If there’s one band that can arguably be said to encapsulate the mythos of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s the Rolling Stones. “I’d rather be dead than sing Satisfaction when I’m 45,” Mick Jagger was rumored to have said in the ‘70s, and yet, 55 years since the band’s early beginnings in London, the Rolling Stones continue to defy all expectations. They are living legends—a rarity these days, when all of the rock ‘n’ roll greats all seem to be dropping like flies. Perhaps that’s what makes Exhibitionism so special—this isn't a posthumous homage, but a living experience curated by the band members themselves.
The traveling Rolling Stones exhibit, a time capsule that takes fans on a journey through the Rolling Stones’ incredible career—from a recreation of the band’s first flat in London to the grandiose tour and stage designs that show the band’s extreme business savvy and attention to detail—opened on September 23 at the Palazzo. Even as geriatrics in their 70s, the Rolling Stones continue to defy the rules of rock ‘n’ roll, and Exhibitionism explains why.
With more than 500 original artifacts from the band’s career, Exhibitionism explores the Rolling Stones’ not-so-glorious rise to fame, including a replica of their dilapidated, dirty flat in London, early diary entries, applications for composer rights, lyric sheets, Brian Jones’ Appalachian dulcimer and more. Then, of course, there’s the guitars—a room full of vintage beauties like the 1960 Maton EG240 Natural that Keith Richards used during the Let it Bleed sessions at Olympic Studios, or his hand-painted custom 1957 Gibson Les Paul, featured in the Jean-Luc Godard film, Sympathy for the Devil.
The most fabulous part of the exhibit, however, might be the room full of the band’s clothes. If you’re a superfan, you’ll recognize the skin-tight and caped ensemble Mick Jagger wore at Altamont, the white frock he donned for the legendary 1969 performance at Hyde Park, or the British and U.S. flag cape Jagger wore throughout the Stones’ ’81-’82 tour. An up-close look at the original costumes is worth the ticket price alone.
There’s plenty more to explore inside Exhibition, from mockups of art work that would become the Some Girls and Tattoo You album covers, to the intricate stage design plans of the Stones’ Steel Wheels and Bridges to Babylon tours.
And while Exhibitionism isn’t a huge exhibit, there’s a story waiting to be told in every room and artifact. It’s a testament to the impact and longevity of one of the world’s most iconic rock bands, and an experience no Stones fan should miss.
The Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism Through January 31, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, $37. Palazzo, stonesexhibitionism.com.