The Rolling Stones’ US tour of 1969 culminated in a free concert in the San Francisco area. Being free, the concert drew a larger crowd than anticipated. The Hell’s Angels were used as security. They beat up a number of people throughout the day, concertgoers as well as musicians, and finally stabbed a man to death in front of the stage while the Stones were playing. The Maysles brothers made a documentary of the tour called Gimme Shelter.
I thought I’d try telling the story on animated GIFs, but the Stones’ and Angels’ logos suggested iconography. The knife would be another icon. I scanned through clips of the movie on Youtube. There’s a scene of people climbing scaffolding to get a better view that I thought I might use to represent the crowd. It doesn’t appear that the Stones were using their famous logo at that time, but the singer wears a stars n’ stripes top hat on stage, and an omega on his shirt, so I went with that. I captured a few shots with Grab, a Mac utility, and played with contrast and levels in Photoshop to try to reduce the images to B&W. That didn’t quite seem to do it. I thought of Frank Miller’s Sin City books, which were stark black and white, heavy on the black, with an occasional splash of color.
But it’s more four panels than four icons. I thought instead of representing a crowd I should find something that says “concert,” so I searched for some spotlight clipart. Then I got the idea to combine that with the logos and a knife.
I tried to skew the logos to make it look like they were on the floor, but I wasn’t very successful. I got the spotlight/shadow effect by duplicating the background layer, bringing it to the top of the pile, lowering the opacity and setting the layer blending mode to darken.
It’s just a shot away…