In September 1969, The Rolling Stones gathered in the Los Angeles hills to prepare for their American tour. The sixteen people, including the Stones, are an eclectic group from Sweden, England, Scotland, and all corners of America. They share meals, rehearse, play with their children. Despite the intimate beginnings, it will be the largest tour of the time; the latest wave of the rock & roll explosion.
Photographer Ethan Russell photographs every facet of the Rolling Stones on the road. The quiet moments back stage, tuning, resting, preparing. Greeting other legends: Chuck Berry, B.B. King. The long waits in airports, hotels, laughing around a Vegas poker table. The intimacy carries into the shows. Night after night, the Rolling Stones propel ecstatic crowds, arms outstretched, to the lip of the stage, only four feet high. The tour comes to an end, a huge success, with only the added free concert waiting on December 6th. Altamont.
Altamont was intended to be the West Coast's answer to Woodstock. A quick negotiation, a last minute change of venue, and a fateful decision about security all played into its unraveling. By night's end, musicians and fans alike were beaten by the Hells Angels.
A dangerously overloaded helicopter carted the band and its entourage away after a man was stabbed to death while pointing a gun at the stage. It was the concussive end to the tour, and many say the end of the Sixties.
See this whole story unfold in these beautiful photographs by Ethan Russel.
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