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“It’s the king. Gimme Shelter is a brilliant snapshot of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band during what was arguably their peak. They had just released Let It Bleed and were starting to make what would be Sticky Fingers – you couldn’t have picked a better time to follow them around.
“The band is on fire, everybody looks so cool, and then the other shoe drops – Altamont happens. It’s horrible and it’s disgusting, but at that moment the film really becomes about something. It turns into a very serious piece of work, and it totally puts all those other rock documentaries to shame. It’s one of the best summations of the ‘60s I’ve ever seen.
“Musically, the Stones are top-notch. I love how they changed the guitar riff to Jumpin’ Jack Flash – it sounds so mean. The playback of Wild Horses is beautiful. It’s an early version of the song – it’s very different from the final cut that’s on Sticky Fingers – but it’s gorgeous.
“And the Stones weren’t afraid to look bad at times, too. In that Wild Horses scene, Charlie Watts is nodding out, and then he notices that he's being filmed, and he just stares at the camera for the longest time. He so does not want to be filmed. And there’s the bit where Jagger has to confront his own bullshit; he’s watching a film of himself during a press conference, and he knows he’s just talkin’ shit, and his response to himself is ‘rubbish.’ It’s pretty daring. They weren’t trying to create this myth around themselves.’”
Alternate: Montery Pop (1968)
“The flipside to Gimme Shelter is the happiness and sunniness of Montery Pop. I actually saw it on a double bill with Gimme Shelter last year, and by the end of Montery Pop I was totally sick of those kids. At the same time, I was happy because I knew that some of them were gonna get killed in Gimme Shelter.
“Depending on which way you want to pair the movies, it’s a palette cleanser either way. But Montery Pop is perfect for the Otis Redding stuff alone. If you get the Criterion Edition, it’s got the entire Otis Redding performance on a separate Blu-ray DVD, and it’s exceptional. It’s one of greatest rock performances of all time. I’m amazed that he was so young at the time. He comes on with such authority, and he’s such a man. You can’t believe that he was only in his mid-20s.”