(Photo: Coachella Facebook page)
By now, the forthcoming Rolling Stones tour is just about the worst-kept secret in the world, even though there is still no official confirmation that it's happening.
And even though earlier today, RollingStone.com  posted an article that finds Mick Jagger saying he doesn't know how a notice that the Stones would be performing at this year's Coachella festival  appeared briefly last month on the band's iPhone app before disappearing, and that "he had not been approached about playing at the festival," well, lo and behold, just look at the photo that appeared on Coachella's Facebook page  yesterday. A stone. On the Coachella field. (It seems to be a stone, anyway. A very round one. Like one that could roll.) The caption says "Happy New Years! We're excited, hope you are too!"
But, it turns out, a rep for Coachella promoters Goldenvoice clarified to Billboard.biz that the orb in question is actually a polo ball.
Despite this latest round of Internet-driven rumor echo chambers (yes, we fell for it too), for his part, Jagger continues to tease the tour, which so far has consisted of a couple of warm-up dates in Paris, along with two "50th Anniversary" arena dates each in London and Newark,  and one in Brooklyn . The group also performed two songs at the "12-12-12" Hurricane Sandy relief benefit at Madison Square Garden.
As he has been for months, Keith Richards insists the tour is happening. "Really, all you're going to have to do is wait for an announcement," he told Rolling Stone. Last month's shows "went like a dream, at the same speed, man. But we barely got off the starting blocks. It would be dopey to bring things up to this level and say, 'Well, that's that, 50 years, bye-bye.' "
And indeed, the shows were stellar, filled with hits, special guests and, for the band, quite a profit: At the closing show in Newark, one source told Billboard.biz  that merch was averaging a staggering $37-per-head (with somewhere between 15,000 and 17,000 people in the crowd).
As it did for the first time last year, Coachella takes place over two weekends  -- April 12-14 and 19-21 -- this year. The mystery Stones date on the iPhone was just for the 12th, but Goldenvoice principals Paul Tollett, Skip Page and Bill Fold were adamant about repeating the same lineup for the festival on both weekends during their talk at Billboard's Touring Conference  in November.