Freedom came with electric guitars | Culture

Freedom came with electric guitars |  Culture
Mick Jagger, at the Rolling Stones concert, at the Vicente Calderón stadium in Madrid.Ricardo Martin

In the fall of 2012, the 737 plane that was taking us on a private charter flight across various countries in Africa, through Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda, was the same one that the Rolling Stones used on their tours, with the fuselage painted red and black. The nose of the apparatus had been converted into an extremely comfortable luxurious salon; Driven by mythomania, I thought I was privileged by the fact of sitting my butt on the same folding sofas where in their time they would be lounging with the lantern sprouting from their napias their Satanic Majesties Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Brian Jones . The plane already looked very tired, but when it took off it was still ringing loudly Satisfaction, the most emblematic song of the group. On that trip through Africa, I imagined that this same device was the one that brought the Rolling Stones to Madrid in the famous concert that was held in 1982 at the Vicente Calderón stadium.

In July 1965, when Franco was still shooting all kinds of red partridges with a good pulse, the Beatles had arrived in Madrid, who today seem like angelic beings, with their pageboy hair and velvet vests. His fans were the first Spanish teenagers who learned to wave a forest of arms at the foot of the stage and to scream scratching their cheeks. Another very different thing were the Australian savages of AC / DC who set fire to the Real Madrid pavilion. The counters of tough leather buffalo riding gimmicky motorcycles and polygonal girls in denim miniskirts full of pins were coming up from the south of the city that freezing night in January 1981 when Tejero’s drunken gang was preparing to storm the Congress of the Deputies. On the other hand, the concert of the Rolling, on the afternoon of July 7, 1982, with the Socialists about to arrive at the Government, was a social party with the stands packed with the best mortal meat of the Madrid middle class. Towards the Manzanares stadium under merciless heat and a coffee-plantation humidity that threatened a storm, one advanced through the crowd as if he had two poached eggs on his neck. The storm ended up blowing up in the middle of the concert, whose thunder and lightning, followed by a downpour, left little to the violent discharges of drummer Charlie Watts and all the electric guitars and screams of Mick Jagger.


At five o’clock in the afternoon, large flocks with a snack in the lunch box, with hats, stickers, colored cockades, open pores sweating solar paste, advanced with their chin approved on the neck in front of the softened asphalt. In the broth of the Manzanares, mosquitoes boiled under the walkways, among ambulances, police cordons with machine guns and gorillas with baseball bats. More sought after than marijuana and cocaine was water, even if it was from the toilet cistern. Voices of ice cream, orange and lemon sodas, peppermint candies and sunflower seeds could be heard from the stands to spit against the nape below; the terrible gorillas, with a loving smile, threw buckets of water on the parched crowd and from the stage shed they hung naive curtains with pictures of toy musical instruments and bundles of balloons to release them at the moment of apotheosis.

The audience was made up of a fusion of different ages and ideologies, all of them waiting for the first cannon to sound to start shouting; In fact, in the stands there were punks interspersed with mothers from large families, who already had two offspring placed in the State Administration and the undersecretary husband, and who, having arrived late to modernity, struggled to hold on to Mick Jagger’s package in their dreams to to fly. One of those women found a friend from Serrano’s aperitif there. “Cuqui, honey, what are you doing here?” -You see. Roberto is in the box with the minister. The mechanic brought me. Who have you come with?. “With the children.” I’ve lost them out there. The same are smoking joints, the very scoundrels. “Daughter, what things do you say?”

Some illustrious ladies played at strapping a duck feather in their ear; a general manager had asked his son for the cut-off jeans, sneakers, and a vest with many zippers. In the offices of the ministries, in the changing rooms of the Velázquez boutiques, at the Embassy tea, nothing else was discussed. The Rolling Stones had arrived. Not to be missed that show. In some boards of directors, after talking about lignites, account balances, and capital reserves, a president also took out the cigarette paper booklet and began to heat the china with the solid gold Dupont. “The Rolling have arrived. Would you like a joint? ”He said to the CEO.

The death of drummer Charlie Watts, at the age of 80, who in the midst of the violent rock of the Rolling, managed to sneak in the labile language of jazz, has brought back to my memory that concert that, along with that of the Beatles and the AC / DC, finally brought freedom to Madrid definitively.

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Freedom came with electric guitars | Culture