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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
The Rolling Stones had gotten the idea of using the Hell's Angels as security because they had used the London chapter of the club as security during their free concert at Hyde Park that past July. However, the British chapter was not as violent as their American counterparts. See more »
This is Stefan Ponek, KSN Radio, San Francisco. Well, The Rolling Stones tour of the United States is over. It wounded up with a free concert at the Altamont Speedway for more than 300,000 people. There were four births, four deaths and an awful lot of scuffles reported. We received word that someone was stabbed to death in front of the stage by a member of the Hell's Angels. Nothings confirmed on that. We were there. We didn't see it. But, we did see a lot. We want to know now what you saw. ...
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is the song that the Rolling Stones are performing when the stabbing of Meredith Hunter takes place and is caught on camera. The film is basically about the Altamont Festival and the documentary style puts you right there at the festival. We watch the tension building – the fights between the Hells Angels and the crowd and a crazy scene when Jefferson Airplane have their spot stopped when the Angels attack the lead singer Marty Balin and then rush the stage and take control of the microphone! And all of this is happens during the daytime before the now well-known tragedy that was to follow. This Jefferson Airplane incident doesn't seem to be mentioned these days but it's pretty big news! We watch as fellow lead singer Grace Slick looks on helplessly. Tensions just continue to mount until the Stones take the stage and start performing when it gets dark and the documentary succeeds in relaying that atmosphere. By this time, you can feel that something bad is going to happen as there is constant trouble and interruptions to the gig. It's obviously a very threatening and scary concert to be at and we have to be grateful to the documentary-makers for capturing it on film.
I'm not sure why "Sympathy for the Devil" is sometimes mentioned as the song during which Hunter is stabbed. The Stones do have to stop this song and appeal for calm during this song before starting again after fighting between the crowd and the Angels. Was this when Hunter was first attacked and stabbed before he returned? Anybody know? The Angels are fascinating to watch as are the crowd who dig the music as are the organizers of the event. As for the Stones, where's Bill Wyman? You get more of Mick Taylor than you do of Bill. Perhaps he was just deemed too boring and edited completely out. I remember watching a documentary in which some guy who was dealing with the Stones was reprimanded by Jagger for not asking Mick about band issues. The quote from Jagger went something like "Charlie's the quiet, shy one, Keith is off his head, Ronnie does what I say and Bill is boring. If you want to ask anything about the band, you come to me". Perhaps control-freak Jagger just edited Wyman out.
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