We Need A Summer of Love
I. Randolph S. Shiner | Del Mar | 01/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got disc one from Netflix to play BluRay. This is pure genius on every level. If you read the Criterion Collections essays [...], you'll see that the bulk of the performers were merely experimenting with the new form -- rock and roll -- because most of the performers (Mamas and Papas, Janis Joplin and others) came directly out of, and were influenced heavily by the folk movement, blues and, of course, Jazz. What resulted was just magic on every level. Check the setlist. Check the performers. To see Hendrix perform The Troggs "Wild Thing" and then to light his guitar on fire after making love to it was unbelievable. To understand that before this concert that Hendrix was an unknown who had been riding the chitlin' circuit for years, to get transformed into a guitar God is hard to imagine in light of the reputation that he built for himself in the next three years of his life before it was cut short by addictions to herion. The same was true with Janis Joplin. To see The Who bash apart their instruments was their way of performing destructive art, a concept that I understand intellectually but not emotionally, not that it matters -- this was the world 40 years ago, a world whose relative innocence we could somehow all relate and the time when 50s social mores were out the window and, as of 1967 and this first rock festival, the death of JFK was ever-present on the minds of young people and artists as was the US' growing involvement in Vietnam, and despite President Nixon's attempts to control it all starting in 1968, society was in fact just up for grabs and music, relevant then like never before or since, drove the movement. Maybe it's why Woodstock, in 1969, was such a raging success. Had it not been for Monterey, there would have been no Woodstock. Music was power.
The Blu-Ray transfers are, in a word, magnificent. The video is as clear as full of life as you could possibly imagine and the audio, remastered into DTS HD Master Audio is a revelation, and makes the whole experience that much more present, which is to say that you feel like you are there, albeit through the 16mm lenses of the Pennebaker camera crew, who did a wonderful job of filming not only the artists on stage, but those same artists sitting in the audience enjoying the music themselves. There is a shot of Mama Cass after Janis Joplin sings "Ball and Chain" that is just priceless. As always, it's the cameraman's eye for detail like this that make small moments in a film that much more special. I was, however, dismayed to learn that the Grateful Dead's performance was, in fact one of their best performances with everybody dancing and grooving in the aisles. But no video. No audio. I'm going to get the second disc and when finances allow, this will become a treasured piece of my video collection. I was only 6 for the bulk of 1967, but for some reason feel a deep connection to this music. Perhaps it's because the crop of artists that were here in America then, dominating popular music, were so many. What passes for pop music these days is just a travesty of all that these very excellent musicians put into their music, body and soul, those things that are sadly lacking today, when pop music is too often all about celebrity and not art. This is art. Five stars. And if I could give it six, I would do that. All I have to say is: enjoy it."
jlev | 02/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i actually got this dvd as a present for my parents for xmas, they asked for it, but i wound up watching it the whole break. i couldn't take my eyes off of it. not only are each of the performances amazing, to see how they shot concerts back then on film was very interesting compared to the big multi-camera video of today. anyway, a must see!!!!"