Jimaroe wrote:Thanks for the feedback, guys. I caught some bits and pieces of a Stones documentary, the name of it escapes me right now. Anyways, the live footage of Altamont was like watching a train wreck, really tough to look away. I gathered from Phil's book that the concert was announced way in advance and that it would be a free show. It all went down hill from there. The venue was established just days before the show, 300,000 people, some interesting security decisions, sounds like Phil had a bad vibe about it from the moment they landed the helicopter. Anyways, the book is good. Dark Star and Home Before Daylight are both on my list. I'll have to check out Cutler's book, too.
The Stones wanted to do a free show in Golden Gate Park so they contacted the Dead who said they'd do what they could to set it up. They got most of everything in place but the key factor was absolute secrecy until the last minute. They impressed on the Stones that in no way should they tell anyone about it. Of course, Mick held a press conference. The city said no way and then they had to find another spot. The Stones also wanted the Angels as security as they had done so in London. London Angels are not California Angels and most of the Angels in the Bay Area were going to a funeral that weekend, so the guys that ended up at Altamont were prospects out to prove themselves. The Angels that the Dead had hung with previously all the knew the bands and never would have done anything like punch out Marty Balin, but they weren't there to keep the young bucks in line.
Anyway, you can see what a preening prick Mick is from this video when they were all waiting for the helicopter to go to the site. The Dead seem like regular guys, no ego, fooling around waiting, but Jagger is all ego and pretension, trying to set up a movie where everyone becomes actors in his little play. You can even see how annoyed Charlie Watt is with him. I've got no use for Mick Jagger.
It's also interesting to look at the contrast between the British bands and the San Francisco scene. There's an account somewhere of George Harrison coming to visit the Haight in 67 or so and he couldn't believe the way the bands lived. The version of Haight St. in London was all high fashion and expensive boutiques, populated with aristocracy slumming it with the hippies. All the bands there aspired to higher social classes and the trappings of privilege it provided. The Dead, Airplane, Big Brother, etc., all lived with everyone else and the Brits considered it unthinkable squalor. The Dead kept it real as long as they could.