29 December 2017

THE CRITERION COLLECTION PRESENTS: MONTEREY POP. (1968) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.



MONTEREY POP. (1968) A DOCUMENTARY FILM BY D.A. PENNEBAKER. STARRING SOME OF THE BIGGEST ROCK MUSIC STARS OF THE ERA.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I woulda made a great hippy. I've always been into that whole free love and flower garlands, guys with long hair, flared jeans and battered guitars kinda thing, listening to way-out music in a field with someone you love, wearing no shoes and with a psychedelic tulip painted on your face.

I genuinely feel sometimes like I was born in the wrong era. 1967-1975, those were the years I should have grown up in, but I'd be pretty ancient by now if that was the case, so maybe it's better that I'm still the bright young thing I am, lol.

One event I'd love to have attended is the Monterey Pop Festival, a fantabulous one-off rock festival that took place in Monterey, California over the course of three days in June in 1967. Kicking off the so-called Summer Of Love, it became the template for other great open-air concerts such as the legendary Woodstock one a couple of years later. 

Woodstock is the big one, the one that everyone remembers but Monterey was Woodstock's Daddy, geddit? Footage of the Monterey Pop Festival taken by D.A. Pennebaker was made into a brilliant documentary that features the following bands and songs in pretty much this exact order:

Scott McKenzie warbles that quintessential Summer Of Love song, IF YOU'RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO, BE SURE TO WEAR SOME FLOWERS IN YOUR HAIR, while the hippies wander into the performance area, long-haired and smiling and laid-back and open to whatever this unprecedented three-day musical smorgasbord is going to hold for them.

THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS, featuring the larger-than-life beauty of Mama Cass, croon their biggest hit, CALIFORNIA DREAMIN,' while a beautiful hippy female in the enraptured audience really enjoys eating an orange. I mean, she's really enjoying eating that damn orange!

She bites into it with gusto, allowing the juice to dribble down her chin with an almost orgasmic pleasure. Darned hippies, always enjoying life to the fullest, always making love whenever the fancy takes 'em and combing their long beautiful hippy hair...!

CANNED HEAT are up next with 'ROLLIN' AND TUMBLIN,' followed by SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, which folksy twosome play their big hit FEELIN' GROOVY while bathed in a slightly demonic-looking red light. Spaced-out hippies everywhere nod their appreciation of the cheesy graphics, or maybe they're just all stoned out of their f**king gourds, lol. It's not like hippies weren't known for that kinda thing...!

HUGH MASEKELA's HEALING SONG is followed by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and the magnificent Grace Slick in a long white kaftan doing HIGH-FLYIN' BIRD (so that's where Noel Gallagher got the name for his post-Oasis band...!) and TODAY.

Janis Joplin stole the whole show as part of BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY, singing 'BALL 'N' CHAIN' in such a raw, gritty manner that Mama Cass from THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS is spotted in the audience openly mouthing the word 'wow...!'

This performance of Janis Joplin's was career-making and earned BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY an immediate record deal with COLUMBIA RECORDS. Janis was followed by ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS doing PAINT IT BLACK (I thought that that was a ROLLING STONES song?) and THE WHO playing MY GENERATION.

Very annoyed with Pete Townshend for smashing his lovely guitar on stage. That'd be like me writing a review, say, and then f**king my laptop out the window just to show off. His act of appalling guitar abuse was lauded as a moment of pure rock 'n' roll inspirational genius, but I would've given him community service for that, I would. In a guitar factory, putting 'em together, or something like that. Make him re-string a million guitars, see if he still wants to bash their brains out onstage after that...

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH doing SECTION 43 were followed by OTIS REDDING performing SHAKE and I'VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG.

Don't even get me started on Jimi Hendrix who, after a load of guitar trickery and some obscenely suggestive bumping and grinding to WILD THING by THE TROGGS, decides to burn his guitar in a disgraceful act of copy-cattery.

As if it weren't rebellious enough to come onstage dressed in red flared jeans, a hippy headband and a bright yellow frilled shirt, humph. THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, indeed. That guitar is in a nursing home now, completely unable to 'experience' much of anything any more. Pete Townshend's guitar is in the room next door. Never moves a muscle, never says a word. Too f**king traumatised from Monterey, that's why.

THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS pop back again so that Mama Cass can sing about her gut feeling that her bloke is being 'untrue.' To her I say, Missus, if you think he's cheating, nine times out of ten he most probably is. Go with your instincts and kick that slimy mutha-f**ka to the kerb. And don't worry, there'll be another one along in a minute...

After Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar was the big showstopper with a fantastically extended piece of sitar music. That's cross-legged music, as Ned Flanders from THE SIMPSONS might say and we did actually see rather a lot of the underside of one of Ravi's bare feet as he played on and played on as if his life depended on it. A rapturous reception from the crowd led to a well-deserved standing ovation for the super-talented musician.

A load of other acts were invited to the concert but couldn't make it. THE BEATLES declined, THE DOORS strangely weren't invited at all and THE KINKS and THE ROLLING STONES were invited but couldn't get work visas to enter 'Murica.

In the case of THE ROLLING STONES, it was the drugs that debarred them from getting those all-important visas. Nowadays, of course, 'it's all wheatgrass juice and fucking pumpkin seeds...!' (Billy Connolly in STILL CRAZY) but back then, well, if it sat still for long enough, they shoved it up their noses or injected it into their bloodstreams. Tsk, tsk, rock stars. Think they're better than us. Well, they are, but still, really...

Anyway, this fantastic pop festival documentary is available to buy now from THE CRITERION COLLECTION. It comes in three Blu-Ray discs with, like, a million terrific extra features including extra Jimi, extra Otis and two hours of performances not included in the pop documentary itself.

It'll take you right back to the Summer Of Love and the time of the genesis of modern pop and rock music as we know it today. A lot of the stars of the festival have passed away since but their music lives on. By the way, there are two MONKEES and one monkey in the massive audience. See if you can spot 'em. Winner gets a lollipop...


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com






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