Rock Docs: The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter (1970) - Reviewed

You ever wonder about a an area in space and time that has been documented (in this case, film)?  You ever wonder about that area in space and time and wonder what it would have been like to be there to see the events unfold in front of your own eyes?  These were my thoughts all the way the incredible Gimme Shelter featuring The Rolling Stones. 

While the band this documentary focuses on needs no introduction these days, the events that unfolded on December 6th, 1969 do for the lesser dedicated Rolling Stones fans.  Gimme Shelter tells this story before and during the fateful events that happened at the Altamont Raceway Park in Tracy, California through the

Admittedly, I am not The Rolling Stones number one fan, but I will always go down stating publicly that Mick Jagger is and always will be the greatest frontman of all time.  Watching this archival footage gives me the chills.  Despite the events that were unfolding on that day in 1969, we still see an electrifying performance from Mr. Jagger and company.  I chair danced all the way through this film during the performance pieces.

Gimme Shelter dives headlong into the counterculture movement of the late sixties.  We see this through the language and the look of the people involved, all the way from the bands to the attendees.  I did find it ironic though the amount of violence that occurred during this concert while the whole mood of “peace and love” was supposed to be the main theme.  There is still a lot of debate on The Hells Angels role in working security during this event and if the M/C caused more problems than they solved.  While dangerous, this still would have been quite an event to have been a part of.

An estimated three hundred thousand people showed up for this show, so naturally, the Altamont Raceway Park and surrounding areas suffered severe damage from the attendees.I would have like to hear from the raceways owner, Dick Carter, in the aftermath of this event and see if it was worth all the publicity he thought he was going to get from this.

Regardless Gimme Shelter is a soaring chronicle to a piece of rock history and while the debate will never go away about the events that day, neither will the music.

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-Scott W. Lambert