I have a dilemma. I need to see The Rolling Stones again.

They're coming May 5 to Oracle Arena in Oakland and May 8 to HP Pavilion in San Jose. They haven't said so, but their 50 and Counting tour is likely the last big one from the longest-tenured, big-name, overwhelmingly influential, incredible rock band in history.

Right -- I'm trying to get a publicist's job with them before it's too late.

Like so many fans, I really want to see the band one more time. The Stones haven't made a great record in 30 years, but even though these musicians are in their late 60s and early 70s, they're still one of the best live bands on the planet. They can all still play, they still seem to enjoy playing and, after decades of playing together, are a tightly woven bunch. And they represent a song catalog that is nothing short of a living, breathing documentary on 50 years of rock history (maybe more when they get into the old R&B covers).

With tickets going for $142.75 to $597.50 (yes, that's 600 whole dollars), and as a man with children to feed, I'm priced out. I couldn't spend that much if they offered to come play in my living room (but that shouldn't stop anyone out there from asking them).

I saw the Stones a number of times while I was a music writer. I saw them in the '80s, in the days before I had a family and when I had nothing to do with my disposable income but buy concert tickets. I saw them on solo tours. I went backstage in Los Angeles on a Keith Richards tour (and, literally, bumped into Gene Simmons -- I apologized before he could breathe fire at me). I briefly met Richards and interviewed Bill Wyman. I celebrated moving to L.A. to be a musician in 1990 by getting a Stones tattoo. They helped change the way I saw rock music when I discovered them in high school.

So I kind of need to see them again.

After I saw them in Oakland in 1994 on the Voodoo Lounge tour, I schemed that I could go a second night by showing up in the parking lot after the show started, when desperate scalpers still holding tickets would be willing to sell me a stub for $20. Didn't happen. Even after the fifth or sixth song, nobody's prices were budging. I tried sweet-talking a woman at the ticket booth into giving me a discount, since the show already started and everything. Like so many women in my life, she laughed in my face.

I was desperate. My faithful companion Derek was ready to go home. But then I spotted a couple of young guys wheeling one of those big garbage wagons out of the stadium. I sauntered over, waved my $20 and said it was theirs if they would sneak us in the venue in a wagon. The did a quick huddle and told us to get in. Bingo! Victory was mine!

So I thought.

Just as I was swinging a leg over the wagon's edge, I heard one of the guys tell the other, "I don't know dude -- it's only 20 bucks each, and we could get totally fired." They both looked at me, and I swung my leg back out.

Victory was not mine.

But it can be again.

The Rolling Stones in 2005.
The Rolling Stones in 2005. ( (AP/Mark Seliger-File))

Maybe my 4-year-old's preschool will decide not to charge us this month because they like her so much. Maybe someone won't notice me missing a car payment. There's always the lottery.

Then again, does anyone out there know who's in charge of the garbage wagons at Oracle Arena?

Just checking.

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/bayareanewsgroup.tonyhicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.