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 »
A documentary on the Rolling Stones' 1969 US tour and the tragic events that concluded it. We see footage of their concerts and of them making the Sticky Fingers album in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. However, the main focus of the film is on one concert - Altamont Speedway, outside San Francisco, 6 December 1969. A free concert, it is the Stones' idea and it was meant to be the Woodstock of the West (Woodstock having occurred four months earlier). Other bands performing included Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Santana. However, it is far from being the peace and love of Woodstock. Part of the problem is that the Stones hired the Hells Angels as security. The other problem was that a large portion of the crowd were high on drugs. Friction ensues. During the Stones' set, Meredith Hunter, high on methamphetamine and armed with a gun, makes a lunge for the stage and is stabbed to death by the Hells Angels. The peace and ... Written by
You don't hassle with anybody in particular. You gotta keep your bodies off each other unless you intend love. People get weird, and you need people like the Angels to keep people in line. But the Angels also - you know, you don't bust people in the head for nothing. So both sides are fucking up temporarily; let's not keep FUCKING UP!
See more »
Nervy, scary flip-side to "Woodstock"--but what, if anything, has been learned from it?
A free concert given by rock group The Rolling Stones in 1969 at the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco reaches a fever pitch when the rowdy crowd clashes with the Hell's Angels, who were enlisted in place of actual security--ultimately resulting in tragedy. With The Jefferson Airplane as their opening act, the Stones hit the stage in the midst of uncontrolled frenzy and palpably ugly vibrations. Singer Mick Jagger is unsure how to handle the unruly mob, a dirty orgy of terror, and the Stones' music seem to take on an even more ominous, precarious edge as a result. This documentary astutely captures the underbelly of rock and roll, with contempt and hatred hanging in the air. The cinematographers, brave enough to get their cameras into the most precarious positions, do terrific work, but is the film a relevant signpost for our times or merely a blueprint for the chaos we see today? Certainly it was shocking for such animalistic behavior (and a knifing) to bring down a public event, but the whole sordid mess doesn't seem to have left its impact. Is it history just repeating itself or is society condemned to making the same errors in judgment over and over again? In either case, the film isn't easy to sit through, and its highly-concocted finale (with a somewhat indifferent Mick Jagger sitting and watching the horrific footage pre-release) leaves behind even more ill will. **1/2 from ****
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?