RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Rolling Stones were met with frenzied fans as they arrived from London. They headed west to perform their first ever U.S. concert, not in Los Angeles, but in San Bernardino. One photographer in the Inland Empire remembers the show all too well, more than five decades later.
Over the years Fred Bauman has taken a lot of pictures, but perhaps none as iconic as the black and white photo of a very young group of musicians getting off a bus. It was 1964 and a little-known British band called The Rolling Stones was about to play in San Bernardino at The Swing Auditorium.
"They stepped off that bus and Keith Richards said something like ‘Wow, what a gas man,’" said Bauman.
At the time, Bauman was perhaps more famous than The Stones. He was an award-winning photojournalist at one of southern California’s largest newspapers, The Press Enterprise.
He photographed the Stones at Swing Auditorium, an indoor arena on the grounds of the National Orange Show. Swing hosted many artists including Elvis, Ike & Tina Turner, The Doors, and the Grateful Dead.
In 1964 it was The Stones who performed 11 songs in 20 minutes, including an audience favorite “Get Your Kicks on (Route 66),” which has lyrics that mention San Bernardino by name. The crowd of 3,500 fans, mostly teenage girls, went crazy.
One girl even stole Jagger’s tambourine. Then they did what Bauman and fans called a London Exit. They threw down their instruments and ran off stage into the night. They were paid about $6,000 for the performance.
Reminiscing about that night with his son David, Bauman recalls The Byrds were the opening act for a show that almost didn’t even happen.
"The story as I remember it was the concert promoter actually tried to book The Beatles but they weren't available so he hired The Rolling Stones instead and the rest is history," said David.
Bauman’s pictures are featured in a coffee table book celebrating The Stones in America. In those exciting moments a photo was taken side stage with the Stones to the left and the screaming fans on the right. Including Riverside teen Jan Sears, in an incredible twist she grew up become a journalist and married Bauman’s son David, an award-winning photojournalist just like his father.
Amidst the crowd of fans there was also Billy Barnes. Just a month shy of his 5th birthday his mom and dad scored free Stones tickets, but couldn’t find a babysitter. So, they took their son along.
"I remember long lines, a lot of people and I probably had the best seat in the house because I sat on my dad's shoulders the entire concert while they stood and danced," said Barnes.
Barnes remained a Stones fan and saw them in the 1980s in Los Angeles when he says fans actually booed the opening act off the stage; the performer was Prince.
Through his 27-year career Detective Barnes sometimes worked with the Bauman’s, yet another twist to the story of Fred’s photo.
It is pure satisfaction that after all these years, one simple picture still resonates in so many ways with fans everywhere.