40 years of satisfaction: The Star photographed these Rolling Stones fans in 1979 — they say the band’s Saturday show was even better


Forty years after a joyous Nicola Blazier and Linda Bryant were photographed in the Star holding tickets to one of the most anticipated concerts in the city’s history, the longtime Rolling Stones fans headed up to Oro-Medonte on Saturday for perhaps one last glimpse of the legendary rock-’n’-rollers.

So of course they had to take a new photo to match those ear-to-ear grins from 1979.

“Here we are recreating our @thetorontostar front page photo from 40 years ago,” Blazier said in a Facebook post this week.

Blazier, Bryant and her twin sister, Janet White — the third in a trio of close friends to attend both Stones concerts — told the Star they remember waiting in line for three days just to buy tickets for the band’s April 22, 1979, concert at Oshawa’s Civic Auditorium.

At the time, Star reporter and photographer Don Dutton was there to witness the throngs of people at the box office — one teen even sustained an injury in the crush of fans.

Dutton took pictures of all three friends, Blazier said, though it was just her and Bryant’s smiles that would end up in the paper.

Blazier kept the clipping. Nothing could stop the three 18-year-olds from getting tickets, she remembered.

The Stones were the “coolest rock-’n’-roll band” at the time, she said.

That 1979 show was far different from Saturday’s outdoor concert at the Burl’s Creek event grounds. For one thing, the Oshawa arena was small for such a big act — Blazier guesses they ended up about 15 metres from the band. The Stones were also much younger then — this time around 75-year-old frontman Mick Jagger is on tour soon after heart surgery. And then there were the unique circumstances of that show 40 years ago.

Guitarist Keith Richards had just been convicted of heroin possession — he had been slapped awake by the RCMP and arrested two years earlier at a Toronto hotel — and a Canadian judge ordered him to perform a benefit concert for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind as part of his punishment.

In his 2010 autobiography, Life, Richards called it “the most Solomon-like judgment that had been handed down in many a year.”

The three friends — they’ve been close since they all went to camp together at age 10 — rode up to Oro-Medonte together on Saturday, en route to the band’s only Canadian date on their ongoing North American tour, called No Filter.

Asked for their favourite Stones tunes, Blazier listed off “Gimme Shelter” and “Miss You.” One of the twins chimed in with “Mother’s Little Helper.”

So how did this show compare to the one four decades ago? On Sunday, Blazier reported that it was even better than 1979.

“The Stones performed magnificently,” she said. “They put on the big screens. It was a bigger venue so more people could see it. The sound systems have improved.”

“It’s amazing they can still play like this, but it’s no surprise,” she said. “They’ve been doing this kind of thing forever.”

Read more:

Review | The Rolling Stones give 70,000 fans their sharpest Toronto-area show in years

Nicola Blazier and Linda Watson pose with a clipping of their picture in the Toronto Star in the days leading up to the Rolling Stones’ April 22, 1979, concert in Oshawa.

‘We thank our lucky stars,’ says Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood on Jagger’s return

Jacob Lorinc is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @jacoblorinc

Emma Sandri is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @emmarosesandri

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