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The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus
United Kingdom 1968
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Running time 65 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Filmed in London in December 1968, with performances by The Who, Jethro Tull, and Marianne Faithful, The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus is a classic document of its time.

The Beatles had broken up (John Lennon appears here with Yoko) and rock n'roll was about to go Stateside and corporate. The original Rolling Stones were still intact although it is evident, at least in hindsight, in watching this, that Jagger-Richards were now the Stones and Brian Jones was on the way out (this was his last live appearance with the Stones).

Altamont was still a year away and the vibe was high with Magic Mick here casting himself as salacious ring-master and headline performer in his own Big Top. Most of the guest appearances are forgettable but the Stones numbers are excellent (although Jagger and Richards were not happy and held the tapes back).  These start with Jumping Jack Flash, work through Parachute Woman, No Expectations and You Can't Always Get What You Want and build to a sensational performance of Sympathy For the Devil with Jagger showing how much every Rock God from Iggy Pop to Michael Hutchence owes to him, before ending up with the wonderful Stones anthem Salt Of The Earth, sung en masse by performers (including a very stoned Brian and Marianne) and audience.

 

 

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