On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love, the first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forwardcapturing a decades spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. Monterey would launch the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, but they were just a few among a wildly diverse cast including Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, The Who, The Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar. With his characteristic vérité style, D.A. Pennebaker captured it all, immortalizing those moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend destroying his guitar; Jimi Hendrix burning his. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive document of the Monterey International Pop Festival ever produced, featuring all three films of the FestivalMonterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Montereyalong with nearly every complete performance filmed by Pennebaker and his crew.
The Monterey International Pop Festival, the three-day event staged in 1967 that has become one of rock music's most famous and in some ways greatest concerts, gets the royal treatment with this three-disc boxed set.
Material on two of the three discs has already been widely available. Monterey Pop, D.A. Pennebaker's 79-minute, 1968 film, effectively sets the scene for the festival, which took place during the fabled "Summer of Love," when the hippie ethos was in its fullest flower, especially on the West Coast. And while not all the featured performances are thrilling, those that are--principally by the Who, Jimi Hendrix, and the amazing Ravi Shankar--are worth the price of admission, especially in the high-definition digital transfer and new 5.1 mix seen and heard here. The same can be said for Jimi Plays Monterey and Shake! Otis at Monterey, which appear in the boxed set on a separate disc and provide a much fuller look at Hendrix's and Otis Redding's incendiary sets (literally, in the former case).
Those two discs are also loaded with bonus features, including audio commentary by Pennebaker, festival producer Lou Adler (on Monterey Pop), and author Peter Guralnick (Shake!); audio-only remarks by some of the performers; photos; trailers; and other material. There's also a substantial booklet, filled with essays and photos. But it's the third disc, "The Outtake Performances," comprising some two hours of music that didn't make the final film edit, that will be of most interest to many viewers. The disc supplies a taste of some of the artists who didn't appear in Monterey Pop at all (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Quicksilver Messenger Service), and a more complete look at some who did (the Who, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas). A nice addition to an already very impressive DVD collection. --Sam Graham