Stones Make Grand Entrance To Announce Tour

The Rolling Stones arrived by blimp at New York's Van Cortland Park this afternoon (May 7) to announce their 2002/2003 world tour, which, as first reported here this morning, will kick off Sept. 5 at

The Rolling Stones arrived by blimp at New York's Van Cortland Park this afternoon (May 7) to announce their 2002/2003 world tour, which, as first reported here this morning, will kick off Sept. 5 at Boston's CMGI Field. The group unveiled the first 32 dates of a planned year-long trek, the North American portion of which ends in early February in Mexico City. It continues to Australia and the Far East (possibly including the Stones' first-ever shows in China), before wrapping in Europe in the fall of next year.

The tour will play a mixture of stadiums, arenas, theaters, and clubs, sometimes hitting as many as three venues in one market. Three completely different productions and three unique setlists will be utilized, depending on the venue. "It's a bit of a challenge, since we're used to playing big places," frontman Mick Jagger said. "But I think it's going to be fun."

The band will rehearse for the tour in Toronto but has not yet begun formulating setlists. "That's still a bit down the road," guitarist Keith Richards admitted. "It just depends if we can remember them!" But Richards said he is relishing the opportunity to play in smaller venues. "It gives us a chance to do other stuff that doesn't work in stadiums: the garage s***!"

Band members were tight-lipped on the tour's name but did reveal that negotiations had just been finalized for the release of a career-spanning, double-disc collection, due in early fall. Jagger said the band has written some new songs and is about to hit the studio to record them for inclusion on the set.

The tour, which is sponsored by E*Trade, Sam Goody, and Clear Channel, will be chronicled on a future DVD release. In addition, a comprehensive band history, featuring interviews and photos from the Stones' personal collection, will be published in September 2003 by Chronicle Books in the U.S. and Weidenfield and Nicholson in the U.K.

As first tipped here last October, Michael Cohl, under his Grand Entertainment Touring banner, will be the worldwide promoter for the trek, extending a relationship that began with 1989's Steel Wheels tour. Tickets will average $85 for stadium shows and $100 for arenas, while all tickets for all small venue shows will cost $50. Although not all the opening acts have been finalized, Jagger confirmed that Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, Jonny Lang, and Buddy Guy are among the acts that have signed on so far.

Tickets for the Boston and Chicago shows go on sale Saturday, with tickets for the San Francisco show going on sale Sunday. Seats for the three New York-area shows go on sale Monday. All ticket purchases include membership in the new official Rolling Stones fan club, which will allow fans access to behind-the-scenes and on-stage footage, plus exclusive audio and video feeds from the tour via the band's official Web site.

For an additional fee, fans can upgrade their membership, allowing for special ticket presales, opportunities to meet the band, and contests to win front-row tickets.

Here are the initial Rolling Stones tour dates:

Sept. 5: Boston (CMGI Field)
Sept. 8: Boston (Orpheum Theatre)
Sept. 10: Chicago (United Center)
Sept. 13: Chicago (Comiskey Park)
Sept. 16: Chicago (Aragon Ballroom)
Sept. 18: Philadelphia (Veterans Stadium)
Sept. 22: Philadelphia (Tower Theatre)
Sept. 26: New York (Madison Square Garden)
Sept. 28: East Rutherford, N.J. (Giants Stadium)
Sept. 30: New York (Roseland Ballroom)
Oct. 4: Washington, D.C. (FedEx Field)
Oct. 12: Detroit (Ford Field)
Oct. 14: Cleveland (Gund Arena)
Oct. 16: Toronto (Air Canada Centre)
Oct. 18: Toronto (SkyDome)
Oct. 20: Columbus, Ohio (Nationwide Arena)
Oct. 22: Sunrise, Fla. (National Car Rental Center)
Oct. 23: Miami (American Airlines Arena)
Oct. 26: Atlanta (Turner Field)
Oct. 31: Los Angeles (Staples Center)
Nov. 2: Los Angeles (Edison Field)
Nov. 4: Los Angeles (Wiltern Theatre)
Nov. 8: San Francisco (Pac Bell Park)
Nov. 14: San Diego (Sports Arena)
Nov. 23: San Antonio (SBC Center)
Nov. 25: Nashville (Gaylord Entertainment Center)
Nov. 29: Las Vegas (venue TBA)
Jan. 8: Montreal (Molson Center)
Jan. 10: Pittsburgh (Mellon Arena)
Jan. 25: Houston (Reliant Stadium)
Jan. 30: Phoenix (America West Arena)
Feb. 1: Denver (Pepsi Center)