By Steve Newton
The infamous concert at Altamont Speedway in northern California, which took place December 6, 1969, is often viewed as “the anti-Woodstock”, its violence signalling the end of the peace-and-love era. A YouTube video that blends footage of the event from the 1970 Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter with the 1972 Blue Oyster Cult song “Transmaniacon MC” makes for some pretty compelling viewing.
“Transmaniacon MC” is the awesome opening track off BOC’s self-titled debut album, and includes references to the concert, “a plot of knives”, and a mythical, soul-taking motorcycle club (MC). The mayhem that unfolded at Altamont—including the fatal stabbing depicted at the 3:03 mark—came after the Stones, on the recommendation of the Grateful Dead, hired Sonny Barger’s Hells Angels to do security.
The payment was $500 worth of beer.
As you can see, by the time Altamont was over people were scrambling to get in helicopters and fly the fuck away. And Keith Richards looks like he just wishes he was in a coffin.
I’m really surprised that this five-year-old clip has gotten less than 12,000 hits. As my 13-year-old son happily pointed out to me, there’s a YouTube clip of a woman sitting on a toilet singing “sittin’ on tha toilet” that’s already garnered more than five million.