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Stones to play surprise Paris gig

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Stones to play surprise Paris gig
The Rolling Stones in 2009. Photo: Mario Escherle
15:13 CEST+02:00
Rock legends the Rolling Stones were due to play a surprise mini-gig in Paris on Thursday and all 350 tickets priced at €15 ($20) each were snapped up in minutes.

"The Rolling Stones are playing a short warm-up gig tonight ... in Paris," the group said on Twitter, adding that the tickets would be available from 12 pm (1000 GMT) at the Virgin megastore on the emblematic Champs Elysees avenue.

"Names will be printed on the tickets. On presentation of photo ID at the venue, ticket holders will receive a wristband. Doors open at 8 pm," the message said.

"Mobile phones, cameras, video equipment and recording devices are strictly prohibited."

The band has announced four major concerts in Britain and the United States to mark their 50th anniversary. The Stones' last concerts were in 2007.

Guitarist Ronnie Wood had earlier hinted at a surprise, telling Britain's MME magazine that there were "going to be little club gigs that we're gonna surprise ourselves to do as well...I don't know who we'll be billed as but we'll turn up somewhere and put a few to the test. Tiny, 200, 300 people kind of places."

Rumours meanwhile spread like wildfire in Paris, forcing Virgin to open the ticket sales two hours earlier as a huge snaking line formed outside its doors overnight.

"I heard it on the radio, I have been here since 7:30" in the morning, said a man, giving his name only as Eric, as "I am not supposed to be here.

"It could turn out to be a 40-minute concert but I did not hesitate for a second," he said.

Juan, who is in his sixties, said he had seen 15 Stones concerts since 1975.

"But it's absolutely unusual to see them in these conditions," he said.   

The concert will be held at Trabendo, a small theatre with 700 seats located in the Parc de la Villette, a working-class area in eastern Paris.

The theatre's co-manager Alexis Bernier told AFP: "About 10 days ago we got a surprise visit from people saying they were from the Stones' entourage.

"We learnt that they visited all the theatres in Paris that have between 300 and 800 seats. They contacted us a few days later to say ours was up to their standards."

Bernier said everything would be "controlled by the Stones' entourage.

"I will be in my office, I can't get into the auditorium," he said.

A security cordon was set up around the theatre on Thursday morning.

The group are also due to play at a private gig in Paris on Monday at the Mogador theatre for the Carmignac investment fund.

There has been outrage in Britain over the steep price of the tickets for the concerts at London's 02 Arena on November 25 and 29 which are up for £406 ($650, 500 euros) a seat on the official ticket website.

Frontman Mick Jagger, 69, has said the four concerts will be followed by a longer string of dates, yet to be announced.

US music magazine Billboard reported in August that Jagger and bandmates Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood will earn a total of $25 million for the four shows.

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