The DVD release of this aborted 1968 TV special, first issued on VHS/CD in 1995, packs plenty of additional content as well as a surround-sound mix.
The DVD release of this aborted 1968 TV special, first issued on VHS/CD in 1995, packs plenty of additional content as well as a surround-sound mix. More than a period piece, "Rock and Roll Circus," as participant Pete Townshend recalls in a contemporary interview, illustrates the lasting artistry of the participants, despite the drugs and self-obsession—among myriad other distractions—of the era. Consensus has always held that the Who's seven-minute-plus mini-opera, "A Quick One While He's Away," and the John Lennon-led Dirty Mac's hair-raising take on Lennon's "Yer Blues" upstaged the Stones. That won't change, and the surround mix and digital transfer from original 16mm negatives makes these performances shine brighter still. But Mick Jagger is riveting, and the Stones' performance of such songs as "Parachute Woman" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is enthralling. Bonus content includes audio interviews with Yoko Ono and other participants.—CW