The Rolling Stones, Trump, and Atlantic City

Atlantic City wasn’t where you’d expect to find the Rolling Stones in 1989. It was, for the most part, a mecca for East Coast pensioners who couldn’t endure the trip to Vegas. Church groups would show up by the busload, throw nickels in the slots, feast on a free buffet, and reboard the bus before nightfall. Frankie Valli was as rock ‘n’ roll as it got. Donald Trump lured the Stones to this den of decadence with a huge offer. It called for three concerts, December 17, 19, and 20, at the Atlantic City Convention Center, next to Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. It’d be the Stones’ last stop of the tour.

…Trump bought these shows outright for $6 million – a ton of money back then – so he was the boss. He, not the Stones, determined the ticket prices. He also got to sell/distribute the tickets however he wanted. For the December 17 show, he comped the best seats to his high rollers. Blue-haired old ladies and guys who reeked of Vitalis. They couldn’t name a single Stones song, but when they saw the value of their tickets – $500 a pair – they couldn’t resist the perk. The Stones weren’t happy, but it was their own fault for making Trump their boss for the week. At a preconcert press conference, they avoided all photo ops with him and threatened to leave if he came near them.

German, Bill. Under Their Thumb