PARIS The Rolling Stones performed an energetic warm-up gig in Paris on Thursday for a few hundred fans after announcing on Twitter that tickets would go on sale for 15 euros ($19.45) just hours in advance.
"I can't believe we're all still standing up, you'd think by now one or two of us would be sitting down, but we're not," lead singer Mick Jagger, 69, told fans at the Trabendo, a 700-capacity venue in northern Paris, during the 75 minute surprise show.
Fans said the small space created an optimal setting for the show which kicked off with "Route 66" and ended with "Brown Sugar".
"We were right next to them, we could see them perfectly," said one French fan who gave his name as Gianni. "It was a very small room and they were running all over the stage...they seemed really happy."
Some got an additional perk after the show, as Jagger signed autographs before being whisked away in a black Mercedes sedan.
Earlier this month, the band announced they would perform four concerts at large arenas - two in London and two near New York - to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Their last world tour ended in 2007.
But fans have complained about high ticket prices, which range from 95 pounds ($150) to as much as 950 pounds for a "VIP hospitality" seat. Tickets have been offered online for several thousands pounds each, British media has reported.
The Paris music scene has been awash with rumours that the Stones will also play to bankers invited by Paris-based investment house Carmignac Gestion at a theatre in the heart of Paris on Monday.
In recent years, Carmignac has recruited former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed and British rocker Rod Stewart to play similar gigs, usually to an exclusive audience.
Carmignac sent out mystery invitations giving the date and location of what it called "the biggest secret event of the year" without identifying the performer. The investment house has declined to comment.
On Thursday, the band banned mobile phones, cameras, video equipment and recording devices from those going into the gig.
Some fans drove to Paris from as far away as Germany.
Sebastian Baaske said he set off in his car from Hanover, Germany on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of securing a ticket.
"My girlfriend said I'd regret it if I didn't... It's all worth it," the 35-year-old Baaske said.
The Rolling Stones will play the O2 Arena in the British capital on November 25 and 29 before crossing the Atlantic to perform at the Prudential Center, Newark, on December 13 and 15.
($1 = 0.7711 euros)
(Writing by Mike Collett-White and Alexandria Sage, Additional Reporting by Anca Ulea. Editing by Jill Serjeant)