Originally filmed in December 1968, "The Rock and Roll Circus" was originally intended to be released as a television special. The special was filmed over two nights and featured not only ... See full summary »
In December of 1969, four months after Woodstock, the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane gave a free concert in Northern California, east of Oakland at Altamont Speedway. About 300,000 people came, and the organizers put Hell's Angels in charge of security around the stage. Armed with pool cues and knifes, Angels spent the concert beating up spectators, killing at least one. The film intercuts performances, violence, Grace Slick and Mick Jagger's attempts to cool things down, close-ups of young listeners (dancing, drugged, or suffering Angel shock), and a look at the Stones later as they watch concert footage and reflect on what happened. Written by
I can't get enough of Mick Jagger in his prime. New York City. 1969. He introduces himself and then says, "Welcome to the breakfast show." This guy is the man. But, then comes Altamont. This part is frightening. It makes you see why the 60s was so f-ed up. You've got British concert promoters playing the stereotypes to a tee. You've got hippies using the words, "groovy." You've got all the evidence to believe that flower children were as stupid as portrayed in their modern context. But, the most scary thing...it is what is. The Hells Angels are brutal. They get angry and they get picked on. The retaliate like a wild animals. People are being beaten with sticks and women are crying, but the show goes on. Yes, this was the end of peace/love. If the foundations of WOODSTOCK were to give us any hope in a hippie ideal, they were not there for THE ROLLING STONES. And, so we point the finger. But don't point it at Mick Jagger. He did his best. And, there's a freeze on him at the end, just as the roaring guitar of Keith Richards explodes into "Gimme Shelter." It is one of the coolest moments I have yet to witness on celluloid.
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