Top positive review
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All you could ask for...
on January 24, 2003
Filmed at California's Monterey festival in mid 1967 at which most of the new San Francisco bands performed, "Monterey Pop" captured the feel of the artists and, equally importantly, the audience at an event that catapulted the West Coast onto the international stage. Problem was that for various reasons, including poor playing & camera-work, a large number of these bands never made it into the released version leaving much of the film dominated by the more established & "professional" UK & US groups such as the Who, Eric Burdon & the Animals, the Mamas & Papas and Jimi Hendrix. But... no matter, because the contributions from Jefferson Airplane (and their superb lightshow lifted straight from the San Francisco ballrooms), Country Joe & The Fish (whose rendition of "Section 43" is a near perfect insight into "hippiedom"), Big Brother & The Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin at her peak) and Ravi Shankar provide one of the few visual records of the San Francisco music scene at the time.
So, if you're interested in finding out what was happening see the original film. But if, like me, you already have it, or if you're just more curious, then this expanded 3 disc DVD edition is just about all you could ask for, and probably all you're ever going to get. Sure, the film quality on several of the additional sequences is poor but hey, you get a further two hours of performances - including Al Kooper, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield (with David Crosby & without Neil Young), the Association, Laura Nyro and Electric Flag, none of who were included in the original film, and... additional numbers from artists who made it into the original, including Country Joe & the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkle, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Who and the Mamas & Papas. Plus... a further hour featuring the full sets from Jimi Hendrix (simply electric!) and Otis Redding.
In amongst what totals over four hours of music, you get much good and some bad - this was 1967 and many of these groups were still finding their way - but as a comprehensive insight into both the festival and the mid 60's "underground" scene it's unbeatable. And... to top it all, the comprehensive booklet included in this boxed set includes several lengthy reviews of the event, and the background to it, that put it all into context. Wonderful stuff...