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Rolling Stones 2015 billboard  Rolling Stones 2015 billboard

Zippity Doo Dah

(March 31, 2015 – New York City) – The days of their splashy announcements may be over, but the Stones still know how to get their point across. This morning, instead of riding in on a boat or a train or the back of a truck, the band revealed their latest tour dates via Twitter and Facebook (among other media outlets).

Their trek through North America, which they’ve dubbed the “Zip Code” tour (wait’ll ya hear the reasoning behind that one!), will officially kick off on May 24 in San Diego. From there, they’ll be hitting a bunch of cities you don’t normally associate with Stones tours.

“You'll notice there’s no New York Cities or L.A.s or Chicagos,” said Keith in a radio interview that aired this morning. “We wanted to play the heartland.” So that’s why they’ll be hitting places like Kansas City, Indianapolis, Columbus and Milwaukee. (Itinerary below.)

Fifteen dates in fifteen cities, all in large stadiums/fields, and all backed by concert-promotion giant AEG, in cahoots with Clear Channel Entertainment (who have just changed the name of their radio division to iHeart Radio, the network that carried the aforementioned interview, which was pre-taped in New York City this week.)

In some ways, today’s tour announcement was the worst kept secret in rock ’n’ roll. Rumors had circulated amongst fans for weeks, especially after electronic billboards (like the one shown above) began cropping up in targeted cities. (Billboards owned by Clear Channel Outdoor Media, natch.) Some of the billboards touted an announcement for March 19, but that proved to be premature. On today’s iHeart Radio broadcast, Keith offered insight into the delay: “A lot of it, of course, is (the) promoters and agents getting the dates together.”

So why the “Zip Code” tour? It has to do with the upcoming reissue of “Sticky Fingers” -- the 1971 album that notoriously featured a workable zipper on its original LP cover. Get it? Something you zip?

Mick elaborated on the title during this morning’s radio broadcast, but may have come off like Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel: “We’re rereleasing ‘Sticky Fingers,’ so we started to play around with titles with zips on them. And then I thought … obviously each stadium has a zip code. (So it’s) a reference to the actual place where we’re playing. We’re going to this actual place and this is the zip code. And I kind of feel that numbers are always interesting.”

What Stones fans really wanna know – and which wasn’t addressed during this morning’s 5-minute broadcast with Mick and Keith – is whether Mick Taylor will be returning to the fold. Obviously, if the band performs a set that’s heavy on “Sticky Fingers,” it’d be downright ironic – if not foolish – to exclude him. But we’ll see how that plays out in the coming hours, days and weeks.

What is known, sadly, is that Bobby Keys, the band’s perennial sax man, will not be present. Bobby passed away in December at the age of 70, and will likely be replaced on this tour by Karl Denson, who stood in for Bobby when the band played nine shows in Australia/New Zealand last fall.

Tickets for the “Zip Code” tour will go on sale April 13, with the AmEx presale set for April 8. (The Quebec show will go on sale April 11.) Because the Stones are avoiding major markets on this tour (and because the venues are so huge) the prices may be slightly lower than on their previous trek through America. But you can still expect to pay $300 or $400 for the best seats in the house (or higher if you opt for a VIP package). Check rollingstones.com/tickets for details.

Rumors persist about a nightclub warmup show in Los Angeles (an all-“Sticky Fingers” warmup show, no less), but that remains to be seen. Also speculated for Tinseltown is a date at the Hollywood Bowl. Rumors of other venues have come and gone, such as the Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver (just like John Tesh!) and the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York (it’d be a logistical nightmare), but, with the Stones, ya never know.

The reissue of “Sticky Fingers,” as well as deluxe versions that’ll feature alternate takes and concert clips from 1971, will coincide with the launch of the tour (give or take a day).

There’ll be plenty of hysteria and speculation until then, so stay tuned. For further updates (or to kvetch with your fellow Stones fans about ticket prices, set lists, etc.), you can visit our friends at the IORR, Shidoobee, Rocks Off and Gasland message boards.

“Zip Code” 2015 tour dates

May 24 -- San Diego, CA -- Petco Park
May 30 -- Columbus, OH -- Ohio Stadium
June 3 -- Minneapolis, MN -- TCF Bank Stadium
June 6 -- Dallas, TX -- AT&T Stadium
June 9 -- Atlanta, GA -- Bobby Dodd Stadium
June 12 -- Orlando, FL -- Orlando Citrus Bowl
June 17 -- Nashville, TN -- LP Field
June 20 -- Pittsburgh, PA -- Heinz Field
June 23 -- Milwaukee, WI -- Summerfest / Marcus Amphitheater
June 27 -- Kansas City, MO -- Arrowhead Stadium
July 1 -- Raleigh, NC -- Carter-Finley Stadium
July 4 -- Indianapolis, IN -- Indianapolis Motor Speedway
July 8 -- Detroit, MI -- Comerica Park
July 11 -- Buffalo, NY -- Ralph Wilson Stadium
July 15 -- Quebec, QC -- Le Festival D’Été de Québec

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