Fifty years ago this Sunday, the Rolling Stones released Gimme Shelter, the infamous documentary that started as a look at the final days of the British bad boys’ legendary 1969 tour, leading up to the disastrous free concert at Altamont Speedway. It ended up becoming the ultimate rock & roll horror movie. Directors Albert Mayles, David Mayles and Charlotte Zwerin’s time capsule is always a trip to revisit, but especially now — after nine months without live music, even Altamont looks tantalizing. It’s tough to watch the film in 2020 without musing, “I would totally risk a pool-cue flogging from acid-crazed bikers for a few minutes of the Jefferson Airplane.” Released in December 1970, Gimme Shelter is really two movies in one. The first half is the Stones wrapping up their U.S. tour, from Madison Square Garden to Muscle Shoals. The second half is Altamont. The first half is sex, the second is violence; the first half is a band making history, the second is history striking back at the band. The secind half is the main reason this rockumentary is a classic. But the first half is more fun, and a better movie with far wilder music. In a… Read full this story
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