‘The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus’

Video and CD Release Date: 14th October 1996: 

See the full cover

DVD Release Date: October 12, 2004
Run Time: 63 minutes

Filmed at Intertel Studios, Wembley,
Middlesex, December 11-12, 1968.

Mick Jagger’s introduction of Rock And Roll Circus
Mick Jagger’s introduction of Jethro Tull
Keith Richards’ introduction of The Who
Charlie Watts’ introduction of Marianne Faithfull
Mick Jagger’s and John Lennon’s introduction of The Dirty Mac
Yer Blues (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) by The Dirty Mac
Whole Lotta Yoko (Yoko Ono) by Yoko Ono, Ivry Gitlis and The Dirty Mac
Jumping Jack Flash  
Parachute Woman  
No Expectations  
You Can’t Always Get What You Want  
Sympathy For The Devil  
Salt Of The Earth 

The Stones were off the road for nearly two years when they decided to do this film showcase in December of 1968, and then promptly shelved it. As it turns out, they get some competition in their own 1968 showcase from the Who, Taj Mahal and John Lennon. The movie looks like it was shot for television (which it was), so the color isn't what one would hope for; and as a feature it recalls Renoir's The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir (another circus based showcase, done around the same time), except this has rock & roll in it. We glimpse the early Jethro Tull miming to the pre recorded track of "Song for Jeffrey" (with future Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi subbing for Mick Abrahams); The Who, in their top pre Tommy form, doing their mini opera "A Quick One" (a clip that the Stones have allowed out before), providing a great showcase for Keith Moon's scene stealing antics and not enough of John Entwistle; the oft forgotten Taj Mahal, sounding more like the Spencer Davis Group than the Spencer Davis Group could, rasping his way through "Ain't That a Lot of Love," which sounds like an improved version of "Gimme Some Lovin'"; Dirty Mac, the name given to the John Lennon Keith Richards Mitch Mitchell Eric Clapton super group doing a killer version of "Yer Blues"    Lennon's work shows just how good he was on stage even after a two and a half year layoff from concerts; Marianne Faithful (in the only really good looking sequence, introduced by Charlie Watts) doing her best Edith Piaf inspired work on "Something Better," the B side of "Sister Morphine"; the playing on Yoko Ono's spot is fine until she starts singing. And between it all we get some broken down circus acrobatic and fire eating acts.
The Stones' portion is better than articles about the Circus over the years have led one to believe. The band is in top form throughout, though perhaps not as animated as they might've been if this performance had been shot at, say, one o'clock in the afternoon instead of one o'clock in the morning. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" gets only its second live performance, and Jagger and Richards swing right into their first formal concert in two years, ripping through their best single in three years. "Parachute Woman" is a song the Stones otherwise didn't do much (or at all) on stage, and it's so good here, that it makes one wish they'd been able to play more concerts during the Beggars Banquet era; Brian Jones plays slide on a Gibson Firebird 7 for "No Expectations," this very last contribution to the group, while Keith strums an acoustic    his contribution on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is more tenuous; "Sympathy for the Devil" gets a beautifully dramatic introduction, and the performance here combines the best components of the studio original and the vibrancy of the Stones' performances on their 1969 tour. Finally, "Salt of the Earth" not only works well as music, but consciously parodies the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" video, which Jagger appeared in. The laserdisc is mastered in AC 3, with sound that matches the CD version and a picture so sharp that you can see dirt on the camera lenses. The videocassette is less sharp but still a worthwhile investment    musically and visually, this is much more than a 1960s artifact


10th   12th December1968: London, Intertel Studios.
                   Shooting of 'The Rolling Stones Rock'n Roll Circus'. Director: Michael Lindsay Hogg.
                   Music produced by Jimmy Miller; recorded by sound engineer Glyn Johns with the Olympic Mobile Recording Truck.
                    Rehearsals were made on the 10th December, recordings on 11th and the wee hours of the 12th December.
                     various announcements by all members of The Rolling Stones
             Rehearsals MJ & John Lennon, Eric Clapton 10.12. (all unverified):
                     It's Now Or Never (di Capua/Aaron Schroeder/Arthur Gold) Peggy Sue (Buddy Holly/Jerry Allison/Norman Petty)
                     Hound Dog (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller) Lucille (Little Richard/Al Collins) Sweet Little Sixteen (Chuck Berry)
                     Yer Blues (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)  vocal duet MJ/Lennon only
            Dirty Mac (Super group):
                    Jam (KR/John Lennon/Eric Clapton/Mitch Mitchell) Yer Blues 1 (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)  “feel like Dylan’s Mr. Jones“ version
                    Yer Blues 2 (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)  “just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones“ version; official released version
                    Whole Lotta Yoko (Yoko Ono)  Yoko Ono on vocals, Ivry Gitlis on violin
                  Line up: KR (bass)/John Lennon (gtr, voc)/Eric Clapton (gtr)/Mitch Mitchell (dr)
            Rehearsals Rolling Stones:
                    Route 66 (Bobby Troup)
                    Confessin' The Blues (Walter Brown/Jay McShann)
                    Jumping Jack Flash
                    Look On Yonder Wall (James Clark)
                    Walkin’ Blues (Robert Johnson)
                    Parachute Woman   
                    You Can't Always Get What You Want
                    Sympathy For The Devil
                    Love In Vain (Robert Johnson)
                    No Expectations
                    Salt Of The Earth
             The Rolling Stones set:
                     Jumping Jack Flash  
                     Parachute Woman  
                     No Expectations  
                     You Can't Always Get What You Want  
                     Sympathy For The Devil  
                     Salt Of The Earth    playback with live vocals by The Rolling Stones and backing vocals by many spectators.
                   Additional musicians: Nicky Hopkins (p)/Rocky Dijon (perc)