SAN DIEGO — Elsie Zalinski was sure that the Rolling Stones concert in San Diego Sunday was going to be the last chance to catch Mick Jagger and company.
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“My feeling is that they will never tour again. Look at how old they are now,” said Zalinski, 67, hours before the concert started. “I think this is it. They haven’t said it. But I feel it. I’m a Rolling Stones concert virgin. I told my husband that this might be my last opportunity to see them and end that.”.
Whether this will be the last time around for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (both 71) and the rest of the group is a hotly debated topic — the band has not indicated as much.
But few fans were taking any chances, descending on Petco Park for the rare chance to see the iconic British band for its first stop on the 15-city North American Zip Code tour.
The area around Petco Park was overwhelmed with concert T-shirt-wearing Stones fans, Stones banners hung from the street lamps and the band’s greatest hits cranked out of every bar in the Gaslamp District. The Hard Rock San Diego did a brisk business with a “Rolling Stones Happy Hour” featuring the band’s favorite American meal: frankfurters over mashed potatoes with baked beans.
Meanwhile, Zalinski and her sister, Elena Gastelum, 69, each plunked down $600 to buy tickets. However, Gastelum disagreed with her sister’s prediction that this would be a swan song for the Stones in San Diego.
“Look at us, we’re almost 70 and we’re still rock and rolling,” said Gastelum, holding a concert bag with binoculars and a folding cane for her bad knees.
“These guys may be old, but they still know how to rock and roll. That’s why I’m here.”.
While many of the Stones fans showed significant life experience, the younger generation was represented as well. Casey Specht, 24, and sister Carly, 21, hit the concert with their parents, die-hard Rolling Stones fans.
“We grew up listening to classic rock, we’re all about the classic rock bands,” said Casey. “This is an awesome opportunity. And it’s an awesome compliment that the Rolling Stones chose to open in our city.”.
For some, the event represented a passing of the generational torch. Glenn Maddock, 46, of San Diego attended his 10th Rolling Stones show with his son Aden, 12. It was Aden’s first-ever concert.
The two even celebrated by buying matching Stones T-shirts at JCPenney for $12 that they proudly showed off.
“My son has never been to a rock concert of any kind, so we’re starting at the top,” said Maddock. “This is a father-son thing, and I am hoping to pass all of this on. You hope they get into it. But you never know.”.
Maddock prepared his son by playing the Rolling Stones’ greatest hits “all week” and pointing out the songs which would probably be played Sunday night. It seemed like it might catch on.
“This is definitely cooler than hanging out at the mall,” said Aden, standing outside the stadium during a loud soundcheck.
For Kelly Dalton and Victoria Evans. The Rolling Stones shows have been a constant in their 40-plus-year relationship. Dalton, 62, has not missed the Stones on a U.S. Concert tour in decades. He showed off a Rolling Stones lighter he carries and says he has a house filled with matching apparel.
“This has been more a lifestyle than a vocal group,” said Dalton.
Evans said she wouldn’t have missed the show, even if she is sure it won’t be the last.
“These guys are like a fine diesel engine,” said Evans. “The Rolling Stones are just getting warmed up.”.
Contributing: Bill Keveney.