The Rolling Stones American Tour 1972

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The Rolling Stones American Tour 1972
Tour by The Rolling Stones
Associated albumExile on Main St.
Start date3 June 1972
End date26 July 1972
No. of shows48
The Rolling Stones concert chronology

The Rolling Stones American Tour 1972, also known as the "Stones Touring Party", shortened to S.T.P.,[1] 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. Constituting the band's first performances in the United States following the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969, critic Dave Marsh would later write that the tour was "part of rock and roll legend" and one of the "benchmarks of an era."[2]

The tour and difficulties[edit]

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards share a microphone during the June 1972 Winterland shows

The tour in part supported the group's Exile on Main St. album, which was released a few weeks earlier on 12 May. It was also part of a tour-America-every-three-years rotation that the group established in 1969 and maintained through 1981.

On the first show of the tour, 3 June in Vancouver, British Columbia, 31 policemen were treated for injuries when more than 2,000 fans attempted to crash the Pacific Coliseum.[3]

In San Diego on 13 June, there were 60 arrests and 15 injured during disturbances. In Tucson, Arizona on 14 June, an attempt by 300 youths to storm the gates led to police using tear gas.[4] While in Chicago for three appearances on 19 and 20 June, the group stayed at Hugh Hefner's original Playboy Mansion in the Gold Coast district.[5] Eighty-one people were arrested at the two sellout Houston shows on 25 June, mostly for marijuana possession and other minor drug offences.[6] There were 61 arrests in the large crowd at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on the Fourth of July.[7]

On 13 July police had to block 2,000 ticket-less fans from trying to gain access to the show in Detroit.[8] On 17 July at the Montreal Forum a bomb blew up in the Stones' equipment van, and replacement gear had to be flown in; then it was discovered that 3,000 forged tickets had been sold, causing a fan riot and a late start to the concert.[3] The next day, 18 July, the Stones' entourage got into a fight with photographer Andy Dickerman in Rhode Island, and Jagger and Richards landed in jail, imperilling that night's show at the Boston Garden. Boston Mayor Kevin White, fearful of a riot if the show were cancelled, intervened to bail them out; the show went on, albeit with another late start. Dickerman would later file a £22,230 lawsuit against the band.[9]

On 16 June, after the Denver shows, in a hotel suite, Stephen Stills and Keith Richards drew knives in an argument.[10]

The tour ended with four shows over three consecutive nights at New York City's Madison Square Garden, the first night of which saw 10 arrests and two policemen injured,[11] and the last leading to confrontations between the crowd outside Madison Square Garden and the police.[12] The last show on 26 July, Jagger's birthday, had balloons and confetti falling from Madison Square Garden's ceiling and Jagger blowing the candles off a huge cake. Pies were also wheeled in, leading to a pie fight between the Rolling Stones and the audience.[12]

Following the final performance, a party was held in Jagger's honor by Ahmet Ertegun at the St. Regis New York. Guests included Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Andy Warhol, the Capote entourage, and Zsa Zsa Gabor, while the Count Basie Orchestra provided musical entertainment. At the event, Dylan characterized the tour as "encompassing" and "the beginning of cosmic consciousness."[13]

Rock critic Robert Christgau reported that the mood of the shows was friendly, with Jagger "undercut[ting] his fabled demonism by playing the clown, the village idiot, the marionette."[14]


The official name of the tour was 'American Tour 1972'. The tour is also known as the "Stones Touring Party", shortened to S.T.P.,[1] derived from the laminates handed out by the management to crew, family, friends and press, granting access to the various areas at the concert venues and hotels.[citation needed] In 2015 Jose Cuervo in association with the Rolling Stones launched a brand of tequila with a marketing campaign based on one of the nicknames of the American Tour being the "Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour".[15]


Mick Jagger at Winterland Ballroom, June 1972

Several writers were assigned to cover the tour. Truman Capote was commissioned to write a travelogue for Rolling Stone. Accompanied by prominent New York socialites Lee Radziwill and Peter Beard, Capote did not mesh well with the group; he and his entourage abandoned the tour in New Orleans before resurfacing for the final shows at Madison Square Garden.[16] Having struggled with writer's block since the publication of In Cold Blood in 1966, he failed to complete his feature, tentatively titled "It Will Soon Be Here." Rolling Stone ultimately recouped its stake by assigning Andy Warhol to interview Capote about the tour in 1973. In the interview, Capote alleged that tour doctor Laurence Badgley (a 1968 graduate of the Yale School of Medicine who was later retained by Led Zeppelin for their 1977 North American tour)[17] had a "super-Lolita complex" and initiated the statutory rape of a high school student (also filmed by Robert Frank) on the band's business jet during a flight to Washington, D.C.[18]

Terry Southern, a close friend of Keith Richards since the late 1960s, wrote about the tour for Saturday Review in what proved to be one of his last major journalistic assignments. Southern and Beard developed a friendship on the tour and collaborated intermittently on The End of the Game (an unfilmed screenplay) for over two decades.

Robert Greenfield's S.T.P.: A Journey Through America With The Rolling Stones (derived from his tour reportage for Rolling Stone) was published in 1974. Greenfield had already covered the band's 1971 British Tour for Rolling Stone and was granted unlimited access to the band's affairs. Although Greenfield was initially assigned as the magazine's sole correspondent for the tour before a last-minute deal was reached with Capote, he was permitted to continue in his assignment, paralleling Hunter S. Thompson and Timothy Crouse's two-pronged coverage of the contemporaneous 1972 United States presidential election for the magazine.

Dick Cavett hosted a one-hour special shot before the concluding New York engagement of performances. Capote appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and several other talk shows, talking about his experiences on the tour. New York radio host Alex Bennett reported on the first Madison Square Garden show as soon as he got back from it.


No live album was released from the tour at the time, although one was planned as far as having a front and back cover designed and studio touch-ups being made on several recorded tracks. Eventually, the album was shelved due to contractual disputes with Allen Klein.

Two films of the tour were produced. The concert film Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones! only saw a limited theatrical release in 1974. Aside from an Australian VHS release in the early 1980s, it wasn't officially available on home video until 2010. The film's complete soundtrack was released as an album by Eagle Records/Universal in 2017.

Robert Frank's Cocksucker Blues is a documentary shot in cinéma vérité style; several cameras were available for anyone in the entourage to pick up and start shooting backstage parties, drug use,[19] and roadie and groupie antics,[20] including a groupie in a hotel room injecting heroin.[21] The film came under a court order which forbade it from being shown other than in very restricted circumstances. The film has since surfaced online in various bootlegged versions of varying quality.[19][22]


The Rolling Stones[edit]

Tour support acts[edit]

Stevie Wonder was the support act for the tour. Having released his groundbreaking Music of My Mind album in March 1972, Wonder would go on to release another epochal album (Talking Book) by year's end.[23] This placement, along with his hard-edged hit "Superstition" (released in October 1972), did much to increase Wonder's visibility to rock audiences. He and his band would also sometimes join the Stones at the end of the group's performance for an encore medley of Wonder's 1966 hit "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

Tour set list[edit]

Taylor playing slide guitar with the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden, 1972

The standard set list for the tour was:

  1. "Brown Sugar"
  2. "Bitch"
  3. "Rocks Off"
  4. "Gimme Shelter"
  5. "Happy"
  6. "Tumbling Dice"
  7. "Love in Vain"
  8. "Sweet Virginia"
  9. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
  10. "All Down the Line"
  11. "Midnight Rambler"
  12. "Bye Bye Johnny"
  13. "Rip This Joint"
  14. "Jumpin' Jack Flash"
  15. "Street Fighting Man"
  16. Encore: often none, sometimes "Honky Tonk Women", a few times "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" / "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

Additional songs performed:

The exact number of setlist variations are subject to ongoing research. Notably absent was anything from before 1968 in the Stones' catalog save for the occasional presence of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". This tour also marked the banishment of "Sympathy for the Devil", which had been wrongly associated with the killing at Altamont, from the band's American performances for much of the 1970s.

The tour grossed a then-record of $4 million (US$24,448,687 in 2019 dollars[24]).[25] Although each band member netted roughly $250,000 (equivalent to $1.4 million today), Jagger was dissatisfied when he learned that Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant had secured a then-unprecedented 90/10 split of gross receipts in the group's favor on its contemporaneous North American tour.[26]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue Opening Act
3 June 1972 Vancouver Canada Pacific Coliseum Stevie Wonder
4 June 1972
2 shows
Seattle United States Seattle Center Coliseum
6 June 1972
2 shows
San Francisco Winterland Ballroom
8 June 1972
2 shows
9 June 1972 Los Angeles Hollywood Palladium
10 June 1972 Long Beach Long Beach Arena
11 June 1972
2 shows
Inglewood The Forum
13 June 1972 San Diego International Sports Arena
14 June 1972 Tucson Tucson Convention Center
15 June 1972 Albuquerque University Arena
16 June 1972
2 shows
Denver Denver Coliseum
18 June 1972 Bloomington Metropolitan Sports Center
19 June 1972 Chicago International Amphitheatre
20 June 1972
2 shows
22 June 1972 Kansas City Municipal Auditorium
24 June 1972
2 shows
Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center
25 June 1972
2 shows
Houston Hofheinz Pavilion
27 June 1972 Mobile Mobile Civic Center
28 June 1972 Tuscaloosa Memorial Coliseum
29 June 1972 Nashville Municipal Auditorium
4 July 1972 Washington, D.C. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
5 July 1972 Norfolk Norfolk Scope
6 July 1972 Charlotte Charlotte Coliseum
7 July 1972 Knoxville Civic Arena
9 July 1972
2 shows
St. Louis Kiel Convention Hall
11 July 1972 Akron Rubber Bowl
12 July 1972 Indianapolis Indiana Convention-Exposition Center
13 July 1972 Detroit Cobo Hall
14 July 1972
15 July 1972
2 shows
Toronto Canada Maple Leaf Gardens
17 July 1972 Montreal Montreal Forum
18 July 1972 Boston United States Boston Garden
19 July 1972
20 July 1972 Philadelphia The Spectrum
21 July 1972
2 shows
22 July 1972 Pittsburgh Civic Arena
24 July 1972 New York City Madison Square Garden
25 July 1972
2 shows
26 July 1972


  1. ^ a b Robert Greenfield (28 April 2009). S.T.P.: A Journey Through America With The Rolling Stones. Hachette Books.
  2. ^ Marsh, Dave (1987). Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-394-54668-7. p. 15.
  3. ^ a b "Rolling through scandal". The Vancouver Sun. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  4. ^ 50 Greatest Concerts in San Diego History 1917–2005
  5. ^ The Rolling Stones Go South
  6. ^ By popular demand: The 1972 Rolling Stones concert
  7. ^ Goodbye, RFK
  8. ^ Rolling Stones Bring Havoc to Cobo
  9. ^ Stones Tour: All Ends Well Despite Bust, Bomb, Rolling Stone
  10. ^ "Chronicle 1972". Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  11. ^ Memorable Performances From Madison Square Garden
  12. ^ a b Birthday Battle Ends Stones Tour, Vancouver Sun
  13. ^ Greenfield, Robert (8 July 2013). Stones Touring Party: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones. ISBN 9781781311998.
  14. ^ Robert Christgau, "The Rolling Stones", entry in The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll, Random House, 1980. p. 200.
  15. ^ Douglas Quenqua (15 September 2015). "Everything wrong with Jose Cuervo's new Rolling Stones ad". Campaign Live.
  16. ^ Davis, Stephen (11 December 2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. ISBN 9780767909563.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Wenner, Jann S. (November 2007). The Rolling Stone Interviews. ISBN 9780316023139.
  19. ^ a b "The Trouble With 'Cocksucker Blues'". Rolling Stone Magazine. 3 November 1977. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  20. ^ Fricke, David (20 November 2012). "The Greatest Rolling Stones Movie You've Never Seen: 'Cocksucker Blues'". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  21. ^ Doyle, Patrick (26 October 2009). "Rolling Stones' Controversial Tour Documentary "Cocksucker Blues" Screens in New York". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  22. ^ IMDb
  23. ^ "The 10 Best Opening Acts in Rock History – 9. The Rolling Stones/Stevie Wonder (1972)". Rolling Stone.
  24. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  25. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling With the Stones. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2.p. 398.
  26. ^
  • Greenfield, Robert. S.T.P.: A Journey Through America With The Rolling Stones. Reissued De Capo Press, 2002. ISBN 0-306-81199-5
  • Carr, Roy. The Rolling Stones: An Illustrated Record. Harmony Books, 1976. ISBN 0-517-52641-7

External links[edit]