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Stripped Competition

June of 78'. Washington, DC. Warner Theater. Offered a ticket. "Etta James & the Cockroaches." I go. It's them. Loud, ferocious, intense. Stoned ever since.

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Jimmy Mack
about 2 years

James
It was a combo of luck and knowing the right people. I was 23 and working in downtown Philly. My good friend Eddy called me at 3pm and told me his older brother had 2 extra tickets for the show if we could get to DC by 8pm. His brother Matt is still the most loyal and rabid Stones fan I know and just seems to know where they are and how to get in. I totally trusted these guys and the whole "Cockroaches" thing. So I simply said "I'm in."
Eddy picked me up at 4pm and we started the 3-hour ride by rolling no less than 18 joints from a stash he pulled out from under the driver's seat. A few cold beers, some great mix-tapes and suddenly we were down I-95 South and across the street from the theater. Upon entering, my initial thought was "this can't be." A 2000 seat theater? The Stones? Why here? Then Etta came out, did her thing, and I wasn't sure what would happen next.
With no intro, no announcement, "The Cockroaches" came onstage and blistered us with Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" at 110 decibels. I've seen them about 30 times but I will never forget the majestic roar of their sound on this night, barely contained in a tiny space like that. "Shattered" felt like it might blow the doors off the building and collapse the roof! Just ferocious, as I mentioned before.
The show ended with a bizarre twist, never seen before or since. The closer, JJ Flash, was screaming down the rails like a runaway train when suddenly the theater went dark and silent..., prematurely. You could no longer see a thing in the blackness and folks were yelling "put the lights back on", and "keep playing." Pandemonium. A voice from a megaphone onstage then informed us that "...the band has blown the main circuit breaker in the theater. The show is over. The Rolling Stones thank you. Good night."
We scurried out like cockroaches into the night and lived to tell our story.

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James Sandlin
about 2 years

Please share more sounds like a once in a lifetime experience