Sunday, November 29, 2009

Long live rock

A friend wrote on my Facebook wall: "Just read the Stones plan to tour again next year. So now you GOTTA stick around!"

He makes a good point. The Rolling Stones have been helping me keep that hooded dude with the scythe off my back for almost two decades now.

In 1991, when I got my AIDS diagnosis, I had no expectation that I would ever see my favorite band perform live again. The Stones had just completed a massive world tour the year before, and it had been eight years before their previous jaunt around the globe. In 1991, no one with an AIDS diagnosis reasonably expected to live four or five years, let alone eight, so I figured that the band's shows at the Coliseum in the fall of 1989 would be the last Stones shows I would see.

Surprisingly, the Stones waited only three years before hitting the road again, and just as surprisingly AIDS didn't get in the way of me catching a show on the band's 1994 tour.

But as I waited to exit the Rose Bowl parking lot after that performance, I told myself "That was definitely my last chance to see the Stones. No way am I going to live long enough for another tour." (I didn't expect to live long enough to find my way out of the Rose Bowl lot that night.)

Well, soon I was taking new combination therapies to treat my HIV. Those treatments succeeded and before I knew it, it was 1997 and the Stones were hitting the road yet again. I had an unexpected opportunity to see them a few more times.

Then they toured in 1999.

And again in 2002.

In 2005, the Stones began yet another tour, and I saw them several times that year and in 2006.

By this time I had stopped associating Stones tours with my longevity with AIDS. But now I have a new grim prognosis: one that may or may not come to pass by the time the Stones begin their 2010 juggernaut.

My doctors have penciled in spring as a possible expiration date on my medical charts; Mick and the boys are probably looking at summer for the first shows of the new tour,

If past is prologue, time will remain on my side and I'll find myself in the audience at a handful of Stones shows in 2010. I may need to stay seated during the most frenzied moments of the shows, but I'll be there.

Whether my eardrums make it that far is an entirely different matter.


  1. Just saw some clips from the Ed Sullivan Rock n Roll Shows and the Stones singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" and if Keith Richards can avoid the "hooded dude with the scythe" ... you have nothing to worry about.

    Be positive and hang in there!

    Love ya

    (the brother)

  2. I am your newest fan. And while I've never seen the Stones live in concert - I have a very strong premonition that you will be there in 2010.

  3. We'll be there, but before the show I'm going to get you a matching Stones tattoo which you can wear on even and odd number days.