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The Rolling Stones - Rock and Roll Circus
The Rolling Stones - Rock and Roll Circus
Actors: Ian Anderson, Glenn Cornick, Clive Bunker, Tony Iommi, Pete Townshend
Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2004     1hr 5min

Rolling Stones Photos

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Ian Anderson, Glenn Cornick, Clive Bunker, Tony Iommi, Pete Townshend
Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Creators: Anthony B. Richmond, Robin Klein, Ian Stewart, Iris Keitel, Mick Gochanour, Sanford Lieberson
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Classic Rock
Studio: Abkco Films
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/12/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 5min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 17
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Past Life
Richard R. Carlton | Ada, MI United States | 11/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus was released Oct 15, 1996. It is the long suppressed made-for-TV special recorded 28 years earlier on Dec 11-12, 1968 with The Who, John Lennon, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithful, and Eric Clapton. The packaging is beautiful with a great 42 page glossy color booklet that has all the rare behind the scenes photos and a full account of things leading up to the event. The Who were red hot at the time and easily upstaged the Stones who were still struggling through their first major crisis after the removal of Brian (and his subsequent death) and attempting to figure out how to hold on to their status as the premier band. The Stones refused to release the recordings because their performances were not spectacular. Most reviewers agreed when they finally got to see the film themselves. However, what the film lacks in production (which was obviously amateurish) it makes up for in history. The Stones lackluster set of Jumpin' Jack Flash, Parachute Woman, No Expectations, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Sympathy For the Devil, and Salt Of The Earth are easily compensated by The Who's mini opera A Quick One While He's Away and Lennon and Clapton's Yer Blues. There are also dated period piece interviews with Mick and John and very amateurish introductions by the individual Stones, which when combined with the extremely amateurish set, acting, and cinematography amply demonstrate why this is one for Stones and rock history collectors. The Stones were right, it didn't work for them, and it is good that the release was delayed until it appealed to collectors and would not reflect on the reputation of the band.Most people know the music, so in my reviews I try to give you data on the sessions and interesting facts connected with the songs and the album. Here we go:Interesting notes include:
.....this CD and the companion DVD and VHS releases were the last time Brian Jones performed with the Stones
.....Brigitte Bardot was Mick's original choice for the ringmaster, when she declined, he did it himself
.....Keith wanted Johnny Cash, but he declined too
.....Mick refused to consider Jimmy Page's new band "The New Yardbirds" without hearing their tapes (which were released on their first album "Led Zeppelin")
.....Ivry Gitlis was a great classical violin virtuoso.....he accepted an invitation to perform because he respected Brian Jones
.....John Lennon's temporary supergroup (Clapton, Mitch Mitchel, and Keith) was named Dirty Mac in response to the hottest band of the day....Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
.....the taping started around noon on Dec 11 and ran for 18 hours...when the specially chosen fan audience left at 6AM, Mick and Keith shook hands with most of them and thanked them for comingOther songs from the same show that were recorded for the Circus but which have not yet been released are:
.....Route 66
.....Confessin' The Blues
.....Yonder Wall
.....Walkin' Blues..."
Flawed but Beautiful
Brian J Hay | Sarnia, Ontario Canada | 11/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The performance the Stones gave here is stronger than history gives it credit for being. It didn't measure up to the standard they set a year later when they went on tour in North America though. Jagger, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts were in good form. Keith Richards was strong but doesn't show the sure touch that characterized his work over the year that followed. Brian Jones gave some decent slide work during their performance of "No Expectations" but his presence here was really erratic. His rhythm guitar work on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is strong, but only after he blows a cue badly. In their performance of "Sympathy for the Devil" he seems as if he's barely even involved.

"Jumpin' Jack Flash" gets a good (if restrained) reading. "Parachute Woman" and "No Expectations" are songs that shine in an intimate setting such as what was created here. They don't disappoint. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Sympathy for the Devil" are two of their most enduring numbers. With the exception of the aforementioned cue missed by Jones both numbers get strong readings. "Salt of the Earth" is one of their great anthems. Strong melody, strong arrangement and powerful lyrics: this one has it it all. They appear to have sung it live alongside a backing tape that supplied the instrumental arrangement. It was a long day for everyone involved and Jagger's voice was showing the strain. His voice is really rough through a few of the verses. It doesn't hurt anything though. It adds to the intimacy of the moment and reflects an honesty that's often lacking now.

The best performances come from the Who and Taj Mahal. The Who's reading of "A Quick One While He's Away" is legendary. This footage has been available since the release of "The Kids are Alright" back in 1979 and it lives up to its reputation. Taj Mahal's performance of "Ain't That a Lot of Love" is the tightest musically from any of the performers. The song is a good one. Anyone listening closely will hear forms that dominated much of popular music about ten years later. This bit would be worth a look for that alone. The presence of Jesse Ed Davis should make it a must have. His playing was a model of taste, restraint and technique that has stood the test of time.

Not all of the performers featured had one their "best ever" moments here though. Jethro Tull was a new band at the time and were still finding their form. Marianne Faithfull gets off to a great start but only sings for a minute and a half. After that the instrumental track fades out while she sits there looking angelically blasted. The lady always could sing though. That big minute and a half is well worth watching (even if the way it finishes is strange). John Lennon and his side band the Dirty Mac gave a strong rendition of "Yer Blues" but they look as if they could have used a bit more time to really pull things together. They all read each other's musical cues well enough but the bond that could have been formed by (drummer) Mitch Mitchell and Eric Clapton hadn't really cemented to the point where they could take a thread and run a race with it. Yoko Ono (who crawled into a bag for the first number) ruins what could have been a great jam between the Dirty Mac and (violinist) Ivry Gitlis.

There are other areas where the show fell short. The entry scene is amateurish. Jagger, Richards and the rest are better as musicians than as Masters of Ceremonies. The introductions they provide for the various performers range between poor, lame and completely crippled. The comedy bit between Lennon and Jagger is even worse. Lennon's introduction of the Stones is beyond sad. The sections featuring the circus acts should have been left on the cutting room floor. The quality of the sound is also not as good as it could be. It's clear enough but doesn't ascend to the standard the people who re-mastered the print of "The Kids are Alright" hit when they restored that segment of the footage.

The special features added for the DVD reveal the scope of the ambition that lay behind this project. And they were grand ambitions. It wasn't common to bring classical music to a pop audience but the Stones (probably at the urging of Brian Jones) did it. His enthusiasm for this segment is clear. Katchen plays the Ritual Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla and the first movement of the Sonata in C (K. 545) by Mozart. There are three additional tracks from Taj Mahal as well. The interview with Pete Townshend is Townshend giving the type of overview that's unique to Pete Townshend. He really is one of a kind.

This is more of a time capsule than a concert video. It was filmed for television and the variables surrounding the production reflect that. The stage area is small as was the norm for television. The set around the stage was small as well. The lighting is bright and vivid. The print itself is filled with rich and vibrant pastoral hues. Dialogue between "hosts" and guests is typical of the period as well. The show itself was an intimate one that reflects the pop culture of the era accurately. It's erratic at times but has an honesty about it that's rare in the industry now. There's no lip-synching. The warts were allowed to show. Most of the people who worked together on this show were friends who grew into the industry together. The final moments of the show have a communal feel about them because they capture a sense of that.

Is this show perfect? No. Is it beautiful? Yes."
The only thing missing is Gunther Gabel-Williams
tcbnyc | New York, NY USA | 08/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Why is classic rock considered classic? Pop in this video. See John Lennon and Mick Jagger have tea together and philosophize. See John play the blues with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell and rock so hard that even the musicless shrieks of his bizarre new girlfriend Yoko can't ruin it. See Marianne Faithfull sing an incredibly dated Dylanesque ditty. See Jethro Tull & Taj Mahal before anyone knew who they were. See the Who blow the roof off the tent. And see the Beggar's Banquet-era Stones wrap it up with 5 or 6 tunes and a big sing-along. This concert was recorded in 1968 when Mick was about 24 or so, Lennon was about 28 and it was finally released by the Stones camp a few years back. (Thank you, gentlemen.) Even if you could get the leading musicians of today together - Beck, R.E.M., Eddie Vedder, Pumpkins, etc. for a similar hootenany, it would still fall way, way short. Essential viewing for anyone interested in the glory of rock & roll."
Worth seeing just for The Who
Adam Risch | Silver Spring, Md. | 05/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This tape is worth buying just for The Who's performance of "A Quick One While He's Away", which has got to be one of the greatest live performances of a single rock song ever. Unfortunately, it's followed by Yoko Ono's impersonation of a rusty fence gate as well as a subpar performance by the Stones. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" sounds like it's being played in slow motion, and on "Sympathy for the Devil", an obviously full-of-himself Mick Jagger seems to be more interested in mugging for the cameras then he does in actually performing the song. I've always thought that the Stones were one of the most overrated live acts in rock; and after watching them follow the Who here, it's easy to see why Jagger did not want to release the tapes.

Anyway, besides The Who, there are also some good performances by Jethro Tull (although I've read that their performance of "A Song for Jeffrey" is not entirely live?) and The Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards & Mitch Mitchell deliver a fine performance of "Yer Blues" before being joined by Yoko Ono and violin player Ivry Gitlis; it's amusing to watch Gitlis smirk as Yoko screeches over the top of their jamming). Marianne Faithful and Taj Mahal also perform, but to be honest I found them both to be forgettable.

Aside from the performances, I think this tape is interesting as a snapshot of the time (December, 1968). You get to see a number of rock legends in their prime, and even though not all of them deliver great performances, it's still fascinating to watch."