Another time - Another Place - Another Rolling Stones.
The time, the Summer of 1969. The place, London's Hyde Park. The group, The Rolling Stones #2.
Literally days after the mysterious death of their former leader (Brian Jones) the new look Stones gather in London's largest park to play a - prearranged - free concert to more than 250,000 casual onlookers and fans.
(Read Bill Wyman's autobiography "Stone Alone" for the detailed back-story.)
An hour long documentary about the day - rather than a strict concert film - Stones in the Park captures the famous rock band in musical and personal disarray: Traveling to the show to the innocent chatter of children; the 60's nonsense philosophy (including Jagger's rambling London School of Economics maths that gets too complicated for him!); setting free the White Moth Butterflies (most still alive - despite what you might read elsewhere) and reading Shelley in honour of their recently departed/sacked (and now largely forgotten about) founder.
As a stage climax they bring on painted "African tribesmen" for a half-hearted rendition of "Sympathy For the Devil." Presumably a reference to the (unfortunate) black magic/occult trip that they were on at the time.
The large crowd behaved well, and to thank them the weak English sun shone on their straggly long hair, bright clothes and beads..How silly, ramshackle and amateurish it all looks today - especially with baby-faced Hells Angels as stage security guards. But somehow oh-so-very British We even glimpse an untroubled Paul McCartney wandering about among the crowd.
(The Stones paid the ultimate price when they tried to repeat the trick at Altamont Speedway in the USA, but that is another story and another film.)
More random and abstract thoughts: Doesn't Mick Jagger sound like a public school headmaster when asking for silence. How under-powered the amps look (could everyone actually hear?). How mediocre and listless the band performance was, featuring the ever-hesitating new boy Mick Taylor ("I am the only guy to leave the Rolling Stones and live") on wishy-washy lead.
Wouldn't it be great to see members of the crowd today (especially the girl stage invaders) and see what Father Time does to all of us. Although I hear it is kinder to those that don't take loads of hard drugs and visit the dentist at regular intervals - any reference to actual members of the Rolling Stones, in that statement, should be taken as pure coincidence...
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