The Library of Congress has published new found footage of the Altamont festival and the Stones gig there.
Sadly, there’s no sound, just the views that this cam recorded. But nevertheless it’s a document and a fresh look at that event that would show us, that the hippie dream, as beautiful and strong it might have been, found it’s dark side and lost most of it’s drive.
Altamont was a scary scene. It’s just the folks, the Angles and the band. No security anywhere. I find, the band really had balls to play that gig there, while the chaos all around grew and the bad acid took it’s toll. Sure enough they played their set. They couldn’t leave the place anyway. Ok, they finally got out via helocopter, overloaded. But before, they had to face that mayhem and they clearly could feel what was happening there. Before, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had played. The Greatful Dead also were scheduled, following CSNY, but declined to play shortly before their scheduled appearance due to the increasing violence at the venue.
It’s well documented that after the crowd (perhaps accidentally) toppled one of the Angels’ motorcycles, the Angels became even more aggressive, including toward the performers. Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane jumped off the stage to try to sort out the problem, only to be punched in the head and knocked unconscious by an Angel during the band’s set. There was no way to control it, no supervision or order.*
So then the Stones were the next to play. … Scary. … To enter the stage at that time… I bet they’ld have prefered it to leave that place then. I would. But they played. Actually, to leave was no real alternative – what would have happened then to the tousands waiting there for so long? So they played. Brave english boys, as I see it. Keith once mentioned “… I’ve seen the dogs running on stage …” telling us that in his experience, he’s seen it all. But that particular phrase corresponds to Altamond, where you can actually see in the movie (Gimme Shelter) the German shepherd dog just running disoriented across the stage during their gig there… see it at 1:12:40 from the video linked above.
So now we have new footage found about Altamont. And the Library has published it! So have a look (again, there’s no sound, just the pictures).