The Stones in Rome

1967... The Rolling Stones played the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome.

My fiancé, actor James Fox and I had been invited by Mick to go to the show. Since we were staying in Rome it was an easy trip to the stadium. More than 5,000 people were attending.

I'd never seen Mick in this world before— I was used to being around him and Marianne Faithfull in more intimate settings in London.

Getting backstage was like a scene straight out of “La Dolce Vita.” Rabid fans tried to tip James’ Jaguar over— they thought one of the band was with us. Poor James was terrified— I could see all the excited faces pressed against the car windows, and the car was rocking wildly back and forth.  Finally we scared them off with the help of some local Italian police.

When we made it backstage, we were greeted with one of the most surrealistic  scenes I had ever witnessed— Fellini, Lollabrigida, Ponti over in the corner smoking cigarettes… flashbulbs popping... Mick working the room as the ultimate host. He was spectacularly good at it. Everything so glamorous. The best and brightest of Rome!

Brian Jones in a white fedora and pink suede shoes flirting with Italian heiresses, Stash De Rola showing off one beauty after the other.

Someone kept filling my glass with champagne which sent the room whirling.

What caught my eye was Keith Richards off by himself in a separate room.  I could see him through a large glass window – hunched over his guitar. I didn’t know Anita had left Brian for Keith just days before.

When they called for the Stones to take the make-shift stage, Mick took me with him down a long hallway up the stairs.  I could hear the crowd roaring— stomping their feet— incredible excitement was building

Mick told us to move to the right at the front of the stage! I realized there was no way off.  We were right in front of all the screaming fans desperate to see The Stones.

I tried to hide behind James but he kept swinging me around in front of him.

The crowd was pumped beyond belief. Boys tossing their underwear at the stage shouting  "Meek… Keef… Brian…  Charlie... Bill…!!!!"

When the Stones started to play – everything made sense. I had no idea music could pump through us like that. And what music it was— Under my Thumb, Lady Jane, Satisfaction… it was rip your shirt off good!!!

No light shows needed in those days, no magic lasers. Just the raw spectacular talent of those Rolling Stones