Getting through: Stones confront traffic, lingerie
For hundreds and perhaps thousands of concert-goers, the bomb scare wasn't the biggest beast of burden. It was the traffic, and if it hadn't been for quick thinking by some local officers, even the world's most famous band might have missed its own concert.
The idea was that, late in the afternoon, three limousines carrying Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood would leave Richmond where they'd been staying for the duration of the D.C./Charlottesville/Durham leg of the tour. Concert planning decreed that a four-man motorcycle escort would meet the limos on Interstate 64 to usher them into the city.
The I-64 meeting– with one UVA and three Albemarle officers– happened in Fluvanna County without incident, but the motorcade into Charlottesville soon slowed.
"We ran into both lanes of traffic totally blocked just east of Pantops," says Albemarle motorcycle officer Bob McCormick. "It was gridlock."
Unlike Cavalier football games, which typically also draw 60,000 people each week, the Stones concert, McCormick theorizes, drew strangers to Charlottesville. And perhaps too many strangers had been told to park at UVA's Fontaine research park.
Compounding the problem, McCormick says, were oversized illuminated signs reading "concert traffic, next right," all heading to Fontaine. So I-64 was reportedly backed up from the Fontaine exit several miles east to the Pantops exit.
"People were out of their cars," says McCormick. "They were leaning against guardrails and relieving themselves in the woods."
So the motorcade pulled over into the breakdown lane with lights running and sirens blaring. Savvy concert-goers must have figured out who was passing. But on the eastern outskirts of Charlottesville, the motorcade suddenly found itself confronted. With lingerie.
"At first, we weren't sure what was being thrown," says McCormick, "but then a thong stuck to a motorcycle windshield."
The motorcade rolled west through Charlottesville all the way to the Ivy Road exit. Normally packed on football game days, Ivy Road was clear of traffic– so clear that about 20 minutes before the concert, officers there were reassigned to cordon off Fontaine and direct drivers west to Ivy Road, McCormick says.
"They would not have made it to the concert if those officers had not made that move," says McCormick.
McCormick delivered his three travelers to Scott Stadium around the time opening act Trey Anastasio was taking the stage.
As for the exuberant Mick Jagger, he arrived by private aircraft to the Charlottesville airport. But around 5:20pm, at the intersection of the general aviation road and Dickerson Road, his Lincoln Town Car bumped into an Albemarle fire engine as the chauffeur tried to pass a fire engine on the right, according to assistant fire chief Bob Brown. Jagger and his two- or three-person entourage climbed into a UVA police vehicle, which was supposed to escort the Town Car, for the ride to Scott Stadium.
"It wasn't anything that was structurally significant," says Brown, "and fortunately nobody got hurt."
After a lunch for officers at University Hall, Albemarle police officer Bob McCormick waits for his signal to motor out to I-64 to escort Richards, Watts, and Wood.
By 3:42pm, southbound traffic on Emmet had ground to a halt, rendering this Burma Shave-style entrepreneurial parking offer (there were two other signs spaced about 100 yards apart) nearly moot.
This City crew place about 300 cones on Emmet Street by 4pm. At 1:15am, they were picking them all back up.