If you're younger than, say, 70, you might have noticed The Rolling Stones are back on tour.
It happens every three or four years. The self-described "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" long ago figured out that's about the right interval for being able to fire up a giant front-end loader, drive it through various American cities and scoop up fans' big-cash money.
The extra-special one-time-only selling point this time around: The surviving Stones are celebrating the group's 50th anniversary ... which actually was in 2012.
The four principal band members are in their late 60s and early 70s. And while time has been on their side, the age-related jokes are brutal. On the Internet I've already seen spoof set lists including "(I Can't Get No) Circulation," "Help Me Up," "It's Only Dulcolax But I Like It" and "Let's Take a Nap Together."
The humor is not for nothing. Charlie Watts, cancer survivor, is dealing with a bad back; Ronnie Wood has emerged from his umpteenth alcohol rehab. Mick Jagger, who'll be 70 in July, has been extolling the virtues of exercise -- the better to leap about and dance nonstop for each two-hour performance.
I wonder if Mick's a morning mall walker? Probably not.
And lastly there's my favorite Rolling Stone: Keith Richards, guitar-playing cadaver. Happily married for almost three decades, heroin-free for a little longer, he nevertheless looks like an old hunk of barn wood left rotting in the weather for ... yup, almost 70 years. His speech is slurred, and he's never without a cigarette dangling from his lips or pinched between the arthritic knuckles of his gifted hands.
I appreciate him not only because he's the writer of more great riffs than anyone I can think of, but he also has the good grace to bestow all credit to the blues musicians who gave birth to his band's sound. Without Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Hubert Sumlin and too many others to mention here, there would be no Rolling Stones phenomenon.
As Muddy sang, "The blues had a baby, and they named it rock 'n' roll."
If I sound a tad cynical, I don't mean to. It's just the bitterness showing through. The Stones won't be playing Utah this tour. And while I briefly considered buying a ticket to the recent Las Vegas show, the cheapest seat when I got around to looking was $295 -- and that was in the MGM Grand arena's rafters.
I've seen the Stones three times -- in Boulder, Colo., in 1978, for $12.75; and in Salt Lake twice, first at Rice Stadium in 1994, for $78, and next in 1999 at the Delta Center, for $125. It was well worth the money each time, but if I combined the costs of the three previous shows, it wouldn't even get me in the door this year.
The ticket prices for the "50 & Counting Tour" are enough to turn a peace-loving hippie into a street-fighting man. A seat about halfway back and halfway up in L.A.'s Honda Center to Wednesday's show was $630. For a single seat. The cheapest I could find was $280 -- at a right-angle to the stage near the arena's top row.
I get it: Nobody's forcing me to buy a ticket, so I didn't. And, yes, the market controls the prices -- if the Stones charge too much, the seats will go unfilled. So, good on 'em -- the British bad boys are uber-capitalists making a killing.
I'll have to comfort myself with knowing that while I can't always get what I want, sometimes I do get what I need. ... You had to see that one coming, right?
Email Don Porter with your Stones-concert stories at email@example.com.