Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DVD Review - Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)

Gimme Shelter is a documentary/concert film that was released in 1970 portraying the Stones on their 1969 US tour. The film begins with footage shown from their famous Madison Square Gardens concert with some takes featuring on their live album "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out", and random shots of them hanging about in hotels and listening to fresh cuts of their songs, but at the centre of the film is the tragic events that took place at their free gig at the Altamont Speedway in San Francisco. On December 6, 1969, merely only a few months after Woodstock, the Stones were to perform alongside Jefferson Airplane, Ike and Tina Turner and the Flying Burrito Brothers for charity at Golden Gate Park, though they were denied as another event was already taking place so through much stress a decision was made that it would take place at the then currently unused Altamont Speedway.

Not long after the film starts rolling we see a very emotional Jagger and Watts as they are dealing with the aftermath of the murder of 18 year old man Meredith Hunter that took place as they played. We then hear from the most prominent member of the Hells Angels, Sonny Barger telling his side of the story via radio. What is so special about the footage captured is not only the events that take place but to witness what it was like back then to be a music fan. Seeing people on drugs, the violence, the love making, producing a very real and somewhat intense portrayal of a time not so innocent as we might have thought. The intensity builds up throughout the film as the crowd infiltrates the stage and at one stage an Angel punching out Marty Ballin from the Jefferson Airplane whilst they are performing. For what sparked the act of violence that ended in murder is still a little shady, but rest assured this event remains one of the most intriguing subjects in music history. To find someone to blame for the unfortunate event would be hard to get to the bottom of as the Hells Angels, what were they really doing there? The fans, drugged up and seemingly aggressive, what about the music? All of these elements combine to what is frequently called the event that closed up shop in the department of peace and love of the 60's. This is purely a must for anyone who calls themselves a music fan, this is an intense and exhilarating documentation and most definitely essential viewing.

Lullaby Recommended


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