It was a June weekend of 1967 when the Monterey Pop festival kicked off. It was, for many, the start of the summer of love and one of the most eclectic line-ups seen to date.
The three blu-rays contain a staggering number of interviews, performances and general footage from the festival, all sympathetically restored so you can see flower power in HD colour.
Disc one is the main ‘film’ with the first ten minutes showing the festival being setup and artists arriving and some audience members saying things like ‘groovy’ a lot.
As you watch you begin to see the obvious influence this festival must have had on things like Glastonbury and Coachella.
People slept in sleeping bags on the floor, there were craft stalls, face-painting and people learning how to make craft items too.
You have a choice of audio across the three discs, a ‘standard’, one that’s been enhanced by Eddie Kramer and audio commentary, all of them are impeccable.
Disc one is the main film and features performances from:
There are a few standouts; Janis Joplin is wonderful, as is Otis Redding who engages with the audience like no other artist.
Ravi Shankar takes his listeners on a journey with an epic song that I doubt would have even fitted on a vinyl record it’s so long.
The performance by The Who is memorable for guitarist Pete Townshend deciding to smash his guitar to bits as anxious looking roadies race around the stage trying to save other bits of equipment.
Not to be outdone, Jimi Hendrix decides to simulate making love to a speaker stack, then his guitar, before setting it on fire and finally smashing it to pieces and throwing it into a completely bemused looking audience.
Speaking of which, rather oddly, the audience are sat down, listening to the performances, which must have been an odd experience for the artists. Just people sat there, nodding their head along. They also look stoned or slightly bemused for the most part.
You also have interviews with Lou Adler (festival producer) and D. A Pennebaker (main filmmaker), some trailers, photographs and the festival program.
Disc two is classified as ‘The Outtake Performances’ and features over two-hours of those artists who didn’t make it into the main film as well some additional performances from those that did.
Finally, disc three is split between two amazing performances; Jimi Hendrix, around half an hour or so with a short intro piece. And 20 minutes of Otis Redding’s performance.
Obviously, liking one or more of the bands that played the festival will enhance your viewing pleasure greatly. If you do, then you are in for a real treat. Monterey Pop is a glorious, HD, festival of love. It’s groovy baby.