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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of The Stones as a Stadium Band
This is a shockingly fantastic film. It was meant to start out as a filmed document of the Stones live comeback of '69 and instead, mostly, turned into a document of the Altamont Free Concert disaster. Indeed a young man was stabbed, Hunter Meredith was only 18.

I do object to Amazons review of this DVD stating, "the on-screen stabbing of a young...
Published on 28 Jun 2009 by Martin Clarke

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT ENOUGH OF THE MAGNIFICENT STONES
There are two stories struggling to get out of this film. The Stones 1969 U.S.A. Tour, which is what most interested me, and the madness and violence that accompanied it. The film is good as a documentary, but flawed as a record of the Stones live performances at the very peak of their live career.
The film includes footage of the unfortunate Meredith Hunter being...
Published 16 months ago by Stephen Goldsmith


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of The Stones as a Stadium Band, 28 Jun 2009
By 
Martin Clarke "mart_the_tart" (Aberdeen, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is a shockingly fantastic film. It was meant to start out as a filmed document of the Stones live comeback of '69 and instead, mostly, turned into a document of the Altamont Free Concert disaster. Indeed a young man was stabbed, Hunter Meredith was only 18.

I do object to Amazons review of this DVD stating, "the on-screen stabbing of a young African-American man (during 'Sympathy for the Devil,' no less)" In fact the song permormed at the time was 'Under My Thumb.' This sort of proves that Amazons reviewers don't actually watch the DVD's before reviewing them.

Still a fantastic film no less. The look on Jaggers face at the end, when he asks the film editor to rewind the section of film where Meredith Hunter is stabbed, shows total shock and empathy. And a short great scene I like where the camera pans across the studio to find Keith lying on his back behind the amps (for some reason) is quite amusing.

This film captures the Stones at the start of their live performances as we know them today. After a two and a half year absence from the stage they returned to a different musical world to the one they'd left. No longer did concerts last 30 minutes (although in the '69 tour they only played around 80 minutes a show, unlike other bands at the time clocking 2 hour concerts). The stage presences, the glam, Jaggers strutt all starts here.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrible...But Compelling., 16 Nov 2009
By 
S. Muzyka (Rugby,Warwickshire,England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
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.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of Flower Power!, 13 Jun 2000
By A Customer
If you're a fan of the Sixties or the Rolling Stones, you simply have to have this video. This is the Stones at their best before it all went tragically wrong at Altamont when 18 year old Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death in front of the stage by Hell's Angels. For many, this free concert by the Stones at Altamont at the end of 1969 spelt the end of the Sixties and the flower power era. For that reason alone, this is compulsive viewing for devotees of the genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “Gimme Shelter (by The Rolling Stones)” on BLU RAY – Compatibility Issues For UK and EUROPEAN Buyers…, 28 Feb 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
At present this 1970 musical masterpiece is only available on BLU RAY in the States. But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers…

The US issue is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Until such time as someone else gives “Gimme Shelter” a long-overdue REGION B and C release – check your BLU RAY player has the capacity to play REGION A – before you buy the pricey Criterion issue…
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preach it brother!, 5 Dec 2005
By 
Gimme Shelter is an astonishing look at the dark side of the rock 'n'roll collective hallucination: Jagger thought he was lucifer, the fans thought he was lucifer ... and the Hell's Angels thought he was a loser.
The story is one of the best known examples of how not to organise a free concert.The Stones were at their musical peak: Mick Taylor was there to help Charlie keep it together, Keith had rarely looked so elegantly wasted and Jagger was Jack Flash in all his androgynous splendor.
Unfortunately it was decided that the Angels would make great security guards. Even more unfortunately they got to have as much alcohol as they could drink in return for herding hippies.
The Mayles cameras seem to have been omnipresent : in a situation where nobody could budge an inch they were absolutely everywhere. They got the endless to and fro with the Stones manager Grossman (?)trying to find a venue for the concert, the breath-taking build up with eye in the sky shots of thousands upon thousands of people honing in on the Altamont Speedway, the first signs that things were not going to go according to plan (what plan?)as musicians got attacked by Hell's Angels ("My God, they're attacking musicians? That doesn't seem right!") , the agonising slide into ugly anarchy, the irate fan (former fan ?) who punched Big J in the lip as he came out of his caravan to preen, the bad-tripping Angel/stage hand going down on bad acid and glaring at Jagger with contempt and fascination, the stray dog ambling across the stage totally unfazed by the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world, Jagger calling for calm as fighting breaks out yet again: "What are we fighting for ? You know if we really are all one, let's be all one!" ... to which an Angel snarls: "Yeah, preach it brother!", the attempted murder, the actual murder, the hysterical girl friend, the morning after ... and finally Jagger leaving the cutting room with a rather sheepish look on his face after watching the rough cut.
Despite my rather subjective review this is a marvellously objective documentary. I don't think you have to be a Stones fan like myself to be knocked out by the film-making prowess ... you might not come out of it liking Jagger so much but I'm sure he can take it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT ENOUGH OF THE MAGNIFICENT STONES, 29 Mar 2013
By 
This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
There are two stories struggling to get out of this film. The Stones 1969 U.S.A. Tour, which is what most interested me, and the madness and violence that accompanied it. The film is good as a documentary, but flawed as a record of the Stones live performances at the very peak of their live career.
The film includes footage of the unfortunate Meredith Hunter being stabbed. It provided the filmakers with a very dramatic ending to the film, and enabled them to assemble and edit their available footage towards this incident and provide its climactic ending. The consequence was that Gimme Shelter, like Altamont itself, overshadows the Rolling Stones. It also led to much rumination and comment about "The death of the sixties", who was to blame for the violence, the organisation of Altamont' who supplied bad acid etc, etc, on and on....
The film begins well, but as it progresses towards the Altamont stabbing footage, the film content deteriorates. It includes a lot of film material that might never have otherwise been used by the film makers had the stabbing never been caught on camera; Lawyers in offices playing up to the camera, footage of traffic jams, the audience making arses of themselves after taking drugs, poor footage of other live acts, windswept hillsides, stray dogs, motorbikes and Hells Angels, helicopters and bonfires. This may have made the existing film an interesting anthrpological documentary, or a cautionary tale about an ugly incident, but it was done at the expense of many filmed performances of the Rolling Stones that might otherwise have been included in the original film. The extant Stones' footage is superb, but is a very incomplete record of the performances, some of the best live work they ever did.
This reissued DVD includes additional concert footage which was a nice surprise, but made me wonder how well the concerts were filmed. It looks like a one or two camera shoot. It Looks as though they either lost footage or didn't film significant parts of the performances. Its a pity that nobody has ever established what live Stones footage might still be in existence. The unreleased fragments shown on 'Crossfire Hurricane' appear to indicate there is little else.
Altamont wasn't unique. there have been many other concerts and festivals which were sullied by violence, but without cameras bearing witness. The difference with Gimme Shelter is, that this film captured the terrible death of a young man. Gimme Shelter's Altamont footage has enabled its significance to be subsequently distorted immediately after, and ever since. I wish, for many reasons, that Altamont had never occurred.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Devil Went West to Frisco, 19 Mar 2010
This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Despite being a 'rock doc' that has long since achieved legendary status, the Maysles brothers' Gimme Shelter, a dramatic account of the latter stages of the Rolling Stones' celebrated 1969 U.S. tour, owed its origins more to desperation than design. The Stones were keen to have at least part of their tour filmed for posterity and when a proposed deal with ace cinematographer Haskell Wexler fell through, the band hastily met up with the Maysles a couple of days before the Stones' two shows in New York City, giving the documentary-makers and their contacts carte blanche (and funding) to film whatever they liked. The result was a record of the shows at Madison Square Garden, a brief stopover at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama, and, most memorably, the infamous end-of-tour free concert at Altamont Speedway east of San Francisco.

This is basically a film within a film: we watch the dramatic events as they happen, but we also see Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts viewing a rough cut of the film months later in London with David Maysles and editor Charlotte Zwerin and reacting to the footage. It's a neat device. The tension builds pleasingly, with the scenes of the high-octane Stones onstage in New York being interspersed with scenes in California (principally in the huge office of celebrity lawyer Melvin Belli) showing the free-concert organisers in frantic action. The whole of the second half of this 91-minute rollercoaster is consequently taken up with the chaotic events at Altamont.

This documentary is enormously entertaining and is an almost perfect evocation of a time when hippie innocence and naivety were dying a death. In fact, we see the hippie dream become a nightmare before our very eyes, with the Bay Area Hells Angels at Altamont acting as the demons incarnate. That said, the Angels' role in the chaos at Altamont was not quite so fundamental as the film suggests, and the vast majority of the three hundred thousand or so people present at the concert were unaware of the drama near the front. The film's key scene too, the stabbing to death of a young black man in front of the stage as the Stones perform, gives the impression that all was wound up quickly afterwards, when in fact the Stones, unaware of the seriousness of the incident, performed several more songs before ending their set.

Music is naturally to the fore in Gimme Shelter and there is a lot of it: we see the Stones performing five songs in New York and listening to some new ones at Muscle Shoals - Wild Horses, Brown Sugar, and You Gotta Move - which would surface on the Sticky Fingers album in 1971. Tina Turner puts in a raunchy appearance (Ike and Tina Turner and BB King were the support acts during the Stones' 69 tour) and the Flying Burrito Brothers and Jefferson Airplane are seen briefly at Altamont. The real beauty of Gimme Shelter, however, is in how the Maysles' unobtrusive style is intensified by so many sublime scenes and images that need no explanation: a lingering close-up of a sleepy Keith Richards' battered snakeskin boots and a stark image of a crop-haired Hells Angel staring malevolently at Mick Jagger onstage at Altamont are two images that perfectly illustrate the jarring clash between decadent laissez-faire rock and roll and blue-collar biker machismo that led to the main drama of this film. No words were needed.

Gimme Shelter is an absolute gem of a film that in my view is the best of its type. It's a beautifully understated work that at the same time screams drama and tension. It could be argued that clever editing must inevitably be seen as a form of manipulation, but in the case of Gimme Shelter no such subterfuge was necessary; the events themselves were dramatic enough. It only needed someone to record them faithfully from several angles and present them coherently, which the Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin did, concisely and memorably. Albert Maysles once said that the fundamental difference between Gimme Shelter and Woodstock was that the first was true and the second wasn't. He may have been blowing his own trumpet but he was absolutely correct nevertheless. Gimme Shelter is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary, 18 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This film, whatever may have been the intentions of those who commissioned it, is not a conventional collection of concert footage put together to promote the Rolling Stones but is instead a documentary about fantasy meeting reality. Uncomfortable viewing at times certainly but also horribly compelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of open air freedom caught on film..., 29 July 2010
By 
This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I've studied the reports & photos of this terrible episode in rock (& social) history but there's nothing like going there & this stark document of a December '69 free rock festival does just that. It was clearly a horribly blighted gig & watching the Stones emotionally process the violence & death in the editing room is as powerful as the concert footage. Digging Beggars Banquet & Let It Bleed's one thing, if you really want to taste the era make sure you watch this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but also compelling, 1 April 2010
By 
Graham R. Hill (Ilkley) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
For some Stones fans (including, it has to be said, me) this would be worth the money just for the shot of Keith Richard tapping his snakeskin boots in the Muscle Shoals mixing room.

There is of course much more substance to a film charting the self-styled greatest rock'n'roll band in the world both approaching their peak musically and getting caught up in the inevitable failure of the hippy dream. I've known for forty years what happened at Altamont, but seeing it played out is still a shocking and depressing thing.

What was good to see - apart from the music - is the sheer joy that the Stones (or at least the ones featured; Bill Wyman is notably absent except when on stage) take in the music the are recording. There is lovely bit where Mick Jagger can't contain his pride as they play back Brown Sugar to members of their management team. And one does come away with great sympathy for Jagger who seems genuinely to have being trying to do something positive by giving a free concert and to have been appalled by the way things turned out.
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Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009]
Gimme Shelter [DVD] [2009] by The Rolling Stones (DVD - 2009)
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