BGP delivered assurances that the two missed dates in San Jose will be rescheduled and that the band's next concert, set for Tuesday in Denver, would go on.
``We're working with the band and the San Jose Arena to find two corresponding dates that we can all agree on,'' said Corey Humpage, marketing director for BGP, adding that any rescheduled dates probably would not be back-to-back. ``People should hold on to their tickets and when we release the dates, we'll let them know what their options are.''
Though some speculated that Jagger, 55, may be getting too old for strenuous touring -- during last year's ``Bridges to Babylon'' tour, dates were canceled when Jagger got laryngitis -- others pointed out that a nasty strain of the flu has been going around.
``It's pretty debilitating,'' said Dr. Mike Hill, an emergency room physician who works in San Francisco.
Ruth Anne Gray, an executive assistant from Sunnyvale, sympathized with Jagger -- even though she lost out on a chance to see the first Stones concert in San Jose since 1965.
``I've had that flu, so I know how bad Mick feels,'' said Gray, who showed up at the arena about 30 minutes before the scheduled 8 p.m. concert, only to be shooed away by ushers.
She was one of about 50 people who arrived after 7 p.m. Saturday, lamenting that they were misled by earlier media reports indicating that the show would go on.
Unlike Gray, most of the fans disappointed at the 11th hour were from out of town.
San Jose police officer Louis Borges, stationed on Santa Clara Street, said numerous fans drove up and saw the arena's flashing marquee announcing that `tonight's' show was canceled.
``They were hoping that the sign was from last night,'' Borges said. ``We had people from Texas, Oregon, Japan. The guy from Texas said he wished he had known; otherwise he would have stayed in Las Vegas.''
Ushers felt so sorry for one Japanese fan, who had flown in with a group just for the show, that they granted his request for a tour of the arena. They even showed him his seat in Section 127, Row 14.
``He was very sad, but at least he got to see his seat,'' one usher said.
Earlier in the day, disappointed fans gathered at the Tied House downtown to commiserate.
``I'm kind of numb,'' said Teresa Soito, 35, of Oakland. ``I didn't have to fly in from anywhere, but I've got friends who have come from all over the place.''
Rich Block, a 51-year-old fan from Fresno, was about to hop in his car with his wife and head to San Jose when he decided to call around and see if the show really was going on. After the San Jose Police Department was unable to provide the information, Block got final confirmation from the Mercury News.
``I'm so glad you answered the phone, but we're disappointed,'' Block said. ``There's life and then there's the Stones. I don't want to sound too crazy about it, but going to a Rolling Stones concert is a pretty high priority in our life.''
Rolling Stones devotees, who otherwise would have spent the afternoon psyching up for the big show, instead traded rumor and innuendo on the Internet like an out of control game of Telephone.
Tales of botched skin peels and contraction of the Ebola virus were bandied about.
Both theories were summarily dismissed by sources close to the band as well as physicians. So too were any worries that what is happening to Jagger is anything like the slump Frank Sinatra suffered after an infamous performance at the Copacabana in April of 1950 when the crooner opened his mouth and no sound came out.
``I just think it's unfortunate,'' said Jim Crowley, a photographer who was supposed to shoot Saturday's concert for Stones People magazine. ``They've been on the road for two years, since September of '97, they come into San Francisco and the flu's going around. He's not Superman.''
If it is indeed a case of the flu, Jagger isn't alone as far as fellow performing artists go. Van Morrison, who had six concerts in San Francisco last week, was said to be suffering from the illness as well and was spotted around town clutching a fistful of Kleenex.
``If someone has the flu on Thursday, they're probably going to have it on Saturday. It's physiology,'' Block said. ``But best wishes to Mick and the gang. I hope for a speedy recovery.''
Appeared in the San Jose Mercury, Sunday January 31st, 1999