Stones face steep fine for rocking London past bedtime
The Rolling Stones' five-date 50th anniversary tour kick-off at London's O2 Arena went a little long, and now the band is facing a $320,000 fine for playing past the city's noise curfew, the Sun reports. According to the Telegraph, London's curfew calls for all Sunday night performances to end at 10:20 p.m., but the Stones closed their two-and-a-half-hour set around 11 p.m. There's some leeway for a "quick" encore, which lets acts stay onstage until 10:30 p.m., but the English legends played well past that for their coda, which included hits "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
"It means a big fine," said the band's agent, Bernard Doherty. "But the guys just do their thing. There wasn't a janitor standing there, jangling his keys, saying, 'I want to go home.'"
The gig reportedly started a half-hour late, which explains not only the violation but why the Stones left the stage without playing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," originally on the set list. When speaking to the Telegraph, though, a spokesman for the Stones denied that the forced curtain call was behind the lack of "Satisfaction." The rep said "The band decide what they want to play onstage. It had nothing to do with curfews."
Mick Jagger apparently cracked a joke about having to "get a move on" to finish the concert, but the band still didn't finish early enough for some commuters, who were left stranded after the Jubilee line on the London subway closed at around 11:45 p.m. A spokesman for Transport for London maintained that service operated well, saying, "Our staff worked tirelessly and even held the last few trains to ensure that as many customers as possible were able to catch the Tube but appreciate that a small number of customers would have had to have found an alternative journey home.”
A spokesperson for the O2 Arena said, "The Rolling Stones have been wowing crowds for 50 years and last night they played an amazing two-and-a-half hour gig at the O2. The fans left last night over the moon with what they had seen, especially as the band played over 30 minutes of encores and still, fans were able to get home safely on public transport." The spokesperson added, "As part of a contractual agreement, the promoter of last night's show agreed to pay the costs of keeping the venue alive during these encores."
The Telegraph reported that it's not clear whether the fine would have to be paid by the band or the promoter, but the penalty probably won't hurt the Stones too much. Thanks to those pricey tickets, the quartet were expected to bring in an estimated $25 million from the mini-tour, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and that was before they added a fifth show in Brooklyn.
A spokesman for the local Greenwich Council told the Telegraph that the council had not yet fined the Stones, but London does have a history of taking its noise curfew laws seriously. Earlier this year, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Paul McCartney were prematurely silenced by venue engineers while playing a cover of the Beatles' "Twist and Shout." The early cut-off prompted the Boss to play the final minute of the pop classic without Sir Paul the following night and closed with a rendition of the Clash's "I Fought the Law."
The Rolling Stones have four dates left of their half-century victory lap: November 29 at the O2 Arena, December 8 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, and December 13 and 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.