There’s so much to see at Exhibitionism- The Rolling Stones that anyone who’s even remotely interested in the band with the most famous tongue and lips logo of all time is likely to need at least a couple trips through more than 17,000 square feet of memorabilia sprawled throughout Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. While the touring attraction that has thus far only touched down in London and New York boasts over 500 treasures, photos, videos and archival materials, it also paints outside the regularly expected lines with countless breathtaking visuals and virtual reality-like experiences.
Album and concert-related artwork are also in ample supply at Exhibitionism, from the early sketches, prototypes and inspirations behind the group’s iconic imagery to scale models of the gargantuan stage sets that have yet to be surpassed no matter how hard other acts have tried.
Want to hear what it might sound like like in the recording booth mixing “Miss You?” Go ahead and give it a try somewhere in between seeing a replica studio and a giant guitar room destined to make gear heads go nuts. What about wondering what it really looks like backstage when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts come to the Windy City they’ve loved since their bluesy beginnings? Just walk right in with an all access view of their dressing rooms, racks of instruments and those little quirky touches only rock stars of their status could demand.
Along the way there’s also an extensive costume gallery that found the fellas blurring gender lines decades before it was socially acceptable, while also setting the fashion-focused barometer for countless other artists such as David Bowie (who’s thus far the only other artist of similar caliber to mount an exhibit-styled spectacle). Another infamous highlight is a meticulously duplicated version of an apartment shared by the guys in their early days, which is so unfathomably filthy it’s not for the faint of heart.
Album and concert-related artwork are also in ample supply at Exhibitionism, from the early sketches, prototypes and inspirations behind the group’s iconic imagery, to scale models of the gargantuan stage sets that have yet to be surpassed no matter how hard other acts have tried. Fans of any interest level can also go down memory lane with a montage of music videos, finding the players rocking out or hamming it up for the cameras as they maintained enormous popularity throughout the MTV era.
As if all of the above wasn’t satisfying enough, make sure to stick around in the last screening room long enough to catch an encore in 3-D, which more than speaks for itself as it reinforces The Rolling Stones’ seminal status. And good luck getting out of the gift shop without breaking the bank (or having a more responsible significant other say “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”), though anyone needing an excuse to snatch up the Chicago exclusives or any of the corresponding keepsakes can at least try to plea “It’s Only Rock ‘N Rock (But I Like It).”
Exhibitionism- The Rolling Stones opens Apr. 15 and continues through Jul. 30. For additional details, visit StonesExhibitionism.com.
Those seeking an extra Rolling Stones fix on opening night can head over to the Hard Rock Café at 9pm for a tribute performance by the Hot Rocks Band, chances to win tickets, plus a special “Sticky Fingers” cocktail. And no matter what the date, visitors who show their Exhibitionism ticket stub score a complimentary ice cream cookie sandwich (perhaps inspired by “Brown Sugar”?) For additional details, visit HardRock.com/Chicago.