium and still policemen were beating people up. We were searching for a way out of the mess.
Next day Jagger said that this was the last concert of their tour and they were planning to play up until two o’clock in the morning. For a long time after that, I was feeling as if I had lost my mind. I was totally stuck on Jagger’s statement.
No other band had played in Athens before the Stones. It was the first big gig in Greece… and the last!