Evelyn Shaw has been to every one of the British rockers' gigs in Toronto, Canada, since 1986 but this will be the first time she has seen them elsewhere.
Canadian fan’s satisfaction as she flies to Abu Dhabi for Stones concert
ABU DHABI // Evelyn Shaw was so excited when she opened her Christmas gift of tickets to the Rolling Stones concert in the capital that she could barely read what it said.
The lifelong fan of the band has been to every one of their concerts in Toronto since 1986, but her trip to Abu Dhabi will be the first time she has seen them outside Canada.
Mrs Shaw, 56, will see the band’s 14 On Fire tour at Yas Island on Friday.
“I just couldn’t take in what I was reading when I opened the gift envelope my daughter had got me for Christmas,” she said.
“I’m just so excited because this is the first time I’ll be watching them perform outside of Toronto and can’t wait to experience it.”
She will be joined at the concert by her daughter Becky, son-in-law Graham and his mother Cindi Zwicker.
Becky and Graham are teachers at the American International School in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s very rare for two mothers-in-law to get on but it’s fantastic that Cindi came over with me as well,” said Mrs Shaw, who has been attending Toronto concerts with her friend, Lisa Whelan, for almost three decades.
“Lisa was really happy for myself and Cindi but she couldn’t make it. She’ll be here in spirit though, as we plan to take a picture of us all with Lisa’s photo at the concert.”
She has been enthralled by the band since the 1970s.
“When the Stones are in town we make a weekend of it,” said Mrs Shaw, from Ontario. “We leave the husbands at home and go to the concert determined to enjoy every moment.”
The band members and how they interact with the crowd are as much a part of the experience as the music, she said.
“They really try to involve the audience in their shows. Keith Richards is such an animated presence on stage.
“Mick is like no other band frontman and, although Ronnie Wood is less animated, I really like the way he talks with Charlie Watts on drums.”
A concert that particularly stands out was the No Security tour at the Air Canada Centre in 1999.
“We were in seats that were close to the stage that allowed us to look at the set list they had written down on stage,” Mrs Shaw said.
“We could also see behind the stage and it was fascinating to see what happened and how things worked. The concert was also not as large-scale as their other ones and that made it more special in a way.
“The amazing thing about the Rolling Stones is that there is such a wide range of people who attend. I’ve seen people in their 70s go to shows, as well as families with their 13-year-old children.
“They always try to get some kind of local involvement, either from an up-and-coming band or with a school choir, like they did in Toronto a few years ago.
“I can’t wait for the concert to see what they do in Abu Dhabi. It’s going to be fantastic.”
The last and only time Ms Zwicker, 54, also from Ontario, watched the Rolling Stones live was a 2003 event in Toronto held as a fund-raiser for the victims of the Sars virus outbreak.
“I’m more into folk music but that was a fantastic experience and I’m really looking forward to the concert,” she said. “We’ll probably head to the venue early to get the best seats, if we can.
“Evelyn has been really excited about the concert from the moment we boarded the plane.”
They arrived in Abu Dhabi on February 12 and will fly home in the early hours of Sunday.
“I never thought I would be able to see my favourite band outside of Toronto, so I’m going to make the most of this experience,” Mrs Shaw said.