The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter
Imagine that you're a member of the legendary Rock Group, 'The Rolling Stones', and that you're standing on stage at the Altamont Free Concert,
California, on the 6th of December, 1969. Next, I
want you to decide what member of the Stones you might want to be. Mick Jagger.
Charlie Watts. Mick Taylor. Keith
Richards. Bill Wyman. Whoever. It doesn't really matter all that much if truth
be told. Because you're still going to try and play the following songs to all
- Jumpin' Jack Flash
- (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
- You Gotta Move
- Wild Horses (in studio at Muscle Shoals)
- Brown Sugar
- Love in Vain
- Honky Tonk Women
- Street Fighting Man
- Sympathy for the Devil
- Under My Thumb
- Gimme Shelter
Oh! But wait up. I best mention the supporting artists performing at this gig as well...
- I've Been Loving You Too Long -- with Ike and Tina Turner
Other Side of This Life -- with
- Six Days on the Road -- with the Flying Burrito Brothers
Now to top off this rather bohemian experience with a touch more candour, I best refer to the subsequent inserts scattered throughout this staged set. Such as: (1) 'The Stones' in concert at NYC. (2) A radio broadcast, where one of the members of the Hell's Angel justifies killing a member of the audience at
Altamont. (3) How a lawyer
tried to arrange for the band to play at said venue prior to this tragic incident
happening. (4) Numerous scenes capturing the guys at the studio, at their
hotel, and at a press-conference too. Plus (5) The sad set of circumstances
full of love, riots, hate, joviality, drugs, and peace, resulting in music to
be played, and a disaster in the making.
And with that, music lover, you can now go back to your normal lives a changed person. Nuff said.
Now after quite a bit of deliberation, I thought that it would be very astute of me to explain how I thought about 'Gimme Shelter', by elaborating on a tale of times past.
I don't know what to do. Honestly I don't. I just freeze. I'm stunned. I can't think. People around me call the emergency services to save my mate's life. And all I can seem to muster is stand -- motionless -- to see what happens next.
Listen. Don't get me wrong. I want to do something. Anything. But I can't bring myself to do it. I'm paralysed. Numb. Unsure of my very own actions.
However, as time passes by a tick at a time, I begin to see everything gradually unfold before my very eyes. The police turn up and take names. Passers-by give statements and gossip amongst themselves. Plus the ambulance service eventually arrives and whisks my mate away.
She's dead. She's no more. And now -- as I write this very review -- I can't even remember her bloody name.
My bad. My bad. My bad.
Well, it's very strange you know. Seeing someone get stabbed at a venue meant for peace and love. For the life of me, you could tell that everything was going to end badly as soon as it begun.
Not only was the planning stage rather slap-dash to say the very least, but once the shindig eventually kicked off, you could almost tell that the mixture of drug-addled peace-nix and hard-core Hell's Angels, was a recipe that spelt disaster.
But still, the question remains, why? Huh? Why did the person who died bring a gun along with him to a concert? Why did the organisers arrange for the Hell's Angels to be security guards? Why couldn't the Hell's Angels handle the crowd in a more diplomatic fashion? And why, why, why, oh why, can't I remember my school mate's name?
I suppose sometimes shit happens, huh? Class concert. Needs to be seen to be believed.
THE RATING: A-