Get me started: Rolling Stones superfan jumps when US travel ban ends

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Elisabeth Zours saw her first Rolling Stones show in East Berlin in 1990, right after the fall of the Wall, and nothing was the same again.

Since then, barely a year has passed without the director of the German office catching the rockers still scattered on stage somewhere in the world, that is, until the pandemic and the ban on traveling to the United States.

Now that the U.S. is reopening its borders on Monday to fully vaccinated foreign visitors after a block of more than 18 months of travel from much of the world, 51-year-old Zours will be among the first on the line.

Like many other things, her lifelong Stones marathon stopped with the outbreak of the virus.

“The tickets I still had from the (canceled) 2020 U.S. tour were still good, but the travel ban was in effect and I didn’t know if I could use them,” she said.

“And then (drummer) Charlie Watts died (in August). It was all an emotional roller coaster.”

‘This could be’

Zours, who has seen the band in action dozens of times, “in the double digits,” said superfans like her worried that the tour would never resume given the advanced age of the Stones.

She had a ticket for the St. Louis, the first since Watts’ death, on Sept. 26 and held out hope that Joe Biden would loosen the rules in time.

“I even thought about traveling to a third country to try to get into the United States, then I decided it was too risky,” she said.

“I ended up watching him (the Watts tribute) in the middle of the night in bed in a live show.”

Zours was “frustrated” because even months after the EU opened to American travelers, the door to America was still closed to Europeans.

“It made no sense, especially for those of us who are vaccinated” and although infection rates in the United States were generally much higher than in most EU member states.

So when the White House finally announced the good news on October 15, Zours knew she would be on the first plane.

“I now have tickets for four gigs, starting in Atlanta then Detroit, Austin and Hollywood, Florida,” said Zours, who plans a three-week odyssey to catch up with the band.

For the past few years, being a big fan of the Stones has been a bit like living with borrowed time, Zours admitted: you never know when your luck will end.

“You’re always aware it could be the last tour,” she said.

“But now that Charlie Watts is dead, it really could be that.”

Rolling Stones Yellow Logo pre-show 14 August 2019 Seattle. Credit:

‘Broken hearts, sad goodbye’

Zours’ love for the Stones dates back to her early adolescence.

“I fell in love with a classmate and the Stones were a way to get to know him better,” she said.

“It was the ’80s and I would force him to record the albums on cassettes for me. Nothing happened with the guy, but the Stones are still with me.”

She is aware of the fact that every journey to satisfy the passion of his life comes at a price.

“The climate summit (in Glasgow) is happening right now and it’s an issue that’s very important to me,” Zours said, noting that she tried to make up for transatlantic travel with things like eating less meat.

Below are some of the songs from the Stones themselves, whose sexist drag hasn’t kept up well over time.

“‘Brown Sugar,’ ‘Under My Thumb’ – true, some of the lyrics are problematic. But I never saw the band as misogynistic or feeling despised by them – they give me power.”

Just as many families await the end of the ban on traveling to the United States for emotional reunions, Zours said seeing the Stones again in their element will feel like coming home.

“Her music is like a good friend: she’s helped me overcome crises since I was 12: broken hearts, sad goodbyes, moments when I was depressed,” she said.

“Every time I listen to his music I feel good again.”

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