Gimme Shelter has been called "the greatest rock film ever made," but that's a misleading statement. Gimme Shelter is much less about rock 'n' roll than it is about a concert gone horribly wrong. You'll see several major rock 'n' roll acts (such as The Flying Burrito Brothers and Tina Turner) perform at Altamont, but the growing danger as fans spill onto the stage and fights break out quickly becomes the focus. By the time that Jefferson Airplane reaches the stage, the struggles between the audience and the Hell's Angels have become violent. Grace Slick's eyes, wide in horror as she gazes over the audience, speak volumes about the unmanageable situation. With 300,000 audience members packed around a tiny stage and the Hell's Angels angrily standing their ground, Gimme Shelter contains little of the exhilaration of rock 'n' roll. Instead, it contains a growing sense of doom and disappointment. Gimme Shelter is a great movie, but it's also sad and shocking, for as it's story unfolds, the hope of rock 'n' roll dissipates, until by the story's end, it's remarkable that anyone got out of Altamont alive.
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