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Argentina finds itself under Stones’ thumb

In Buenos Aires, fans crowd under Mick's and Keith's windows
/ Source: The Associated Press

Rolling Stones fans sporting the band's trademark wagging tongue logo on everything from T-shirts to tattooed body parts cheered outside a hotel where the rockers settled in ahead of their upcoming Buenos Aires concerts.

Band members began arriving here Sunday after their free concert on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach Saturday night, which drew more than 1 million spectators.

During the show, Mick Jagger, who has a 6-year-old Brazilian son, ad-libbed comments in Portuguese, delighting the crowd. At one point, he wore a white shirt with the Brazilian flag and the words "Brasil" and "Rio de Janeiro."

Guitarist Keith Richards was among the first of the band members to arrive in Buenos Aires along with drummer Charlie Watts. Save brief sightings on a bus and a few fleeting appearances by Richards at a hotel window, they stayed mostly out of public view as they rested for planned performances Tuesday and Thursday in this South American capital.

They closeted themselves in a luxury hotel that has morphed into ground zero for fans of the group known in Spanglish slang as "Los Rolling" — or, simply, the "Estones."

The crowd that began with a few dozen people grew to more than 150 as fans awaited the expected arrival later Monday of Jagger, who stayed a little longer in Rio, reportedly to spend more time with his son.

At one point, Richards made a daylight appearance at a hotel window with a small guitar, waving to deliriously cheering fans while a group of policemen guarded the hotel entrance.

"I'm 57 years old, but I'm such a fanatic that I feel like I'm still young," said Juan Jose Banegas, who traveled two hours by bus to join the vigil Sunday and only took a brief nap before joining the watch again after sunrise Monday.

Banegas had tickets for sold-out concerts coming up this week at soccer team River Plate's "Monumental Stadium."

"I haven't slept for a week," he said. "I hope I don't have a heart attack."