The Rolling Stones at the Panathinaikos stadium.
4 days before chounta came to Greece, Mick Jagger and his company came: A pandemonium followed. We make an Athenian Spritz and remember an Athenian night, which went down in history. Athenians have always complained that there are no big concerts with top names that fill stadiums in the city. And yet, a few giants have appeared in Athens, from Frank Sinatra to Madonna. Of course, no concert and no music group can be compared to the appearance of Mick Jagger and his company, in 1967 at the Panathinaikos stadium. Because it was the time when the Stones were in the middle with their original line-up before Brian Jones left the band, having recently released hits like Satisfaction, Paint It Black and Let’s Spend the Night Together. We must not forget that we are talking about the Athens of the sixties, without smartphones, without internet, without colour television.
The concert was scheduled for April 17, 1967, and the police were on alert, seeing that there would be tensions from the pulsating youth. Characteristic of the time, a vignette of Dimitris Psathas who referred to the Stones' concert, writing: They are something young, unshaven, with long hair, where the lice can be comfortably housed and circulated. But as much as some people were confused or reacted, in April of '67 Athens took the time to make a leap into the modern era (and let the whole country finally fall into the plaster for 7 years). And such was the heat of the Athenians to see up close the top band in the world, that some even paid 500 drachmas (a completely astronomical amount) to be at the stadium on Alexandra’s Avenue. The concert started at 11pm, and the first loud message was given when Mick Jagger launched the hit of the season, "Satisfaction". People started singing it with him, making a Greek paraphrase of the title "I will slaughter you" (!) With the police watching in embarrassment, as they thought that the threat was addressed directly to them. The thing completely escaped when Jagger threw red carnations at the gathered crowd. Then, the police started shouting at him to stop (in fluent Greek). A pandemonium followed without beginning and end.
In fact, according to the testimony of the cult Greek rocker Dimitris Poulikakou, in an interview he gave twenty years later, it was Jagger who gave the first slap in the face. In any case, the concert was violently interrupted. Most testimonies converge on the fact that the Rolling Stones caught and played only six songs.
The Stones may not have been happy in their first contact with Greece; however, we were lucky enough to see them again, this time without side effects: It was in 1998 at the Olympic Stadium, in front of 75,000 people. It should be noted that the Stones had planned to come to Athens in 2006, but the concert was postponed because Keith Richards was injured after falling from a palm tree in New Zealand. In 2017, the Stones embarked on the big No Filter tour that was to end in 2020 and was postponed to 2021 due to a coronavirus. If it gets a new postponement, in 2022 they will tour celebrating their 60th anniversary. Should they plan another passage through Athens? We drink an Athenian Spritz to them, with the hope that we will see them again!