Here’s some rare and interesting memorabilia from the famed 1972 tour.
Stage plans, a guest pass, press tour book and a rare Exile poster promoting the album the Stones had just released.
The Rolling Stones American Tour 1972, often referred to as the S.T.P. Tour (for Stones Touring Party), was a much-publicized and much-written-about concert tour of The United States and Canada in June and July 1972 by The Rolling Stones. Noted rock critic Dave Marsh would later write that the tour was “part of rock and roll legend” and one of the “benchmarks of an era.”
The tour followed the release of the group’s album Exile on Main St. a few weeks earlier on 12 May. But this was far more than a rock band’s typical promotional tour following the release of a new recording. Rather, it became a major pop cultural event of the time. It came at the height of the Stones’ reputation as “The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World,” and attention was focused on the group’s multi-edged visibility in popular consciousness: as purveyors of raw R&B carnal energy, and as the epitome of bohemian decadence, the band were seen as the opposite of the now-defunct, and relatively wholesome Beatles. At the same time, singer Mick Jagger was by now a glamorous celebrity who had moved into the jet set of high society. These aspects were all intertwined, and so the tour attracted much attention from observers of both high culture and low culture.
Tour set list
The standard set list for the tour was:
1. “Brown Sugar”
3. “Rocks Off”
4. “Gimme Shelter”
6. “Tumbling Dice”
7. “Love in Vain”
8. “Sweet Virginia”
9. “Loving Cup”
10. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
11. “All Down the Line”
12. “Midnight Rambler”
13. “Bye Bye Johnny”
14. “Rip This Joint”
15. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
16. “Street Fighting Man”
17. Encore: often none, sometimes “Honky Tonk Women, a few times “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”/”(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” medley performed jointly by the Stones and Stevie Wonder and his band
Only a few minor set list variations occurred from this, the exact number of which are subject to ongoing research. Notably absent was anything from before 1968 in the Stones’ catalog (excepting in the occasional encore medley). This tour also marked the banishment of their dark epic “Sympathy for the Devil,” which had been wrongly associated with the killing at Altamont, from Stones’ American performances for much of the 1970s.
Many of the Stones’ associates and collaborators did not survive the atmosphere of the tour. Marshall Chess, the band’s de facto manager and head of Rolling Stones Records, lapsed into heroin addiction and lost over thirty pounds; he continued to work for the Stones at a diminished rate before leaving and detoxing in 1977. The rigors of the road exacerbated Nicky Hopkins’ frail health; he too would battle drug addiction before undergoing the Church of Scientology’s Purification Rundown several years later. Publicity coordinator Gary Stromberg, “one hundred percent fucked up” as per Greenfield’s account at the conclusion of the New York run, was left on a boat off Fire Island to clean up; a “thirty percent fucked up” Stromberg would replicate his duties for T.Rex’s first tour of America. Lighting director Chip Monck’s experimental projection system proved to be a convoluted mess and major embarrassment, decimating much of his reputation of being at the vanguard of the field.