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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Stones prepare for India concert
By Habib Beary
BBC correspondent in Bangalore

One of the biggest rock bands in the world is preparing to play its first concert in India.

Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger says he is keen to bring his music to India
The Rolling Stones begin their tour of India in the southern city of Bangalore on Friday.

Band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood will stage a two hour concert from a specially built stage in the backdrop of Bangalore Palace.

Fans are expected to arrive from across south Asia and as far away as Japan.

Bangalore Palace is modelled on the lines of Windsor Castle in England and has space to allow the construction of a 7,500 square feet (697 square metres) stage to be built.

"We are happy to be here in India, though some would say we are 39 years late," said tour director Michael Cohl.

Venkat Vardhan of Bangalore-based DNA Networks, the event managers of the show, says devoted fans have come from different parts of the country and abroad.

First time

Devotees of the Rolling Stones are expected to arrive from as far away as Japan and Sri Lanka.

They should come with a warning label, like for cigarettes
Dilip Doshi
Friend of Mick Jagger
"Everybody is excited to see the group play for the first time in India," said Mr Vardhan.

Bangalore is a highly technologically advanced city and has a reputation as the IT hub of India.

In the past, DNA Networks has brought a number of internationally renowned bands and solo acts to Bangalore, such as Deep Purple, Brian Adams, the Scorpions and Elton John.

"It is certainly a happening city," said Prasad Bidappa, a fashion guru who is associated with the entertainment industry.

Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones label is also being used to attract Indian investment to Britain.

Britain's national inward investment agency, Invest UK, will entertain representatives from business and industry in specially erected lounges at the venue.

Invest UK is an event partner for the concert tour of India.

All ages

Organisers say the magic of the Rolling Stones is all embracing.

"You will find both young and old rocking tomorrow," said one die-hard rock fan outside the Leela Palace Hotel, where the band is staying.

Rolling Stones (left to right) Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood
The Rolling Stones have played many international venues
Two floors of the luxury hotel have been taken up by the 140-member troupe.

"There's a danger about these boys. They should come with a warning label like for cigarettes. They are addictive and get better every day," adds former Indian test cricketer Dilip Doshi, a personal friend of Mick Jagger.

Mr Doshi said: "This has been my dream - to bring them to India."

Mick Jagger is getting into the spirit of the event and spoke in accented Hindi at the pre-concert briefing.

"We are bringing our music for the first time to India. We are very happy about it," he said.

The ace guitarist Keith Richards added that he felt at home in India and that it was his kind of country.

Organisers say arrangements are in place to entertain the audience with two plane loads of high-tech equipment.

Security

For the first time, Indians will witness digital plasma screens that display a variety of video outputs including special effects.

Police have strengthened security at the venue.

The band also plan to play in Bombay but their Hong Kong and China concerts were cancelled because of the deadly Sars virus.

Band members have also sent out a strong signal that will be popular with the anti-war campaigners

"Make Love, Not War," is their message.


SEE ALSO:
Bug halts Stones' China shows
28 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
China 'orders Stones songs ban'
12 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Rolling with the Stones
12 Oct 02  |  Entertainment
Travel warning over deadly bug
02 Apr 03  |  Health


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