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Invisible App Zone
Written by David Bieber
Have you ever wandered the hallways of The Verb and wondered what all the 45s on the doors mean? You know, that thing that looks almost like a vinyl record but its closer in size to a CD? Well every door with a 45 on it denotes a special room here at the hotel. The 45 actually indicates what artist the room was themed around. While the idea of a themed room is incredibly cool, there’s a lot more too it. Every room converted has a story as to why that particular artist was chosen. Here’s an example of just one of the stories behind the many special rooms here at The Verb
Picture this, then Start Me Up! A Rolling Stones concert in Fenway Park…with 80 people in attendance. And I was there. A magnificent summer night. August 18, 2005. A hint of imminent autumn.
Eerie shadows, stunning sounds and dramatic lights piercing the otherwise dark park; a strange stillness in the stands, especially since the Stones were on the stage set up on the Fenway field and were delivering a full-throttle performance. These Beasts of Burden were playing for themselves, rehearsing in Boston for the first official event of the North American leg of their tour. Camped out in town, preparing for multiple sold-out shows at Fenway (35,000 capacity), then onto the rest of the world, 147 concerts that lasted well into 2007 and grossed nearly $600 million.
But even the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band needs to get its sea legs, and so I was witness to the concert of a lifetime—a full dress, full sound-and-vision, get-the-kinks-out, warts-and-all preliminary performance by the Rolling Stones. The curtain was pulled back to reveal the wizards in all of their It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll glory.
They’d do “Satisfaction” and “Memory Motel” (…back up to Boston…”), then stop and adjust, talk to the crew, then begin again with “Brown Sugar” and alter the lighting, linger on a silent interlude, then pick it up with “Midnight Rambler” (“Well, you heard about the Boston…”), ”Heartbreaker” and Sympathy for the Devil” (“I shouted out, who killed the Kennedys?”). “Shattered,” “Miss You,” “Honky Tonk Women;” they all rolled out like Tumbling Dice.
There was no one in the Park except for the road crew, vital members of the production team, the national concert producers and a handful of friends and family. And, of course, the hovering ghosts of Fenway past; I could feel the floating presence of everyone who had ever previously touched the turf, from Ted Williams to Bruce Springsteen, Babe Ruth to Ray Charles, Pedro Martinez to Stevie Wonder, all lurking somewhere in the vast night-ink of the empty rows.
I was fortunate to be invited to this unforgettable evening by Peter Wolf, a personal friend of mine who is also a long-time member of the Rolling Stones’ inner circle. It was rumored that in the early 1970s, Mick Jagger stood side-stage at a J. Geils Band concert, just to study Peter’s show-stopping, jaw-dropping improvisational dance moves. In subsequent decades, Peter has toured with as well as recorded with the Stones and is their unofficial Boston goodwill ambassador.
Even a veteran like Peter recognized the unique brilliance of the opportunity to the Rolling Stones create energy out of air in a gigantic ballpark isolation booth, full moon overhead, playing absolutely full-steam ahead, all without benefit of crowd feedback; no applause, no cell phones or cameras, no refreshments or intoxicants; almost the sound of one hand clapping. Nothing but three hours of relentless Satisfaction.
And it all took place maybe 100 yards from this very Verb room. Look out the window, and you may get a déjà vu glimpse of vintage Stones silhouettes.
A Bigger Bang, as the two-year tour was named…and on that first night in Boston, not a whimper was heard. Sometimes, you can always get what you want!