Most of the performances are good, although a little too brief (and some songs are probably edited), which is why I had to dock this review one star. This is more of a documentary of the event than anything else. You'll see the promoters and the crowd get almost as much time on the camera as the performers. The Isle of Wight wasn't exactly Britain's answer to Woodstock (Altamont ended the Woodstock spirit and this is Hippydom's last true hurrah), but still a great festival.
This has poignant moments, like Jimi Hendrix' final performance featuring "Message to Love," "Machine Gun" and "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)," one of the Doors' final performances (Jim Morrison looks sad and out of it) featuring "When the Music's Over" and "The End" and Joni Mitchell bursting out in tears after one rambunctious hippie interrupts her set while playing "Woodstock" (he's lucky he didn't try interrupting the Who's set!). She carries on singing "Big Yellow Taxi." After instances like Altamont, the promoters add security like a metal fence dividing the young teens and adults (some English, some American) who've paid admission and those who haven't and police dogs. So, naturally, there's plenty of arguments between the promoters and the music fans. Due to the war between them, Kris Kristoferson is unduly booed onstage. Folks are too busy trying to get in to listen to the original "Me and Bobbie McGee." Joan Baez, after her performance of "Let It Be" is interviewed. She's honest and says "This is my job, so naturally, I expect to be paid." A humorous moment is Tiny Tim singing via megaphone "There'll Always Be An England." A sad moment is when one hippie says he's given his young son LSD (nowadays, a social worker would probably take the son away from him). It's amusing to see a young thin Ian Anderson perform with Jethro Tull ("Whoever said we wouldn't perform tonight is full of...") on "My Sunday Feeeling" and a young thin Paul Rogers perform "All Right Now" with Free. This is also Emerson, Lake and Palmer's debut performance (each of them celebrates in full flamboyance by Emerson nearly destroying his organ, Lake setting off a cannon and Palmer removing his shirt while performing "Pictures at an Exhibition/Blue Rondo a la Turk"). Fortunately for the freeloaders (nowadays one would find it extraordinary that they would spend a lot of money on crossing the boat to the Isle and not schill out 3 English pounds), the fence is taken down and all hold hands in peace, while a guitar plays "Amazing Grace." You really sympathize with Kerri (one of the emcees), as he bears his heart with the audience that he and the other promoters will have lots of fees to pay for this decision. As the festival comes to end, Kerri later sums it all up when he says "This is the last great event." One of the carpenters looks a little like Jerry Garcia!
An edition with more complete performances would be great in the future. In the meantime, this will have to do. By the way, this is a 2 sided disk (at least my copy is) and if it ends with Joni Mitchell singing "Big Yellow Taxi," turn the disk over and you'll get Miles Davis and the rest of the program.