Gimme Shelter DVD Details

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Posted by Tim Lucas on 01/30/02 - 14:57:43
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When GIMME SHELTER was first released, the distributor cut the film to get a PG (then GP) rating, in order to make the film accessible to younger rock fans and thus widen its audience. The Airplane's appearance was actually where most of the cuts took place. What was removed was, basically, a shot of a topless, rather abundantly endowed woman shaking her stuff to the music, and some f-words as Grace beseeches the audience to keep cool. The first video releases of the film contained the cut version, but the new DVD restores the cut footage and sound. What the movie delivers, Airplane-wise, is about five or six minutes of the group storming their way through a great version of "Other Side of This Life" -- which is the song disrupted by Marty's intervention with the violence breaking out in front of the stage -- and Paul rather bravely (foolishly?) arguing with a member of the Hell's Angels, who cluelessly tries to blame the violence on the band ("Let me tell you what's happening, man... YOU are what's happening"). If you look at the film closely, you can see that the Airplane's performance was covered by only a minimum of cameras -- the documentary was undertaken as a record of The Stones' tour, of course -- so the visual record of the song's performance had to be completed with footage of the Airplane playing another song in their set -- there's a shot of Jorma thrashing some chords that leads me to suspect it was "Saturday Afternoon," but the substitution is fairly well disguised. The Airplane played several songs at Altamont, but the movie gives you only part of one -- it's a very scary sequence, though, and a classic moment in rock's sociological history. Incidentally, while the DVD presents the Stones' performances in excellent 5.1 stereo (Wyman's bass is a real window-rattler), the Airplane performance sounds like mono. Tapes must exist, though, and I'd love to hear a bootleg of the entire show someday... Stones fans will also want the disc because it contains about four deleted scenes of Stones performances, including a backstage scene of Mick playing Ike Turner's borrowed guitar, while Ike looks on, obviously peeved that Tina is so obviously into this scrawny-assed white boy.  

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