Walking from the BART station to see the Rolling Stones at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA on May 5, 2013
I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t met anyone in my life who has said they don’t enjoy music. Most find a genre they like and the majority are pretty passionate about music in some form or another. Whether they’re a musician or just a lover of the lyrics, beats and rhythms that make up the variety of songs out there in the universe, there is literally something for everyone.
I’m one of those passionate ones. I find artists I love all the time and I remain a devoted fan throughout the majority of an artist or band’s career. The genres of music I listen to run the gambit. Everything from top 40 to rap to folk to country can probably be found in my playlist, so I’m lucky that I live in a city that has become one of the major stops on many a concert tour. However, there are still some artists that don’t quite make it to my city, let alone my country because they either haven’t managed to crack the North American market to the point that it’s worth their time to tour here extensively or they’re such bloody legends that they know people will follow them instead. I’ve travelled to New York and Montreal to see Kylie Minogue, Toronto to see U2, London, England to see Girls Aloud and this coming December to New York once again to see P!nk. But, just earlier this month, I booked a whirlwind trip to San Francisco to see the Rolling Stones.
Prior to the Rolling Stones announcing their 50 and Counting tour, they were still one of the bands on my musical bucket list, if you will. I admit when I was younger I wasn’t much of a fan. I never really listened to them much and wasn’t necessarily inclined to, but after about a year of working full-time at my first “real” job after graduating from university, in an effort to create a regularly occurring social event for my friends and I, I decided to start a movie club. One month, in 2008, we chose to see Shine A Light, a documentary about the Rolling Stones that was directed by Martin Scorsese. I went in excited to see it because it was a documentary about one of the world’s biggest bands seen through the eyes of one of the best filmmakers and I wasn’t disappointed. That was the day I fell in love with their music and the characters that make up this long lasting group that, despite the pitfalls that rock and roll has brought to others, has stayed together with its original lineup for half a century.
Last year when the Rolling Stones announced their November/December shows in London and New York I thought my chance was finally here. The last time they had come to Edmonton, AB was back in 1997, so I wasn’t holding my breath that they’d grace my hometown with their presence, but maybe they’d come to Vancouver? Well, it was a long wait before they officially announced cities and dates for 2013 and while the west coast of Canada didn’t make the cut, San Francisco did.
I was more than determined to see them. With Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie between the ages of 65 and 71, this could very well be the last time they’ll perform on a tour like this and I couldn’t miss out. And, I wouldn’t call it fate exactly, but I do think it was by luck that I happened to come across the band’s $85 link on their website the morning the tickets for San Francisco went on sale. The catch with those tickets is that you could only purchase them in pairs and you wouldn’t know where your seats would be until you arrived at the venue and picked them up. That was perfectly fine with me! A chance to see the Rolling Stones at half the price of even their lowest priced tickets in the main sale meant I couldn’t go wrong.
The concert was superb. I loved seeing the crazy array of people at the venue. The audience was having such a great time, dancing like there was no tomorrow and Mick Jagger literally is more energetic at his age than I am right now. They played many of their hits, but with their extensive catalog, I missed hearing songs like Wild Horses or Ruby Tuesday. I can understand why people follow them around from city to city on their tours. They are notorious for changing up their sets every show, so they’re never exactly the same, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll hear your favourite song.
This is their set list from Oakland, CA on May 5:
- “Get Off Of My Cloud”
- “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)”
- “Live With Me”
- “Paint It Black”
- “Gimme Shelter”
- “Little Red Rooster” (with Tom Waits)
- “Dead Flowers”
- “Emotional Rescue”
- “All Down The Line”
- “Doom and Gloom”
- “One More Shot”
- “Honky Tonk Women”
- “Before They Make Me Run”
- “Midnight Rambler” (with Mick Taylor)
- “Miss You”
- “Start Me Up”
- “Tumbling Dice”
- “Brown Sugar”
- “Sympathy for the Devil”
- “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
- “Jumping Jack Flash”
- “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
Even after a 2 and a half hour show, I still wished it was longer. But, alas, I can now say that I have seen the Rolling Stones live. The experience was certainly worth the trip, and though they’re the reason why I booked a vacation to San Francisco, I do try to make the most of my time in the cities I visit.
Over my three days in the home of the Golden Gate Bridge, I visited the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero and perused the stalls at the weekly farmer’s market, walked the streets of Chinatown, shopped around Union Square, ate at Tadish in the Financial District (apparently the oldest seafood restaurant in San Francisco) and at Bask SF (only a year old), walked up Lombard Street, followed Columbus Avenue from California Street past North Beach and all the way down to Hyde Street Pier and then down to Pier 39 to see the seals. I regret the shoes I brought with me because I thought those flats would kill me by the end of the trip, but I made it and it was fantastic.
Another trip and plenty to document it! As my friend said, she knew I must have just returned home and finally gotten Wi-Fi because I started Instagraming one photo after another to share with everyone. She also asked me how long I was there for, and when I replied that I was only there for three days, she was pretty amazed at how much I managed to do in such a short time span.
San Francisco through my eyes is here for you to view. Hopefully it inspires you to visit, too. Maybe for a show, maybe not. Either way, it’s worth seeing and with many things within walking distance of one another, you can cover a lot more ground than you think.
View of the San Francisco International Airport from the BART station
The Ferry Building on the Embarcadero
A street performing musician and a tipper at in front of the Ferry Building
Flower stall at the farmer’s market
Inside the Ferry Building
Grow your own mushrooms kit at a stall inside the Ferry Building
Fresh oysters at a stall inside the Ferry Building
Father and son watching the boats from the Ferry Building
Lunch time at the Embarcadero
Lunch at Tadish – ahi tuna and smoked salmon!
Makeshift shoe shine bench
Chinatown lanterns with shoes
A pile of pandas in a Chinatown shop
A Chinese musician taking a break
The Chinatown gate
The window displays at Farinelli
A fashionably dressed woman and her adorable dog waiting outside Cafe de la Presse
A gorgeous art deco building facade at 550 California Street
The beautiful Palace Hotel being set up for an event
A cool looking parkade with neon signs galore
Inside Cafe de la Press where we took shelter from the rain and ate brunch
Inside the Levi’s store at Union Square – the wall of past Levi’s jeans
Corner of Union Square
Dinner and wine in the parking lot before the Rolling Stones – apparently this is normal in San Francisco
The lineup ahead of me to pick up $85 tickets for the Rolling Stones
The lineup behind me to pick up $85 tickets for the Rolling Stones – I think they sold way more than 1000
The ticket table – those stacks of tickets are all random
The stage for the Rolling Stones’ show is shaped just like their lips and tongue logo
Kind of fuzzy, but Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie are all there!
The bar at Bask SF
Ahi tuna at Bask SF
My view of Columbus Avenue through the window of Bask SF
Vesuvio – oft frequented by author Jack Kerouac
The alley wall of City Lights Books along Columbus Ave
A traditional Italian deli that I passed by along Columbus Avenue
Drinker in the garden found along Columbus Ave
Kitty standing guard at a house on the way to Lombard Street
At the base of Lombard Street
View of Telegraph Hill from the base of Lombard Street
View from the top of Lombard Street
A shot of Alcatraz as we walked down a steep street towards Hyde Street Pier
Cable safety tips – there’s definitely at least one that people ignore!
The beach next to Hyde Street Pier – people were swimming
Hyde Street Pier
Boats and Ghirardelli Chocolate in the background
A ship docked in Hyde Street Pier with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance
Boats in Hyde Street Pier
The Hercules docked in Hyde Street Pier with Alcatraz island in the background
Kids going through boat training at Hyde Street Pier
Seagull on a boat – Hyde Street Pier
Boats at the pier
Giant seagull at Fisherman’s Wharf
At the Musee Mecanique at Fisherman’s Wharf
Signs at the Musee Mecanique
Rolling Stones postcards in a machine at the Musee Mecanique – too bad they were out as it would have been a good little souvenir of of the trip since I went specifically to see their show!
Bird in a bush with lamp at Fisherman’s Wharf
Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf
Kites and bikes at Fisherman’s Wharf
A lone seal waking from a deep slumber at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf
The lighthouse at Forbe’s Island and the many seals of Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf
Heading home from the San Francisco International Airport – the sun is breaking through the clouds and the sky is reflecting in the wing of the plane