Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter is a 1970 documentary film directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, chronicling the Rolling Stones' 1969 US tour, which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. The film is named after "Gimme Shelter", the lead track from the Rolling Stones' 1969 album Let It Bleed.

The film depicts some of the Madison Square Garden concert, later featured on the live album, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, as well as the photography session for the cover, featuring Charlie Watts and a donkey. It also shows the Stones at work in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recording "Wild Horses". Performances documented in the film include Ike and Tina Turner (who were one of the Rolling Stones' opening acts for the 1969 tour), the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Jefferson Airplane.

Much of the film chronicles the behind-the-scenes dealmaking that took place to make the free Altamont concert happen. The action then turns on the concert itself at the Altamont Speedway, the security for which was provided by the Hells Angels. As the day progressed, with drug-taking and drinking by the Angels and members of the audience, the mood turned ugly. Fights broke out during performances by The Flying Burrito Brothers and Jefferson Airplane. At one point Jefferson Airplane lead singer Marty Balin was knocked out by a Hells Angel. The Grateful Dead opted not to play after learning of the incident with Balin. By the time the Stones hit the stage, the crowd was especially restless.

1 comment:

scott said...

great post! thanks alot