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Customer Review

86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just the best Rock and Roll documentary ever made..., September 18, 2000
This review is from: The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This movie has been almost universally acclaimed as the best Rock and Roll documentary ever, but that is damning with faint praise. This is a great movie, period.
It documents the Rolling Stones during their landmark '69 tour, and in particular, the documentary maker's dream (and everyone else's nightmare) Altamont concert. At the time, the Stones truly were "the greatest Rock and Roll band in the world", perhaps the greatest of all time. Jagger's performance and charisma are at their peak, no trace of the almost self-parody he would later embrace. Keith Richards' playing is rough, raunchy and powerful, while the unheralded Mick Taylor's exquisite blues guitar leads contrast by their beauty.
The performances alone (including Tina Turner doing "I've Been Loving You Too Long") would be enough to make this a must have film, but Altamont is what makes it a truly great film. When we get to the Altamont concert, it gradually becomes more and more terrifying, reminiscent of the slow build of "The Shining". At first, Jagger thinks he can control the situation with peace and love rhetoric, "Brothers and sisters. If we are all one then let's show it!" At the end, the once confident rock star is reduced to a scared little boy pleading, "I pray that it's alright. I pray that it's alright," right before a man is stabbed to death a few feet away from him.
Highlights (besides the Stones and Tina Turner performances): Jagger watching a tape of himself (obviously stoned) giving glib and charming answers to reporters, then turning away from the tape, and almost blushing, saying, "Rubbish." Mick and Keith grooving to a different version of Brown Sugar that has a country lead guitar part, 2 years before the song was released. During the Altamont concert, a Hell's Angel on the stage staring at Jagger for a long time with a look of intense disgust like, "Look at this little faggot!" The disillusioned masses leaving the next morning while the rawest, nastiest version of "Gimme Shelter" you've ever heard plays on the soundtrack.
When you watch the Altamont part of this movie, your shoulders and body will scrunch up as though you were at a truly scary horror movie. It is that visceral. It is emotionally draining, yet compelling, and the music is fantastic. I have it on VHS and I will get the DVD as soon as it comes out. You should own this movie.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 9, 2015 3:07:41 PM PST
Avalon Don says:
Excellent review. In the bonus section a female fan to the side of the stage said she had a good time. So did many others. The movie shows the worst of Altamont which does come off scary.
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