Sure, the Rolling Stones are old, but are they considered classical music? Bucking for a place alongside Bach and Beethoven, the venerable rockers announced their upcoming world tour on Tuesday from the balcony of Juilliard, the century-old conservatory housed at New York City’s Lincoln Center. It’s the band’s first tour since the Licks Tour of 2002-03, and it’ll be in support of their forthcoming, still-untitled studio album, their first since Bridges to Babylon eight years ago.
The band has confirmed 35 dates this summer in the U.S. and Canada, with the rest of the world to follow throughout 2005-06. As predicted, the tour begins on Aug. 21 at Boston’s Fenway Park. The Stones plan to play venues of all sizes, from clubs and theaters to arenas and stadiums, but even in the largest venues, the band hopes to give fans (a few hundred of them, anyway) a sense of intimacy by placing several rows of seats directly on the stage. Tickets to the earliest shows were made available to dues-paying fan club members immediately; everyone else must wait until May 14. (Ticket and venue info is posted at the band’s website, rollingstones.com.)
Inevitably, the senior-citizen rockers were asked at the Juilliard press conference if this tour will be their last. ”We never said this is going to be our last tour,” Mick Jagger told reporters. ”We take each tour as it comes.”
The Stones traditionally announce their tours at splashy, outdoor events in New York. Three years ago, they announced the Licks Tour by landing a yellow blimp at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Before that, they heralded the Bridges to Babylon Tour via a 1955 Cadillac convertible crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1975, they performed ”Brown Sugar” aboard a flatbed truck riding down Fifth Avenue. Tuesday marked the first time since that event 30 years ago that they’d performed live during a tour announcement. From the balcony above the plaza at Lincoln Center, they played ”Start Me Up,” ”Brown Sugar,” and a new song called ”Oh No, Not You Again.” Which may be what some of the music press assembled below were thinking.