LONDON, England —
The atmosphere was electric and the crowd was eclectic as an international hodgepodge of fans, young and old, proved the far reaching grasp The Rolling Stones’ music has, its influence spanning generations globally.
Happening around me was the world premiere of the Stones’ new documentary, “Crossfire Hurricane”, taking place at the Odeon Mezzanine Theatre in Leicester Square, London, Oct. 18. I was more than fortunate to grab a front row spot at the red carpet, where I shouldn’t have been that day.
My last full day in London began at Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard, followed by a brief trip to King’s Cross Station. For you Harry Potter fans out there, this is where to find platform 9 3⁄4 for passage to Hogwarts’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Consigning myself to visit Westminster Abbey, the site of dozens of royal funerals and weddings, lastly being the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, I boarded a train toward Leicester Square at noon.
The British Film Institute had been having a large film festival for the past two weeks in the square, with an average four premieres a day. Monday, Dustin Hoffman was in attendance for “Quartet.” Tuesday, I saw Ben Affleck promote his new film, “Argo.” Wednesday, it was Helen Hunt. Once again, the familiar metal fencing had been dragged out and I wondered who was set to appear that night as I passed through.
I approached a man sitting inside the barricades and asked which premiere would take place. The man, incidentally named James Dean, replied that it was the Rolling Stones’ world premiere and all four members were to arrive between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
Dean introduced me to John Elvis Newton, a local professional photographer and explained Newton could get me past security. Surely enough, within five minutes, a Secret Service-looking man in a black suit with an earpiece arrived and said I needed to leave.