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'Once in a lifetime' concert

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services

Vancouver (Dec 04/06) - Tuktoyaktuk and the Rolling Stones - not a set of words that often meet.

Thanks to two $500 concert tickets, however, Tuktoyaktuk business owner and deputy mayor Merven Gruben did his best to bring the Beaufort delta and Mick Jagger together... at long last.

Last week, Gruben made the trip down to Vancouver's B.C. Place, where he joined 53,000 people at the sold-out show, part of the English rock band's high-grossing, high-volume world tour.

"It was once in a lifetime," Gruben said. "I think that was one of the best concerts I've seen."

Gruben's pricey tickets saw him set up in a box seat with a great view of the stage - albeit from behind. This afforded him a unique view of the monstrous audience, as well as the chance to get a photo here and there.

"I couldn't get any really good shots," he said. "They were really strict on cameras, so I was sneaking it in and taking the best I could."

Being that close to the band was a dream come true for Gruben. He'd seen the Stones before, during the SARS benefit concert in Toronto in 2003. However, having half a million people between you and the band isn't quite the same.

And after all, as Gruben put it, "it's the Stones." So another trip was clearly in order.

So how long has Gruben been listening to the Rolling Stones?

"Gosh, all my life, and I'm 44 now," he said. "I pretty much grew up with them. They started the year I was born, 1962."

While Gruben may be the same age as the band, he certainly isn't the age of the band members, who fit in the same demographic as his parents.

"It was like seeing my dad running up and down the stage at the concert," he said with a laugh.

"I could not believe how freaking active these guys were. Especially Mick (Jagger). He was leaving the security guys behind."

The trip home from Vancouver was a little harried, he said, as he was on the West Coast just in time for a record-breaking snow storm, the kind that made the return for Inuvik and Tuk more bearable.

Next up for the deputy mayor is trip to Toronto Jan. 23 to see Bob Seger, another old favourite. It's quite the trip, from Tuk to Toronto, but that doesn't seem to faze him.

"I like to go to the concerts," he said simply.