The Rolling Stones were in something of a rush when they announced a brief UK tour for March 1971. 

Their newest studio album, Sticky Fingers, was to be released in April – unusually, after the tour had ended. The reason that the band was in a hurry was because they had decided to move to France for tax reasons, and needed to quit the UK before the new tax year began in early April. 

The 16-show, nine-city UK tour included two nights on Monday, March 8, at Green’s Playhouse in Glasgow.

As ever with Stones gigs in the city, the Green’s audience was wildly enthusiastic. One 20-year-old fan, from Easterhouse, moved from his seat at the back of the gallery to the front circle and, in the words of a court report in the Evening Times, “began to wave his arms about as if conducting an orchestra. He was arrested by plain-clothes police who feared he would topple over and fall into the stalls below”. The Glasgow Herald said he was pulled back by stewards, and had been led from the hall after a struggle. 

He was fined £20 at the Marine Police Court after admitting a breach of the peace. Several other fans were arrested after incidents in or near the Playhouse. “Otherwise”, reported the Glasgow Herald, “the concert, played to two packed houses of 3,000, went peacefully. Both audiences gave the group a rapturous reception”. 

The drama, however, didn’t quite end there. As guitarist Keith Richards would recall, in the commemorative book The Rolling Stones 50: “I had a real problem with my dog, Boogie, after the Glasgow show when we went to Bristol. 

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“I’d missed the train that everyone else had taken and so had to take a flight. The airline wouldn’t let me take the dog in the cabin so, after much arguing, he had to go in the hold. I wasn’t happy”. 

Writing on the Glasgow Apollo website, fan Tom Kelly recalls: “They were superb, so tight, great sound, at their peak, but they played for less than an hour. Forty minutes is what I remember although someone else said it was a bit longer but that’s what I remember.  

“We were two or three rows from the front and mate caught the basket Mick [Jagger] threw into the crowd then had a fingernail torn out as somebody tried to rip it from his hand. Nice”. 

The Stones’ final date, though not officially a part of the tour, was a concert at London’s Marquee Club, which was filmed and released on a CD/DVD package in 2015.

Some two-and-a-half years after those Stones concerts, Green’s Playhouse was renamed the Apollo Centre. The band was among the Apollo’s curtain-raisers, playing there on September 16 and 17, 1973, a few weeks before the release of their Goat’s Head Soup album. 

The Evening Times reviewer said: “Many people boast about belonging to Glasgow, but the city last night belonged to Mick Jagger. Playing the first of two sell-out concerts at the city’s Apollo Centre, the swaggering, confident superstar Jagger swept all before him. 

The Herald: Mick Jagger at the Apollo in 1982Mick Jagger at the Apollo in 1982 (Image: Newsquest)

“And the outcome was scenes reminiscent of the days of Beatlemania with the fans on their feet wanting more, and more, and more. In fact the fans would have stayed on all night and paid again for the privilege of doing so, had the opportunity been given to them. 

“Jagger started ‘em off with ‘Brown Sugar’ and he included his ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ in his repertoire as he gyrated, stripped to the waist, around the stage – and poured water over himself and audience”. 

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The Stones’ next visits to the Apollo were on May 10-12, 1976, shortly after their latest album, Black and Blue, had hit the shops. 

On the morning of the opening concert the Evening Times said that the band, “the rock world’s hottest piece of property”, was hiding somewhere in Scotland. They were staying outwith the city until the last possible moment before the show to avoid “fanmania”. Part of their vast entourage, including a dozen articulated lorries, was already at the venue, it added.  

The Glasgow Herald reviewer, Colin MacDonald, praised the 90-minute-long show, which ended with a bare-chested Jagger once again throwing water over the audience.

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The Stones, MacDonald added, had always been great – “even in the days when most mothers wouldn’t let their daughters anywhere near even a photograph of the much-maligned Mick. 

“Things haven’t changed much, except the daughters have grown up, married, and last night they brought their husbands along too. Everyone, I reckon, from teenyboppers to middle-aged men, was there. 

“Those who went along for the gutsy sort of show the Stones have always produced weren’t disappointed. Blues-based, unrelenting rock is still dominant. But the musical aggression of a decade ago is tempered, though very slightly, by flashier clothes, top-quality sound and lighting systems, and a high degree of stagecraft and discipline”. 

The Herald: Rolling Stones fan Shona Stoney, 21, with her concert tickets in May 1982Rolling Stones fan Shona Stoney, 21, with her concert tickets in May 1982 (Image: Joe Campbell)

The band’s final appearance at the Apollo took place six years later, on May 27, 1982. They had not long finished a US tour that had reportedly netted them $30m. 

Tickets (priced at £6.50) for concerts at the Apollo, the Edinburgh Playhouse and Aberdeen’s Capitol Cinema were snapped up within a few hours of box-offices opening at midday on Thursday, May 20. There had been no advance notice and tickets were sold on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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Announcement of the concerts ended weeks of speculation that the group was planning to hold an open-air concert at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium as part of their British tour. 

Hundreds of fans were arriving in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee on the Thursday night, only to be told that the tickets had all been sold. At one stage in the afternoon, a queue nearly a quarter of a mile long had formed outside the Apollo. 

“’Under My Thumb’ was not only the title of the first number they played to a sell-out audience of more than 3,000 people last night but the song that set the theme for the rest of the concert”, began the review in the Herald by Iain Gray. “The Rolling Stones in the second of a three-part Scottish tour, could do no wrong. 

“Despite acoustics which reminded one of listening to early Rolling Stones records on a Dansette record player, the energy generated was more than enough to feed the nostalgia of the fans, some of whom paid more than three times the face value of tickets. 

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“Jagger, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Richards, a pale skeleton wielding a lead guitar, aided by [Charlie] Watts, the undertaker on drums, and [Bill] Wyman on bass had to call in the help of two saxophonists and two keyboard men to bring their stage act into the 1980s. 

“It may be indicative of the state in which the Rolling Stones, like many other bands formed in the early 60s, now find themselves. Nostalgia was the name of the game when Jagger announced: ‘We’re gonna do some old rockers from the fifties’. This drew the biggest response”. 

* Audio of the Stones’s Apollo gigs from September 17, 1973, May 10, 1976, and May 27, 1982, can be found on YouTube. 

& The new Rolling Stones studio album, Hackney Diamonds, is released on October 20.