Andy Babiuk of Rochester rockers the Chesterfield Kings literally wrote the book on the Rolling Stones, or at least a book (“Rolling Stones Gear – All The Stones’ Instruments Stage To Studio”). He told us about his 1981 experience in Buffalo at the New York Rich Stadium.

Andy Babiuk: It started out as a cold rainy morning in late September driving from Rochester, New York to Buffalo with some friends to go see the second show of The Rolling Stones Tattoo You 1981 Tour. Drinking started at about 8 a.m. with a tailgate party waiting to get into Rich Stadium. It was a general admission show, so once in the stadium there were a ton of people on the field all pushed up to the front of the stage. It was raining, cold and we were standing on the field way behind the 50-yard line, far from the stage and I was thinking, wow this sucks, I won’t get to see much of the Stones from here, but at least I’ll get to hear them. 

This was long before the big video screens they have now, so getting close to the stage was the only way to really see one of your fave bands. Anyway, George Thorogood & The Destroyers came on and the rain stopped, the sun came out and the mood in the stadium changed. Thorogood put on a good show and the crowd really dug it. Next up was Journey. They came on and all the bikers in the crowd weren’t having it. They threw some beer cans at the singer during the first song, and it got worse on the next couple of songs. 

The singer finally announced something stupid like, “If you keep throwing things on the stage we’re going to stop playing.” Well, all hell broke loose, and people were just throwing everything at the stage. I don’t think they even finished their set. The good thing about it was, the audience didn’t like Journey so much that they were turning around and leaving the front of the stage. So, me and my buddies took the opportunity of the extra space to inch our way closer and closer to the front. Next thing you know, the Stones start their show and I’m standing right in front of the stage watching The Rolling Stones do their magic. They were absolutely great! 

A few years ago, I was at Bill Wyman’s castle in England. We were having dinner one evening and that show in Buffalo came up in conversation. Bill told me he did remember playing the show and that the Stones fans didn’t much like Journey so they had to let them go off the tour after that second show. Bill had a bunch of other funny stories about that show and we had a great laugh that night!   ❖

The Chesterfield Kings’ single “Electrified” is out now.




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