The Rolling Stones - Rock and Roll Circus Cover Where's Mick? Have any of you guys seen Mick? I saw him around here just a few moments ago with an elephant and a Beatle. Yeah. They were both heading off in the direction of that big tent in the distance. But who knows why, huh? No. Not 'The Who! But maybe the Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg; in this 68 minute concert recorded in 1968. Cool.

The Rolling Stones - Rock and Roll Circus

Roll up. Roll up. One and all. Come join the 'Rolling Stones' rock and roll circus, where you can see: A midget clown. A pair of geriatric acrobats. A Nubian fire-eater. A Beatles called Winston. Plus a gaggle of long-haired musicians performing to all in sundry.

Yeah. I'm not messing with you, dear reader! Check out this all-star bohemian roll-call:

  • 'Song for Jeffrey' -- (Ian Anderson) -- performed by Jethro Tull
  • 'A Quick One While He's Away' -- (Pete Townshend) -- performed by The Who 
  • 'Something Better' -- (Barry Mann and Gerry Goffin) -- performed by Marianne Faithfull
  • 'Fire Eater and Luna' -- (Donyale Luna) -- performed by Danny Camara
  • 'Yer Blues' -- (Lennon and McCartney) -- performed by The Dirty Mac
  • 'Whole Lotta Yoko' -- (Yoko Ono) -- performed by Yoko Ono, Ivry Gitlis, and The Dirty Mac
  • 'Jumping Jack Flash' -- (Jagger and Richards) -- performed by The Rolling Stones
  • 'Parachute Woman' -- (Jagger and Richards) -- performed by The Rolling Stones
  • 'No Expectations' -- (Jagger and Richards) -- performed by Rolling Stones
  • 'The 'Ain't That a Lot of Love' -- (Willia Dean Parker and Homer Banks) -- performed by Taj Mahal
  • 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' -- (Jagger and Richards) -- performed by The Rolling Stones
  • 'Sympathy for the Devil' -- (Jagger and Richards) -- performed by The Rolling Stones
  • 'Salt of the Earth' -- (Jagger and Richards) -- performed by The Rolling Stones

And once the last song was finally sung, the cast, the audience, the monkey, and the chemist, all folded away the big-tent, before putting it back into the small-box, shuffling off to pastures new. Amen.

Now I have to admit, when I normally watch a 'concert performance' on DVD, I fast-forward through the bits I don't like, just so I can get to the bits I do like. But in the case of 'The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus' -- well -- I only did it once. When Yoko Ono did her shrieking thing. It slightly got on my nerves. Prompting me to press the button in question until I reached the very next song.

John Lennon and Mick Jagger

Still, apart from that, this concert was a right hoot from start to finish. Honestly. I really got a kick out of watching this gig. Tapping my feet and wobbling my head as if I had some sort of neurological condition. Heck, at one point during the show -- when Mick sang 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' -- I leapt up out of my sofa and did that funky pigeon dance he did.

The Rolling Stones - Rock and Roll Circus Tiger
Yeah! Straight up. I do like to swagger to Jagger every now and then. But only in a non-sexual way of course. Although I can't say the same thing about Marianne Faithfull! Because did you know, that she and Mick were an item during this time? Moreover: (1) This concert was recorded in front of a pre-selected audience on a sound stage in Wycombe Road, Wembley, on the 11th of December, 1968, at approximately 2pm in the afternoon. It finished on the following day though -- at about 5am in the morning -- because the innovative camera equipment utilised took a lot longer than expected to set-up between acts. (2) According to 'The Who's' guitarist, Pete Townshend, the genesis of this project was originally meant to involve the individual acts travelling across the United States of America by train. (3) Because 'The Stones' were none too happy with their own fatigued performances, they stopped whatever television channel assigned to broadcast this 'Christmas Special' -- either 'London Weekend Television' or the 'BBC' -- from doing so. Also -- another reason behind this action -- is that it's been alleged that 'The Stones' felt upstaged by 'The Who' as well. (4) Both Mick Jagger and Michael Lindsay Hogg [the director who had recorded the band in concert prior to this show], conceived this project as a way of 'branching out from conventional records and concert performances'. (5) This was the last time Brian Jones strummed his guitar in front of an audience before he died. (6) Quite a few pieces of 'lost footage' were found in a cellar somewhere in London in 1989. Such as: A conversation between Mick Jagger and John Lennon. A mimed-performance between future 'Black Sabbath' front-man, Tony Iommi, and Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson attempting to play the flute with his foot in the air. Plus a number of lost song's like 'Fat Man' and 'A Song for Jeffrey'.

The Rolling Stones in Rock and Roll Circus

Ops! Got a bit carried away with myself there, didn't I? Plus I suppose you could say exactly the same thing about the band if you've digested point three of my trivia-splurge. Well, why in Lennon's name did the Rolling Stones stop this show from being aired? It can't be because of 'The Who' rumor. They didn't upstage them. Oh no! If anything, they complemented them. Just like the rest of the acts did as well -- most notably John Lennon and The Dirty Mac.

Maybe it had something to do with the amount of drugs they took during this period? As stated in the 'Crossfire Hurricane' documentary. Anyway, whatever the case may be, 'The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus' is a great slice of musical yesteryear to jive to. It's avant-garde. It's eclectic. It's earthy. And it's one of those musical jamborees that's as magical as...

Ha! Say no more.


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