5 Unexpected Observations from Visiting Exhibitionism

By Patrick Ridgell
Copywriter, Jackson National Life Distributors LLC

The guy working the front door at Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones at The Palazzo in Las Vegas told me as I entered the exhibit to take as many pictures as I wanted. So right there, I knew this was going to be a tremendous experience. Because during those three days I spent in Vegas, no other establishment I visited told me to take as many pictures as I wanted… if you know what I mean.

You can spend hours exploring Exhibitionism and leave without seeing everything–there's just too much to take in. So, I took my time, and here's a bit of what I was thinking as I savored every step.

1. That looks totally familiar.
Charlie Watts' drum kit, sitting just inside the entrance, immediately made an impression. It's a tasty, four–piece 1965 Ludwig Sky Blue Pearl that looked as if someone had played it the day before. I ran toward it like a kid chasing an ice cream truck. It had weathered heads and a wobbly–looking throne. Dented sticks lay across the snare just begging to be used. As a drummer in my youth, my first set was a five–piece Ludwig, champagne sparkle, that was also very cool but nowhere near this cool because I never played in The Rolling Stones. But, yeah, it brought back memories.

I went back and asked the guy working the front door if I could, you know, give it a try. His response: “Umm… no.”

2. It seems like they got everything right, except for the odor.
The Exhibit has a recreation of the band's Edith Grove flat, into which Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and James Phelge moved in 1962. What a dump. There were mounds of cigarette butts in makeshift ashtrays. Murky bottles. Dirty dishes. Tattered carpet. Wadded–up linens on unmade beds. A strange brown substance stained one wall. Keith described their West London apartment as “a pigsty, basically,” which, by the way, is pretty much the exact same thing my mom said after she visited my house during senior year of college.

Obviously, that nasty, old flat in Edith Grove had to be the perfect place to write great music.

3. A huge rock star can dress like that. You cannot.
A large section of Exhibitionism features the band's eclectic wardrobe. There was even a video showing Mick and the boys wearing many of the same colorful costumes on stage that mannequins inside glass walls don for the exhibit.

I'm reminded of the conversation I had the night before with my 10–year–old, Taylor Swift lovin' daughter. I told her how pumped I was to check out Exhibitionism and learn more about The Rolling Stones.

“Who's Mick Jagger?” Ella asked.

“He's one of the greatest rock stars in the world,” I replied.

“Well, I've never heard of him, so he can't be that famous.”


Anyway, when you're a rock icon like Keith or Mick, every day is Mardi Gras and an excuse to make any fashion statement you want. When you're a guy like me, you just try to cover up as much of yourself as you can and hope for the best.

4. This is where you get to mix it up.
Down the hall from the Edith Grove exhibit was mixing equipment with a few Rolling Stones tunes preloaded. You can use it to set the levels for the vocals, bass, guitar–any instrument that a song uses. I chose “Start Me Up” and turned the drums up to 11 and everything else down to 2.

Just as all good music should be mixed.

5. None of this happens by accident.
The stages. The film. The videos. The articles. The fashion. The voices. The scribbled lyrics in notebooks. The letters certain groups sent the band to protest those lyrics. The artwork. The logos. The influence. The guitars in glass cases. The sticker on one empty glass case proclaiming its guitar is “on tour,” reminding you that this band is still making great music and even more memories. And it's not over.

There are more than 500 artifacts at Exhibitionism. To have the presence to retain them over so many years and understand what they'll mean decades later is truly something to behold. Becoming legendary doesn't occur by chance. No detail is too small to heed, no decision made without keen vision.

For any fan of The Rolling Stones, to miss Exhibitionism is to deprive yourself of an unforgettable experience you’ll cherish for life.

There's still time to catch Exhibitionism in Las Vegas. Get your tickets today!

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete.

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