Why would The Rolling Stones postpone their North American tour? Let’s look at some reasons. [SLIGHT UPDATE]

On Saturday, we heard that The Rolling Stones were postponing their 2019 North American tour due to some kind of medical issue with Mick Jagger.

The press release went like this.

“Mick Jagger has been advised by doctors that he cannot go on tour at this time as he needs medical treatment, The doctors have advised Mick that he is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible.”

With so little to go on, fans are scrambling to make sense of what this means–and what it means for those those holding very expensive tickets.

Let’s break things down a bit best we can.

  1. Every tour requires cancellation insurance to cover all manner of disasters and unforeseen circumstances. That includes everything from the OD death of a band member to a stage collapse. These policies require hardocre medical exams for each performer.
  2. Mick is famously fastidious about physically preparing for tours. He’s always had a pre-tour regimen designed to get him in the best possible shape. Not only does he run up to eight miles a day, but he also does kickboxing, and yoga. His current girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick, an American ballerina, even has Mick taking ballet lessons.
  3. Mike is NOT into the same bacchanalian lifestyle as he was back in the 60s and 70. No drugs. Ever. His diet is also insanely disciplined: lots of super-food smoothies, organic foods, skinless chicken, fish, wholegrain pasta, and avocado.
  4. Although he’s 75, he never, ever wants to show it. If there’s something that’s preventing Mick from being Mick onstage, he’ll want that fixed. It’s said that during an average Stones show, Mick can cover up to 10 miles on his feet.
  5. Even with a combined age of 298, The Stones want to keep rolling. The last thing they want anyone to think is that they are finally too old to tour.
  6. The Stones still make a HUGE amount of money by touring. They earned US$117,844,618 for playing just 14 shows in 2018. The No Filter Tour promises to bring in hundreds of millions more–perhaps as much as US$260,000,000. No one wants to see that jeopardized.
  7. Notice the use of the word “postponement” and not “cancellation.” This signals that the shows will be moved to different dates and perhaps different venues. The Burls Creek show north of Toronto is only happening because the Blue Jays have the Rogers Centre that week, which conflicted with the Stones load-in/load-out needs. There’s nothing stopping the June 29 show from being moved indoors to the Rogers Centre in the fall.
  8. “Postponed” also says “We got this.” Whatever is ailing Mick can be fixed.
  9. And how bad can it really be if Mick was spotted on Miami Beach with his son over the weekend?

This kind of thing is not unprecedented. Remember when Bono hurt his back and a huge portion of whole 360 Tour had to be moved back a year?

According to manager Paul McGuinness, even though very few fans asked for their money back, that was the biggest insurance payout ever seen in the concert industry.

Deposits on everything from gear to hotel rooms to plane tickets had to be forfeited or subjected to rescheduling feels. Dozens of people associated with the tour were furloughed. The U2 organization ground to a halt until it was determined Bono was okay. You don’t want to know what that did to actuarial tables for the whole concert insurance business.

In the case of the Stones, it’s much better to have a postponement insurance payout than have to endure the chaos of a cancellation payout.

And it’s not the first time we’ve seen a Stones postponement, either. In 2014, a leg of a tour was canceled after the suicide death of his ex-girlfriend, L’Wren Scott. Two years later, a gig in Vegas was called off because of bad laryngitis. Keef has been responsible for a couple of postponements, most notably in 2006 when he fell out of a coconut tree and cracked his head.

Bottom line is better safe than sorry. Godspeed, Mick.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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