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Ron Wood (left) and Mick Jagger get the crowd revved up early as the Rolling Stones shook the rafters at Fenway Park last night.
Ron Wood (left) and Mick Jagger get the crowd revved up early as the Rolling Stones shook the rafters at Fenway Park last night. (Globe Staff Photo / David Kamerman)

Stones a hit at Fenway; fan injured in fall

In the outfield last night, it was Mick being Mick, gyrating and swaggering, the usual band of idiots replaced by a band of sexagenarians, the Rolling Stones, who entertained 30,000-plus well-behaved fans at Fenway Park.

The lights dimmed, shooting stars appeared on a vast video screen, and then a familiar lip-and-tongue logo popped up, sending the crowd into delirium, as Mick Jagger and his mates launched into ''Start Me Up."

A song later, Jagger, standing on a mammoth modernist metallic stage, paid tribute to the city.

''Boston is a champion city, you know?" he said, ''You know, you've got the Patriots who won the Super Bowl, and you've got the Red Sox -- the world champions of baseball . . . We're going to try to hit one over the Green Monster."

Most fans said they did indeed deliver. But the concert was not without some peripheral drama. Many watched horrified as an unidentified 20-year-old Connecticut woman plunged about 35 feet from the right field rafters, breaking both her ankles and a wrist, police said. She was in stable condition last night at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Aside from the accident, it appeared to have been a successful musical night at the ballpark.

''No slow spots; full-out rock 'n' roll. It sounded fine, just as good as they've always been," raved Richard Martin, 52, of Cambridge, as he walked out of Fenway.

Diana Fay, 49, of Acton, thought the Stones hadn't lost a step since she saw them at Boston Garden 30 years ago.

''They're not at all played out," she said. ''I'm thrilled that I went. They are just as good as in '75."

But there were some notes of dissent.

''Honestly, I was disappointed," said Declan Slevin, 31, of Ireland. ''We had $180 seats, but when Mick was speaking, you could barely hear, and I don't want to say this too loud, but I think they are fading a wee bit."

Matt Wolm, 24, of Worcester, who last saw the band three years ago, said: ''They're tired. They're animatronic creatures brought out to look like the Stones. I was disappointed the last time; even more so this time."

The concert marked the start of the Stones' ''A Bigger Bang" tour, and followed Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett in the rare honor of playing at Fenway Park, which for most of history allowed only baseball within its confines.

Though the Stones have played some of the most raucous concerts in rock history, last night's affair was mostly sedate and tightly managed.

By the show's end, just nine cars had been towed and about 700 parking tickets issued. There was one arrest for counterfeit tickets. Police presence was thick, but the once-a-year concert event at Fenway turned out to be rather familiar from their perspective.

''It's very similar to a baseball game, really," said Officer Michael McCarthy, a department spokesman.

Unlike ball games, however, few children were in attendance last night, with the crowd dominated by 40-somethings and up. Three Boston police officers roamed the Fenway area with noise meters.

The concert's volume did not exceed the agreed-upon decibel threshold. Outside Fenway, the music was muffled and barely audible.

Inside, some concertgoers watched as the woman fell from a steel beam in right field. The woman, said witnesses, was animated and dancing prior to her fall, which police said occurred about 10 p.m. as the Stones moved into their encores.

''She sat for at least three songs, just dangling there. She was hanging onto the rafters, sitting on a beam. She just fell backwards," said Jaime Whitney, 29, from Watertown.

Most other Stones fans appeared to have had a safe and enjoyable experience.

Lisa McLaughlin, 41, of Peabody, sat on the curb of Lansdowne Street to listen to the concert. She couldn't afford the hefty ticket prices -- up to $400 at face value and more from other venues -- but was nonetheless happy to have the Stones at Fenway.

''They are grouchy," McLaughlin said of Fenway residents who worried the concert would be too loud. ''This is a special occasion. It's an honor to have them in our city."

After an evening of bar-hopping, Donna Flanders, 57, of Newburyport, pulled up to Fenway before the show in a limousine with three friends, all in their 50s and singing Stones tunes with abandon.

''We're grandmas on tour -- life begins at 50," said Flanders. ''Just look at the Stones. They're older than us."

Much like the Red Sox, some of the Rolling Stones fans out last night were dedicated to their idols.

For Bruce Macomber, 48, of North Attleborough, last night was his 127th Stones show. ''It's kind of a hobby." he said. ''Something about this band obviously gets me."

It was show number 14 for Denise Read, 48, of Providence, who only started attending Stones concerts in 1994.

''I'm a late bloomer, but . . . look at how I bloomed," said Read, gesturing at the lips and tongue tattoo on her chest.

Before the show, about 30 protesters gathered in front of the stadium before the show. Their beef was with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who held a fund-raiser at the show.

The protesters -- nurses, teachers, and firefighters from California, Illinois, and Massachusetts -- took issue with Schwarzenegger's positions on public unions and nursing regulations.

''We will do anything, both here or in California, to stop Governor Schwarzenegger and protect our patients," said Karen Higgins, president of the Massachusetts Nursing Association, as other protesters held ''Stop Arnold" signs.

This minor tempest aside, it was a night of rock 'n' roll.

Daniel Lang, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., attended the concert with his brother Chris, 36, of Back Bay, paying $450 for each ticket. Lang's head was shaved, save for a portion in the back that was dyed red and shaped like lips.

''No band has had more sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll," he said. ''They're the Stones. I had to be here, whatever it took."

Meredith Goldstein, Carol Beggy, and Bryan Marquard of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Adam Jadhav and Christina Silva contributed to this story.

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