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FEBRUARY 28, 2010 9:52PM

Music Monday: Madison Square Garden 1972

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Story of the “Orange Vests”


1972 was a very good year for many reasons, but it was a very good year for music.

Music was my life when I was 22.  New York was my City, when I was 22.  Put the two  together and it was a good time to be in a good place.


The Fillmore East was my venue of choice

            See Ode to the Fillmore East Part 1

                   Ode to the Fillmore East Part 2


But in terms of “The Best” there were two concerts at the very top of my list that occurred at Madison Square Garden.  I will share with you one of them now.  The other, well, you will have to wait and see. (I need you to keep coming back!)


I thought it unusual in 1972 to have a “lottery” in order to buy tickets to a rock & roll concert. But that’s the way this concert was to play out.  It was announced on the radio that the Rolling Stones were coming to Madison Square Garden in July 1972 promoting their latest album, Exile On Main Street.  In order to win the ‘privilege’ of buying tickets, we all must send in a post card stating name, address, and phone #.  If we were lucky enough to have our postcard picked, we had the privilege of standing on line for four hours to purchase no more than four tickets to the concert.


Well, having a lot of spare time on my hands in 1972, I must have mailed in about 50 postcards.  And being the savvy person that I was, I used about 6 different names & addresses on those postcards.  Names of siblings combined with addresses of relatives and neighbors.  Couldn’t get away with that today, but, in the end, I had 4 postcards drawn which allowed me to purchase 16 tickets.  I gathered my friends and we went to the garden and claimed (or bought) our tickets.  I had a lot of friends all of a sudden! (go figure)

The concert would be held for three nights.  I saved myself a ticket for each of the three nights they would perform.


As fate would have it at this same period of time, I was living in a house with 5 or 6 others who had part time jobs at the concession stands of Madison Square Garden.  While at work, they would wear a uniform of an “Orange Vest” with the designation  “Employee”.  This “orange vest” was a free pass, so to speak, to make their way down to the first row of steps (while off duty, of course) and watch for free whichever act was playing that night.


Can you see the conspiracy emerging?  I, with 16 Stones tickets, and my friends with access to the coveted “orange vests”.  The plan was hatched.  For the next three weeks, four of my friends who worked the Garden would “borrow” an orange vest and bring it home, one at a time, until we had a collection of about twelve or so.  Then we would wait.  Wait until the 24th of July.




We had purchased tickets; so we showed up at the Garden, presented our tickets, found our seats; somewhere up in the nose bleed section.  We would then proceed to the ladies (or men’s room) (depending, of course) and slip our coveted “orange vest” out of our purse or in case of the guys (where did you keep those, guys?) and put them on.  It was so exhilarating that first night as we walked into the ground floor of the Garden and the “rent-a-cop” showed us down to the first row and said, “you can sit right here, on the first step”.  Whoa!!!  It worked!!!


Come, Sit with me, Bitch (No, that’s the name of the song!)






Second night…..same scenario.  Whoa!! It Worked!!!


By the third night, however, the inmates who were in charge of the asylum finally realized that there was a dire shortage of “orange vests”.  Now do you really think that MY friends were the smartest people in NYC and the only ones to think up a diabolical plan as this?  The word was out.  DO NOT put on the “orange vest” or you will be kicked out (maybe even arrested).  Well, we did have tickets and we did have seats. (and had also seen this concert the last two nights) so it was all good.


That night, July 26, 1972, was the last night of the tour and also Mick’s 29th Birthday.  Yes, Mick Jagger was once 29.  Just like I was once 22!


I was not a huge Stones fan back in the day, but it was the most electrifying performance I have ever seen, to this day.  There was a palpable wave of electricity that filled the hall.  Walking into the Garden you could feel it, taste it, inhale it.

In my research I found out that the first night of the concert there were 10 arrests and two policemen were injured.  Could have fooled me, I was oblivious.  Hope they weren’t wearing “orange vests”


I am listing the Tour Set List here because it was listed on Wikepedia.  NOT because I remembered it.  How good do you think I am?


Brown Sugar; Bitch; Rocks Off; Gimme Shelter; Happy; Tumbling Dice; Love In Vain; Sweet Virginia; Loving Cup; You Can’t Always Get What You Want; All Down The Line; Midnight Rambler; Bye Bye Johnny; Rip This Joint; Jumpin Jack Flash; Street Fighting Man;


Nicky Hopkins was on piano during that tour and Bobby Keys on saxophone.










This video is not very good but I can’t pass up concert footage when I know I was in the audience. 

Do you see me?? Do you see me?? I’m the one in the “orange vest”.


This was the night of Mick’s Birthday and the final concert of the tour.  I forgot how wild things got.  They are actually throwing pies at each other on stage.  Those were the days my friend.




This photo I took myself.  This is how close I was for at least two out of three nights.  The third night found me back in the nose bleed section.  But it was all good!  Very good!


Mick Jagger 






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Happy "Music Monday". My next one will be my #1. It took place at Madison Square Garden in "the summer of '69"
How much fun is that! Love the Orange Vest scheme -- gotta do it, especially at that age!! Thanks for the fun!! Julie
Ah what fun it was to be young and fearless, I remember those days very well. Thanks too for the video, it made me realize just how dang old I am....good lord I use to rock to those guys.
I saw the Stones on one of their Midwest tours, must have been about '69, I'm guessing, Mick in the black jumpsuit, no pies being thrown or anything truly outrageous, but I got to boogie pretty close to the stage. The killjoy guy I was with made fun of me for dancing. Loser. His name is forgotten. Thanks for sharing this!
I think we all have favorite concert stories. Maybe I will do one of mine instead of just analyzing songs like I normally do.

Oh boy am I envious. rated.
Good read. You were a couple of years ahead of me, but I was haunting the same venues. My favorite MSG memory is Neal Young headlining and Linda Ronstadt as the warmup. Young came out and said simply, "The war is over" the agreement had been signed that day. There was no applause, just a collective sigh.
tsk. tsk. tsk. How devious. (I loved it.)

The closest that I can come to your experience is when my friend bought a movie ticket, entered the theatre, and opened the side fire exit door -- in I came! It wasn't the famous Madison Square Garden. It was the Crown Theatre in downtown Laramie, Wyoming, population 8,200 -- circa 1938.
Julie, thanks. Glad you liked our little "scheme".
Torman, yes young and fearless. today I would be a nervous wrech afraid I'd get caught. But perhaps that's just called "wisdom".
Sixty: No wonder you forgot his name. Loser.
McGarrett - thanks for coming by. for me, analyzing songs just takes too much brain power - and there's always those who won't agree. I'm going to go take a look at your blog.
Oh Caroline - you weren't even born yet!
Thank Ronnie, glad to see you here.
Tim: I can just hear that "collective sigh" that day!
dlv: yeah, you finally have a face. Nice face, too. hmm. sounds like you and I are going to have to find something other than "devious schemes" that we have in common. There's always poetry
You wild, wild girl. I would've loved hanging out with you in those days! I think we would've gotten into lots of trouble. I can only imagine. Nice vest trick, very clever. Love the Mick picture too...
Your life amazes me! It is such a pleasure to know someone who is so FUN! I adore you!
Does this ever bring back memories. I saw them on that tour but not in NY. In my city, people started sleeping outside the arena for SIX days before the concert. My bro and I desparately wanted to see them but no way could be camp out downtown for 6 days.

But, there were ticket agents who were always allocated tix for events at the arena. So the day before they went on sale, I called the jewellery store (!?!) at the local mall that also had a side gig as a ticket agent for the arena. Sure enough, they would have tickets to sell.

But, on the Saturday they went on sale, we had to drive our grandparents to the family cottage. We tossed a coin and bro had to get the tickets. I drove him down to the mall at 9:00 on the Friday as people were leaving the mall. He and his buddy got some strange looks as they arrived with sleeping bags to camp out at the mall's entrance. Weird behavior in 1972 suburbia.

On the way to pick up the grandfolks, I dropped off a thermos of coffee for them around 5:30 a.m. There were two other groups behind them. When I got back from the cottage Sunday night, I found they had been able to purchase 13 tickets in row P dead centre on the floor. They could have purchased 20 if they'd had the money. And the poor slobs who camped out at the arena for only 3 or 4 days got nosebleed seats and were limited to 4 per customer.

Couldn't happen now and the concert, as you say, was electric. First tour after Altamont. M years were still ringing the next morning. No one has Jagger's stage presence. Thanks so much for stirring up happy memories.
Wow, that was you in the orange vest? That must of have been great. This was the age of great music, and the stones were dead in the middle of it. I don't think an age like that will come again. I loved it. But I was on the west cost, partying my ass off! Great Post~~~
Wow! You were lucky beyond all imagination girl.
That was kick-A Awesome!
Still a Stones fan! I love the way Mick moves with that bit of arrogance and completely owning the stage.
Smart, lucky, fun you!
Trilogy, that is an amazing story! How ingenious of you to find enough variations of family members' names and addresses for the postcard mailing and then to hear about the plan you worked out with the orange vests! I'm sure I heard the concert talked about because I was always listening to WNEW-FM at that time and there is no way that the on air personalities like Scott Muni would not be talking up the concerts in a big way! What a memorable experience and a great story!
These posts make me so jealous of you!
This is a great story and while I was a huge Stones fan, I only got to see them live once. Orange Vests, weren't you the smarty pants ? I did get to see ballet performances at the City Center by hiding (with some friends) in the ladies room till performances began and then finding the empty seats. Never did get caught. Can't wait for the next one.
Awesome post. Your love of music, and its role in your life, really come through.
Orange vests!! That is so cool, and you avoided being busted. What great memories.
Eden & Sparking. Now you KNOW how wild I am.
Abrawang: Nice to make your acquaintance. You've got a great story there yourself.
Scanner: I KNEW it would be you that could pick me out the crowd :)
Thanks for stopping Susanne and again, was SO good to meet you. Thanks for the post on our Meet-up.
I should have know your another Stones fan, Sharon. We could all Kick-A in our day, right?
Designanator: that was it. When I said "radio station" I was trying to think of the name. WNEW. Was't there also "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow? To this day we call my brother Bruce "Cousin Brucie".
Next Please...sorry...trying to entertain not make jealousing..... :)
Rosycheecks: I see we were both cut from the same cloth.
thanks Tangelina & Serenita (your names sound like the beginning of a poem)! hmm.
saw them that year myself. Got pissed off at the women with me for making such a big deal about the skinny bastard.
A skinny bastard he was Dr Spud.
Trilogy, I mostly remember Cousin Brucie as being on WABC-AM, especially when it was nicknamed "WABeatleC" during the "Beatle invasion" of 1964, as I recall.

Allison Steele, Jonathan Schwartz, Dick Neer, and Rosco were some additional DJs I especially recall from that period. I had the privilege to see Allison Steele and Cousin Brucie at a special radio ceremony in the city in the late '80s and was standing next to both of them, along with Don Imus that evening. Here is a link to a page that someone has placed audio files from Allison's "Night Bird" show. If you listened to her show these will bring back a lot of memories!

A few years ago I found a YouTube video of Scott Muni and I imagine that is still online, plus there is quite a bit to be found online about the radio station from those days.
trilogy - What a great story. I love reading about back in the day. Your stories are just the best!

Didn't see 'em myself till '81 or '82 (the first "farewell" tour). I also won tickets to that one in a lottery.