Rolling Stones Fan Gets Surprise of His Life

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Alex Emanuel to his new mates Mick, Ron, Keith and Charlie at Exhibitionism at London's Saatchi Gallery

Alex Emanuel to his new mates Mick, Ron, Keith and Charlie “Let’s jam!” at Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones at London’s Saatchi Gallery (Photo:

It’s a classic rock fan’s dream come true and here it is, happening to this lucky guy.

Lifelong Rolling Stones fan Alex Emanuel got the surprise of a lifetime when he visited Exhibitionism, a career-spanning exhibit of the band, held at London’s Saatchi Gallery in 2016. The visit was part of a content he won from the city’s official tourism body,

Seemingly out of nowhere, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood all snuck up on Alex while he was enjoying the recording gallery within the exhibition. The meet-and-greet wasn’t an announced part of his prize.

“Meeting the Stones was… first of all, the ultimate surprise, as I had no idea when it happened,” Emanuel told Best Classic Bands. “Spinning around inside the gallery at Exhibitionism and seeing these legends, my favorite band, was incredible. I shook each of their hands, I think I mumbled to Keith like ‘you’re the coolest man’.”

Watch how shocked the super fan was when he turned around and stood face to face with his classic rock heroes

Emanuel took the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by the horns and offered his services, telling us: “The first thing that popped in my head after handshakes was to say that ‘I’m a bassist – let’s jam?’ Keith, in his signature rasping voice was like ‘well alright, let’s jam!’

“Then Mick, to my right, asks me how I’m doing. I answered and turned it back on him, saying ‘how was playing in Cuba?’, as they just got back. His answer was something to the tune of ‘incredible, once in a lifetime’ and I said ‘sort of like this for me’.

“When it was all wrapping up, I b-lined across the room over to Keith again, put my hand on his shoulder and said goodbye. I wasn’t gonna let him get away without looking him eye to eye and saying that. Seriously, what was it like meeting them? I felt like I was a member of The Rolling Stones, that’s what it felt like. I played in like 30 bands since the age of 12, couldn’t keep one together for over two years, and here I was arm in arm with THE band. If they asked me to go on tour with them as their bassist, I’m ready.”

Exhibitionism - The Rolling Stones, at London's Saatchi Gallery (PRNewsFoto/

Getting comfy at Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones, at London’s Saatchi Gallery (Photo:

Exhibitionism is a vast archive of memorabilia that takes you through the Stones’ 60-year music career. With over nine themed and curated gallery spaces, fans get the chance to see more than 500 items. Everything from original stage costumes, rare instruments and lyric books, backstage and touring paraphernalia, album art and photography to personal diaries with never-before-released audio and behind-the-scenes footage is on display. The Stones’ many collaborations in music, fashion, film and art also are celebrated by a number of original works by such diverse artists as Andy Warhol, Alexander McQueen, Dior, Ossie Clark, Michael Cooper, Jeff Koons and Martin Scorsese.

Exhibitionism wasn’t Emanuel’s only stop on the VIP trip. The New Yorker also visited several iconic Rolling Stones locations during his trip including Edith Grove, Chelsea where the band lived together, Regents Sounds where they cut their first few albums, the 100 Club where they played an impromptu gig in 1982 and Olympic Studios where “Sympathy for the Devil” was recorded.

Charlie Watts’ drum kit, on display at Exhibitionism’s 2017 installation in New York

We figured we’d ask him what his initial Stones purchase was. “The first Stones album I bought myself was Some Girls, the day it came out. I was a kid in NYC, ran to the record store Sounds, I think the place was called, and got one of the last copies they had. Still have it, it’s the original die-cut cover with the celebs before it was changed. Prior to that I’d sort of appropriated my mom’s original Sticky Fingers and Between the Buttons albums.”

After previous installments in NYC, Chicago, Las Vegas, Japan, and elsewhere, Exhibitionism begins a new installation at the Groninger Museum in The Netherlands on June 30, 2023. It’s scheduled to remain there until Jan. 21, 2024.

When the Stones announce a new concert tour, tickets will be available here.

Best Classic Bands Staff
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  1. Shar
    #1 Shar 31 May, 2023, 11:40

    Loved the article on Emanuel and his visit to London and meeting the Stones. Lucky man!

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