You can’t always get what you want . . .

Marketplace Staff Nov 10, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: You know what’s even older than Star Trek? The Rolling Stones. This is their 44th year of painting it black. And they still play to sellout crowds. Tomorrow night the Stones play the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Graham Thomas Shelby is a fan. But he discovered you can’t always get what you want.

GRAHAM THOMAS SHELBY: I was 24 the first time I saw the Rolling Stones. And, the tickets weren’t cheap, but I didn’t care. I was young. Life was about adventure, about collecting experiences. And it was worth it. Even though this was 1995 and the band was already old, they knocked me out.

In return for my roughly $80 ticket, they gave me this bright, loud all-consuming rock ‘n’ roll moment: Smoke, lights, and a giant jack-in-the-box head swaying to the beat of “Sympathy for the Devil.” They had me standing in the aisle, pumping my fist and singing along with songs that were older than I was.

So, recently, when I heard the Rolling Stones were going to be playing nearby, I thought, Alright! Start me up! Let’s go! . . . Whoa, what? $125 for a decent seat? Talk about making a grown man cry.

See I’m 35 now. And things are a little different. I’ve got a wife. Three small children. Traditional job. Mortgage. Life is good, but there are more practical concerns these days. And $125? That’s a trip to the grocery. That’s three little pairs of shoes.

But it’s the Stones! The Stones aren’t about practicality, that’s the whole point. Look at them, they’re in their 60s and still singing songs about drug use and casual sex.

If I go to the show, the kids will still eat. They’ll still have shoes. I can put the tickets on the credit card. I’ll pay it off. Eventually.

So I had to choose: The Money or The Moment? And I think I made the right call. The Stones put on an unforgettable show that night.

That’s what I heard anyway. I was home, putting my kids to bed. It wasn’t a bright or loud moment, but that’s OK. And there was a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll. That night I sang to the kids. It wasn’t exactly a lullaby. But I think they liked it. I think it knocked them out.

RYSSDAL: Graham Thomas Shelby lives and writes in Louisville, Kentucky.

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