The Rolling Stones surprise L.A. using Twitter and a gorilla
The Rolling Stones played a surprise show on Saturday night (4/27) for several hundred lucky fans as part of the buildup to the official opening night of their "50 and Counting" world tour. Here's how word got out.
The carefully and secretly-planned event proved a surprise to most L.A.-area fans, who swarmed the mid-Wilshire El Rey Theatre upon official word from the Stones' GRRRegory Twitter account at 12:30pm PT on Saturday (4/27).
GRRRegory, a gorilla mascot of sorts, began tweeting sometime in 2012, as buzz for a major Stones tour began ramping up. GRRRegory began teasing info on Friday with an obscure series of tweets:
Saturday morning and you'll see me down the park...Bout 12 'o' clock you'll see me in the road,Telling everybody where the boys all go— GRRRegory (@GRRRegory) April 27, 2013
On Saturday night she bass-a-dee She stepping high on Frederick's Street Dance, dance, little sister, dance— GRRRegory (@GRRRegory) April 27, 2013
Located somewhere in Los Angeles, CaliforniaAnd next week they'd say my prayer on the radioAnd all my dreams would come true— GRRRegory (@GRRRegory) April 27, 2013
Finally, he capped off the series with this:
Grrrreat things are brewing! Watch this space at 12.30pm PT tomorrow for some news... #Stones50— GRRRegory (@GRRRegory) April 27, 2013
U.K. band New Build kicked the online scavenger hunt for clues of GRRRegory's tweets into high gear with an early Saturday tweet saying, "Right, that's it. The Rolling Stones have nicked our gig tngt at the Echo. This time it's personal. Going down to have a word with Mick. #LA."
Local music blogger Kevin Bronson posted in his buzzbands.la blog that "very large trucks were at the Echoplex this morning unloading gear that seems way too large for a typical show there."
By this time, several online sources were reporting that the El Rey Theatre would be the gathering point for ticket sales, and some well-connected industry insiders posted they were already in line.
Grrregory came through as promised, posting promptly at 12:30pm:
The Stones are playing a club show tonight in LA! Random lottery to purchase tickets at the El Rey from 1pm PT bit.ly/RSgig— GRRRegory (@GRRRegory) April 27, 2013
L.A. Weekly reporters spoke with a man at the front of the line who claimed to have been there since 1 am. But the lineup was ultimately handled lottery style, meaning that random people in line, whether arriving 12 hours or 12 minutes prior to the ticket sale had the same chance at tickets.
Tickets reportedly sold out quickly, sending most in line packing, but according to several online reports, the El Rey box office released a few batches of tickets to some hardy souls who, frankly, just refused to leave.
Grrregory stepped in to provide some closure:
Tonight's show is now SOLD OUT. Thanks everyone who tried to get tickets #Stones50 #AllSoldOut— GRRRegory (@GRRRegory) April 27, 2013
The tickets came with rules. ID's were recorded and tracked to prevent resale. No cell phones or cameras would be allowed in. The show was filmed by the Stones, and one can likely expect a movie or DVD release of tour highlights somewhere down the road including Echoplex footage.
27 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
3 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
5 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
8 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
11 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
15 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
25 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
28 - Chicago, IL - United Center
31 - Chicago, IL - United Center
3 - Chicago, IL - United Center
6 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
12 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
18 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
29 - Pilton, United Kingdom - Glastonbury Festival
6 - London, United Kingdom - Barclaycard British Summer Time