The Rolling Stones are one of the biggest rock bands in history but for the first time, fans will get a behind-the-scenes look at the highs and lows of their phenomenal career. Titled Exhibitionism, the Saatchi Gallery boasts more than 500 artefacts and rarely seen treasures collected over the course of the band's 50-year career. IBTimes UK attended a special preview of the showcase to find out if Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones will give guests some Satisfaction. Pun fully intended.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts clearly paid a huge amount of attention to detail with Exhibitionism. After being greeted by a fluorescent cherry-red entrance, the gallery opens with a dark room brought to life by more than 50 curved screens playing footage of The Rolling Stones in their early days and throughout their career, depicting milestone moments from being inducted at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to headlining Glastonbury.
Clearly not ashamed of their humble beginnings, the band provide a harsh glimpse into their early days when Jagger, Richards and Watts shared one room at a tiny flat in Chelsea. Describing the horrific living conditions of 102 Edith Grove isn't enough and a to-scale recreation of the home has been created to give visitors a true sense of where they started in 1962.
Richards, 72, sums it up when he says their flat was a "disgusting pig-sty", mostly due to the bathroom and kitchen having to be shared with three other floors. And he wasn't lying because the faux smell really places you in their squalor, while the mould, overflowing dishes and rotting food will make you want to wretch. Fortunately, once the band's career began to take off in 1963, Edith Grove was left in their wake. Richards compares the mania of their heyday to "hanging onto a tornado" and so their global success began.
Exhibitionism does not skimp on offering a true behind-the-scenes look at the British institution that is The Rolling Stones. Among the artefacts on display at the gallery are multiple guitars both bought and gifted to the rockers, including one given to Wood by Hollywood actor Johnny Depp. Visitors can also cast their eyes on the first recording contract signed by the late Stones founder and lead guitarist Brian Jones in 1963, and Richards' diaries, one of which details one of the band's "best rehearsals ever".
There isn't an aspect of The Rolling Stones as a band that is left untouched at the gallery. Everything is documented, including the out-of-the-box direction of their music videos, the design of their outrageous and often NSFW album covers and even their concert movies with legendary director Martin Scorsese providing insight on the documentary he has directed for the band.
Die-hard fans will also be fascinated to learn the truth about the origins of iconic Rolling Stones logo – the sticky-out tongue and red lips – which was inspired by a picture Jagger found in a shop of Kali, the Hindu goddess, later adapted into the famous sign by John Pasche.
Other artefacts such as the chair Jagger used to sit in for hair and make-up and their array of eclectic costumes are of course interesting, but perhaps the highlight of the exhibition is the interactive performance visitors can experience. In case you weren't able to attend Glastonbury in 2013 when the band headlined, step into the room where you can watch their show-stopping performance of Satisfaction in 3D complete with surround sound. It is honestly an incredible experience and will make you feel as though you are both on-stage with Jagger and co and in the 100,000-plus audience.
Simply put, Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones is truly fascinating, so do not miss out.
Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones runs from 5 April until 4 September 2016. Tickets are available to buy from the StonesExhibitionism.com website.