FOXBOROUGH — Shawn Patrick has seen the Rolling Stones a lot of places.
The 47-year-old Walpole resident has seen them in Toronto, and at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. When he was 11, back in 1981, he almost saw them in Hartford — until his mom found out and nixed the idea.
But Tuesday night? Well, that was a little different.
As a couple hundred business associates and friends of Robert Kraft were treated to dinner and a private performance by none other than the Rolling Stones at Gillette Stadium, a small contingent of fans braved falling temperatures and biting winds for a chance to hear the band live — from outside the fenced-off stadium.
These were the diehards. The kinds of people you’d want to watch — or at least hear — the Stones with. Some had driven considerable distances to be there. One had attended, by his estimation, 26 Stones shows over the years and proved his affinity for the band in the form of a Stones tattoo on his shoulder.
Take Peter Hiltz of Carver, who, upon learning the band would be performing at Gillette on Tuesday, dialed up his wife, Jody, and told her he’d made plans.
“I called her and said, ‘We need to go see the Stones,’ ” he said. “At least, to listen to them.”
And now, here they were.
It was something of a strange evening. A couple hours earlier, a line of sport utility vehicles and charter buses had rolled up to One Patriot Place, depositing small groups of casually dressed, mostly middle-age folks near the stadium entrance, where they were met by two women holding clipboards.
As the partygoers made their way into the stadium, their drivers waited in the parking lot, hands stuffed into pockets, huddled against the cold. They chatted casually, about sports, about the media, about Donald Trump — and, of course, about the event they’d been summoned to work that night.
“What a dinner this is gonna be,” one said, staring up at the massive stadium in front of him.
The others nodded in agreement.
It promised to be a high-profile crowd. Beside Robert, Jonathan, and the rest of the Kraft family, we heard that Tommy Hilfiger was in the house, along with an array of local boldfacers including salon guru Pini Swissa, Combined Jewish Philanthropies president Barry Shrage, restaurateur Steve DiFillippo, and Pats playmaker Julian Edelman. No sign of QB Tom Brady, though.
The real party, though, might have been going on around the corner, where by 8:30 p.m., a couple dozen fans had taken up residence near a gated-off stadium entrance.
As the party’s attendees finished dinner, a handful of onlookers traded stories of concerts past and took turns guessing which songs the band might perform on this night.
True, the conditions would not be optimal. In addition to the chilly weather, the concert would be performed inside a massive white event tent, which figured to diminish the music’s reach.
But this did not appear to dampen their spirit.
When the band finally began, at about a quarter past nine, the crowd reacted with requisite enthusiasm. Some cheered. Some pleaded for more (“Turn it up for the poor people!” shouted one man). Others bobbed their heads to the beat.
For the first 30 or so minutes, as the band rolled through performances of (from what we could hear) “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Tumbling Dice,” those who remained near the gate seemed, by all accounts, to be enjoying themselves.
In truth, it wasn’t always easy. The tent had indeed left the music muffled at best. A video board, which could have projected the performance to those standing outside the stadium, went unused. It took even the staunchest fans some time before they could determine which song the band was playing.
But there they were, listening to the Stones live and for some, at least, that was enough.
“Better than sitting at home, watching nothing on TV,” said Jody Hiltz. “When I go to work tomorrow, I got a story to tell.”