At the end of 1968, The Rolling Stones decided, in what was presumably a drug-free environment, to gather some of the greatest rock musicians of the time under a pseudo big top to film what would be called The Rock & Roll Circus for the BBC and a nationwide audience. It never aired as Mick and Keef thought The Stones sounded shit, but it did come out a few years ago on DVD/CD because they don’t appear to care about that kind of thing anymore. The musicians on-hand: John and Yoko, The Who, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithful, Eric Clapton et al. Watching it is like being allowed to go to a cocktail party with your parents when you were six years old—a terrible, yet fascinating display of myth destruction and weird, forced hedonism.
In 2011, there are no myths when it comes to musicians, so the logical update is a spectacular user experience, and over the next two days, January 3-4, at the Lincoln Center in New York City, under the actual big tent of the Big Apple Circus, that’s what you will be offered. The Rock & Roll Circus won’t feature anyone of The Stones’ stature, but it will have an interesting mix of current artists from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner to Japanther to Ariel Pink, who is a sort of mini-circus unto himself. There will be no animals performing tricks, but you will be able to get Asiadogs, which are a carnival of global flavors. Tonight is free, tomorrow (with Pink and Zinner) costs 25 to 30 bucks. Get your tickets now and check the full flyer after the jump.