CBC Digital Archives

Rolling Stones play surprise charity concert

It's only rock 'n' roll but we like it! For nearly 40 years, Mick and the boys have had a torrid love affair with Toronto. From secret rehearsals and club gigs, to Keith Richards' heroin bust in 1977 and partying with Margaret Trudeau, the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band has called Toronto its home-away-from-home, and delivered the one thing they're famous for: Satisfaction. Ladies and gentlemen... The Rolling Stones.

media clip
The word is out! The Rolling Stones, who are in Toronto rehearsing for their Voodoo Lounge tour, will play a secret gig tonight at a 1,000-seat venue. For Mick and the boys, it's an opportunity to work out the kinks in their live show. For fans, it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the legendary band in a small club for just $5. CBC reporter Ron Izawa talks to fans willing to line up and sweat it out in the blazing sun. 
• This wasn't the first or the last time the Rolling Stones would play a surprise club show in Toronto. In 1977, they played to 600 at the El Mocambo; in 1997, before the Bridges to Babylon tour, they performed at the Horseshoe Tavern; and in 2002, after rehearsing for the Forty Licks tour, they played at the Palais Royale.
• At the 1994 RPM show, the Stones played 16 songs in about an hour and a half.

• The Rolling Stones have gone to Toronto to rehearse for their last three world tours, in 1994, 1997 and 2002. A local school and a former Masonic temple have hosted the rehearsals, which lasted from four to six weeks.
• In 2002 guitarist Ron Wood explained why the Stones chose Toronto to rehearse: "The people are always nice and the atmosphere's great."

• A July 2003 article by the Canadian Press, however, suggests the city's appeal is that it's the home of the Stones' longtime tour manager and that Canada is a "traditional tax dodge" whose low dollar adds value for money.
• Proceeds from the RPM gig went to the Toronto chapter of Covenant House, a charity that offers shelter and support to homeless youth and runaways.

• The first time the band warmed up for a world tour by playing a small club was for the Tattoo You tour in 1981. The club was in Worcester, Mass.
• In 2002 Mick Jagger explained to reporters why the band chooses small venues to practice their set: "At a club like this, or in a theatre you can do that, you can take risks and do things but you know it is more difficult to do that the bigger place you get."
Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: July 19, 1994
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Ron Izawa
Duration: 2:26

Last updated: March 7, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Banding Together: Singing Out for Disaster Re...

Floods, famine, fire and drought -- when disaster strikes at home and around the world, Canadi...

1978: Keith Richards convicted for heroin pos...

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards pleads guilty to heroin possession in a Toronto courtr...

The Rolling Stones: Canada Gets Satisfaction

It's only rock 'n' roll but we like it! For nearly 40 years, Mick and the boys have had a torr...

Toronto concert for SARS relief

Musician Sam Roberts tells the CBC what it's like to play for the largest crowd in Canadian hi...

Toronto SARS relief concert: Getting Toronto ...

Politicians square off on whether Toronto Rocks will help the city recover from the SARS outbr...

Music Without Borders for Afghan refugees

A 2001 Toronto concert helps Afghan refugees.