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Rolling Stones


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Editorial Reviews


Unavailable at all for nearly three decades, then issued in a VHS edition in 1996, the Rolling Stones' legendary Rock and Roll Circus finally gets the full treatment with this DVD release documenting the 1968 event. The Stones were reportedly unhappy with their performance (hence the long delay), and it isn't their finest moment; performing "Jumping Jack Flash" and a variety of songs from their then-new Beggars Banquet album, Keith Richards is game, but Jagger's preening (especially on "Sympathy for the Devil") is over the top, and guitarist Brian Jones looks dissolute and well on his way to his death the following year. A certain weirdness permeates some of the other musical acts as well: Jethro Tull lip-syncs unconvincingly, Taj Mahal and band were obliged to perform before the circus set was completed and the audience had arrived, and John Lennon's outing with impromptu supergroup the Dirty Mac (with Richards, Eric Clapton, and drummer Mitch Mitchell) is hampered by Yoko Ono's caterwauling, although their version of the Beatles' "Yer Blues" is cool. Still, the Who are brilliant, Marianne Faithfull is beautiful, the various circus acts are fun, and the crowd clearly loves it.


The DVD comes with some fascinating bonus features, including three extra songs by Mahal, some lovely classical piano by Julius Katchen, and a "quad split-screen" version of "Yer Blues." Best of all are a new interview with the Who's Pete Townshend and the various commentary tracks added for the DVD--especially those by Tull's Ian Anderson, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and Stones Jagger, Richards, and Bill Wyman (who dryly attributes Jagger's reluctance to issue the show to his dissatisfaction with his own performance, not the band's). Flaws notwithstanding, this is a treat. --Sam Graham

That being said...it seems to be running on the Video monitor everytime I go into Sam Ash...the parts that I've seen are a HOOT!.. I would buy it (when i get a lttle expendable $$ ;) )
Lynn G
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I own the LaserDisc, so I probably won't be buying the DVD. This was released briefly on VHS and LD about ten years ago, but was mired in ownership and licensing issues before and after.


All the artists contribute something interesting, if not great. The Stones went back and fixed many things in the music, apparently Keith replaced lots of stuff.


Great stuff, and check out the Festival Express DVD coming out soon, and the Tom Dowd and the Langage of Music DVD out already.

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I saw this a several years ago. I think it might have aired on VH-1 or PBS.


During the Lennon thing, Clapton and everyone else's presence is a bit overcast by Yoko's shrieking.


The real surprise for me was to see Tony Iommi playing lead guitar for Jethro Tull! He was playing a right handed Strat, flipped over.


Other than that, I thought the editing was a bit choppy. However, my memory could be flawed.

Vinny Cervoni




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I own the VHS tape of it but haven't seen the new DVD with the extras. The show is great. There are only 2 pieces in the show that bring it to a grinding halt. Mick made the terrible mistake of letting his girlfriend Marianne Faithful do a number that absolutely does not fit. And John Lennon made the terrible mistake of letting his girlfriend Yoko Ono do a number. The Ono piece at first seems like a joke, like she's parodying herself. Then you sinkingly realize this is no joke, and she keeps going on and on. You would think that someone would have had the bravery to confront Lennon with the awful truth ... that his girlfriend (I don't think they were married yet) had the worst voice in history!


In spite of these shortcomings, however, I still say it's a great show.

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Man this is one of my favorite shows ever. The Who are just incredible (although their portion of R&R Circus is also included in the Kids Are Alright film, which for a long time was the only place you could see ANY of the Circus), and the Lennon/Keef/Clapton/Mitchell supergroup is awesome (until Yoko gets onstage of course :D ). It's a snapshot of history unlike anything else.


This thing was VERY hard to find even as a bootleg before they finally released it, but it was worth the 30 year wait. They did a great job of restoring it too. Allegedly, the reason the Stones put it on ice for so long was because they were dissatisfied with their own performance, feeling that the Who had upstaged them. Well after all the Stones were the headliners and by the time they took the stage, they'd been up for 3 days shooting this film. So I suppose they were a bit tired. :D But they were still amazing.


Anyway, all ye lovers of classic rock'n'roll need to see this ASAP if you haven't already.

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It's interesting how many chunks of this have been included in other films and documentaries over the years. Certainly it wasn't in distribution but anyone who wanted a part for their film seemed to get what ever performance, Beatles, Stones, The Who, freaks and circus acts in the goings on about the film showed up dozens of times since this film was shelved.


Personally I thought it was a musical joke and kind of embarrassment of sorts. Other than that it was a perfect picture of what was melting down at the time. More like a Rock & Roll Masturbation.


..two sides to every story


I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.


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