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Stones rolling tour with VH1, MTV boost

The eagerly awaited and much- rumored world tour by the Rolling Stones became a reality Monday with the band detailing plans for a massive roadshow that will land at stadiums and arenas. Mick Jagger said the band will also play a handful of surprise gigs at smaller venues to spur interest in the outing.

The 1997-98 tour will be backed by an extensive Stateside partnership with VH1 and MTV, with the cablers providing the first glimpses into the band’s upcoming Virgin Records disc “Bridges To Babylon.” MTV will also begin airing the disc’s first single, “Has Anybody Seen My Baby,” later this month.

VH1, which will present the tour in association with telco Sprint, will broadcast the first two songs from the Rolling Stones’ first show, which is set for Sept. 23 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood revealed the tour’s highlights during a riverfront press conference Monday in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and broadcast live on VH1.

The cabler has also tapped the band to headline its upcoming “1997 Fashion Awards” and will turn the channel into all-Stones, all-the-time with seven consecutive days of Rolling Stones concerts, movies and events that will culminate with the tour’s opening night.

“They’re the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and in honor of them we’re renaming the channel ‘Stones TV: Stoned Again’ for that week,” said John Sykes, prexy of VH1.

The tour had been expected, (Daily Variety, Feb. 4) and is likely to face little challenge from other high-profile roadshows, such as Fleetwood Mac, which is doing only a limited run to support its “The Dance” disc.

MTV has inked the Stones to be the first artists to perform live on the cabler’s newest offering, “Live From the 10 Spot,” which will debut Oct. 14.

The band will also appear live via satellite from their rehearsal hall in Toronto on the “1997 MTV Video Music Awards” on Sept. 4.

The tour, which will be promoted by the Next Adventure, the Michael Cohl-fronted outfit which is presenting the U2 “PopMart” roadshow, will run through early 1998 with stops set for New York on Oct. 16 and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium on Nov. 9. It is expected to charge a $65 average ticket price.

The Rolling Stones’ “Voodoo Lounge” tour in 1994 was the year’s top grosser, logging more than $124 million.

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