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Buenos Aires rolls with the Stones

Argentina fans get boistrous as 50,000 come to see the ‘Estones’
/ Source: The Associated Press

The beach gig in Brazil was far bigger, but fans filled a soccer stadium and clashed with police on the streets outside as the Rolling Stones rocked Buenos Aires with their “A Bigger Bang” tour.

More than 50,000 people wearing Stones T-shirts and wagging-tongue tattoos lustily welcomed the band, whose top-grossing concert tour kicked off in the United States in August.

It wasn’t the more than 1 million people who thronged Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro for a free concert Saturday night, but fever for the “Estones,” as they are known in Spanglish slang, gripped this capital in the dog days of the hot South American summer.

“Hola, Argentina! Hola, Buenos Aires!” a fired-up Mick Jagger said as he kicked off Tuesday’s concert just as he had done days earlier in Brazil, with one of the Stones’ older hits — “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Wearing a tight red satin jacket over a black T-shirt, he then wiggled riotously through another old favorite, “It’s Only Rock ’n Roll.”

“It’s been eight years, and we’ve missed you!” Jagger shouted as the crowd roared its approval, many fans still pouring into Monumental Stadium.

Outside, police fired a water cannon at dozens of people as some knocked down barricades in an apparent bid to reach the stadium entrance.

TV news footage showed groups of young people running from police amid flying bottles. At least one car had its windows shattered and firefighters put out a burning pile of debris on the street.

At least two people were reported injured, independent news agency Diarios y Noticias said, but police had no immediate report. Security was tight inside the stadium.

It was the Stones’ third appearance in Argentina, after concerts in 1995 and 1998. Tuesday’s concert and another planned for Thursday were sold out.

Ticket prices started at $75, a large sum for Argentines still recovering from a deep economic crisis in 2002. But many gladly paid that, and some paid even more to ticket scalpers.

Juan Jose Banegas, 57, said he saved up for weeks for tickets to both concerts.

“They’re my whole life,” said Banegas, who spent days lounging with other fans outside the Stones’ hotel.

Dozens of fans have kept vigil for days, many of them so-called “Rolingas,” who wore hairstyles with short bangs reminiscent of a Mick Jagger ’70s look. Borrowing chants normally reserved for soccer teams, they waved homemade Stones flags.