Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby?

This could be this week’s garage rock indie darlings. It’s just The Rolling Stones, though. From nearly fifty years ago. Not a bad live recording, all things considered. It’s highly possible they haven’t played this song in concert since then, either. They may not even remember that it still exists. Which means, so what if it may not be the best performance. It’s likely the best live performance of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby? It certainly captures the chaos of an early Stones show. Stones shows were way crazier than Beatles shows, possibly because The Beatles had better security. Or maybe because The Stones gave back as good as they got. Just watch those crazed teenagers dive-bomb Mick Jagger – he’s asking for it, obviously, with that provocative strut of his. It’s adoration crossing the line into aggression. Every show was a near-death experience. Keith Richards once fell into the hands of fans after such a show. By the time the police chased them off he was unconscious, asphyxiated with his own necktie. The venues, of course, would be left with not a seat in the house, but presumably worth it for the box office and publicity. What provoked otherwise normal young music fans into paroxysms of screaming destruction? What it just something in the water at the time? Sure, teenage girls still shriek and cry at whatever pop idol is put in front of them – it’s become expected. But it’s hard to imagine anyone inspiring that kind of mass hysteria anymore. Sometimes fans at a concert riot, but it’s pretty rare, and usually for a reason, like if the band is too fucked up to get it together and actually play, there might be a riot. But for The Stones, every gig was a riot. That’s unheard of today, even in the danker subcategories of punk. Perhaps it has to do with the practice of hiring a platoon of  professional bruisers to keep hooligans far from the stage, but I’m pretty sure they had full police squads in the sixties who could barely contain the insanity. I think it might be that young people today, girls especially, just have more outlets for their aggressive energy. Girls are free to play sports or music or take up boxing if they feel like it, and boys are allowed to express their emotions without shame. Where there’s repression, there’s inevitably an explosion of hysteria. Since we’re less repressed today than in 1963, we don’t really need to use a rock band as an excuse to have a mini-nervous breakdown.