Between April 1st and 5th, the Rolling Stones’ classic 1968 long-unreleased Rock And Roll Circus TV special will play on the big screen in select cities nationwide. The special was shot at London’s Twickenham Studios on December 10th and 11th, 1968 and was originally envisioned as being a holiday special for the Stones to promote their latest album, Beggars Banquet. The program featured the band’s final performance with Brian Jones, along with along with performances by the Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal, and the Dirty Mac — a one-off supergroup with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, the Stones’ Keith Richards, and Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Not only was it Lennon’s first gig apart from the Beatles, it was also his first live appearance with Yoko Ono, when she joined the Dirty Mac for an impromptu jam.
Many reasons have been given as to why the Stones eventually shelved the show — but the main one seems to be that the Who was reaching the peak of their performing career and were caught while limbered up from an exhausting series of UK dates. Simply put, the Stones’ ragged set was completely upstaged by Lennon’s first solo performance and the Who’s incredible run-through of their 1966 mini-opera “A Quick One While He’s Away.” To underline the fact that the Stones were not at their best, plans were in motion shortly after for the Who to purchase the rights to the special and release it as The Who’s Rock And Roll Circus.
According to the official announcement, “The live concert special’s restoration has been sourced from the 35mm internegative and will be presented in both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound. The Dolby Vision laser projection system delivers astonishing brightness, incomparable contrast, and captivating color that more closely matches what the human eye can see. Dolby Atmos places and moves sounds anywhere in the Dolby Cinema, including overhead, to make audiences feel they are truly attending The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus. Together, Dolby Cinema’s combination of powerful image and sound technologies creates an engaging, multi-sensorial cinema, and concert, experience for viewers.”
Mick Jagger spoke about the sad deterioration of Brian Jones in the last few years of his short life: “Keith and I took drugs, but Brian took too many drugs of the wrong kind and he wasn’t functioning as a musician. I don’t think he was that interested in contributing to the Rolling Stones anymore. You certainly didn’t know if he was going to turn up and what state he was going to be. . . and then, what was he going to be able to do in that state. What job could you give him?”
For theater information, log on to: rockandrollcircusthefilm.com
Photo Courtesy of ABKCO/Atco