The opening night of a Rolling Stones tour is usually a major
international event, covered by hundreds of media outlets from around the
world. But there may be one thing tougher than being the Stones at that
concert - being the opening band. On September 23 at Soldier Field in
Chicago, that honor falls to Blues Traveler, who will use a two-week stint
with the Stones to kick off their fall tour of North America.
"It's quite an honor," says guitarist Chan Kinchla. "It
came out of the blue, too. We were actually planning to go to Europe, and
we shot down those plans pretty quickly." Kinchla says he and the
other Blues Travelers tried to see the Stones perform during the 1989
Steel Wheels tour stop at New York's Shea Stadium but couldn't afford the
tickets. "All we could manage to see was the huge, inflatable blow-up
woman over the edge of the stadium for 'Honky Tonk Woman,'" Kinchla
says. "That was our Stones memory."
This time, the guitarist says he and his bandmates plan to soak in every
minute of the Stones they can. "It's just a great opportunity to
listen and learn and see some great Stones shows," he says. "You
kind of do your little things and you can sit back and watch how these
masters, these creators of this whole genre do it and take a few notes and
see how it fits."
Kinchla says Blues Traveler has worked up several covers for the fall
tour, including Steve Miller's "The Joker" and the Charlie
Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The group will
also be heard on the October 7 holiday compilation A Very Special
Christmas 3, for which they wrote a new song that Kinchla says mixes
holiday spirit and social commentary.