After years of reading about this infamous concert in various Stones bio's/ magazine articles etc. to finally get the chance to see it was an exciting moment. What can I say!? It's every bit as unsettling and brutal as I'd been led to believe. The idea of the film was to show the Stones on their tour of America at the end of 1969, culminating in a free concert, Woodstock-style, at a suitable venue, which eventually became the Altamont Speedway when no suitable venue would give them permission. What started as a triumphant tour as witnessed in the early footage at Madison Square Garden quickly degenerated into chaos. The film is of course, notorious for showing an audience member (18 year old Meredith Hunter) being stabbed to death near the stage while the Stones are performing. The film-makers didn't know at the time that they'd caught a murder on camera. To them it was just another of several unsavoury scuffles that had been raging throughout the day. Watching Jaggers face as he's shown the fatal blows in an editing room is chilling. Several other scenes leave an indelible impression. The hideous faces of tripping, scruffy looking, hippies (God, these people are ugly!), the explosive bursts of violence from the Hell's Angels, the argument between Jack Cassady of the Jefferson Airplane and an Angel when the bands singer Marty Balin has been beaten up for questioning the Angels heavy-handedness. In fact, you can almost feel the nasty vibe coming through into the room as you're watching. I'm not someone who is easily shocked but I was left in a daze when the film had finished. To see an actual murder on film, rather than seeing one in a work of fiction, is a totally different experience and I couldn't get the scene out of my head for nearly 24 hours. Altamont signalled the end of the 60's dream in the most brutal way possible and Gimme Shelter captures this superbly. So, not an easy watch then but utterly essential viewing.