After weeks of conflicting reports and rumors of the Rolling Stones making or not making a stop in Salt Lake City, United Concerts executive Jim McNeil gave fans some satisfaction.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts and newcomer Darryl Jones - the group known as the Rolling Stones - will make their first appearance in Utah in almost 30 years. Jones is replacing departed Bill Wyman. The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at the University of Utah's Rice Stadium. Newcomer Seal will open the show.More than 31,500 tickets go on sale Saturday, Sept. 17, for $55 and $30 at all Smith'sTix outlets and the Rice Stadium box office. Wristbands used to reserve a place in the ticket lines are being handed out now.
"This is all very exciting for us," McNeil said during a press conference on the south lawn of the stadium. "We have been working on this since January."
McNeil said that beginning Oct. 21, the Friday before the show, more than 250 people will work three days to erect one of the largest concert stages in history. The massive set for the Stones' "Voodoo Lounge" tour measures over 220 feet long, 90 feet wide, 85 feet deep and 100 feet high.
In addition, the show will feature the world's largest Jumbotron TV screen, more than $40,000 worth of fireworks and a 1.5 million-watt Showco sound system blasting out the sound equivalent to about 10,000 home stereos cranked to 11, according to the press release.
Rice Stadium will actually be the smallest venue on the tour by 10,000 seats, said McNeil. "What we will have is the Rolling Stones here in a `clublike' atmosphere in Salt Lake City. This will absolutely, without a doubt be the finest rock 'n' roll show ever."
Many hurdles were overcome in negotiations with the band's promoters, said McNeil, one being whether or not the sponsor, Budweiser beer, would be able to fly a banner onstage.
"We're not the only state in the nation that doesn't allow alcoholic beverage advertisement on public educational facilities," he said. "The dilemma has been taken care of."
McNeil said, however, he didn't know what kinds of negotiations or compromises had been made. "All I know is the word `Budweiser' will not be seen."
Questions of safety and security were also raised.
"Rolling Stones fans have mellowed with age," McNeil said. "I do not foresee any type of problem with security. Although we will take all the normal precautions, as we do for the other shows."
As for weather and the possible chilly wind that usually creeps into the valley during October, McNeil said, "Rain or shine, the show will go on. Just remember to wear a coat."
McNeil, who led a failed attempt to catch The Who on the band's farewell tour in 1980, said a big reason the Stones are able to stop in Salt Lake City this time around is pure timing.
"It's now 1994 and things have changed," he said. "We have more community support, and the university was more receptive to the idea. Now, whether or not that opens the door for other shows to stop here (in Rice Stadium) is yet to be seen."
Thom Dillon, spokesman for Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corra-di-ni, said the concert is exciting for the city and will benefit the city's image.
"Having the Rolling Stones here is a fine example of how great a place this is to live, work and visit."
The last time the Rolling Stones played collectively in Utah was at Lagoon in 1966. (Keith Richards and Ron Wood played at the Salt Palace in 1979 with their break-off group, the New Barbarians.)
Still, many fans standing in line at the stadium box office Tuesday afternoon missed the Lagoon show because they were not here at the time, busy or just too young to go.
Gina Bradley was a newborn in 1966. The Salt Lake resident said seeing the Stones in concert is a chance of a lifetime.
"I heard the announcement on the radio at work," said the 28-year-old Primary Children's Medical Center employee. "We rushed down here because the Stones are a great band."
Deseret News reporter Karl Cates, 36, a Wasatch County resident, simply said, "I want to see them before they die."
Others standing in line were also listening to the radio elsewhere when the announcement came and casually took a few hours off work.
"I'm not supposed to be here," said an unidentified man, 35. "But I've never seen the band in concert. I'm originally from California and I missed the band's show in Candlestick Park a few years ago."
Wristband lines shut down at 5 p.m. Tuesday but resumed Wednesday morning.