Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Best Music Festival Ever

Forty years ago this weekend the greatest music jamboree in history was put together mainly by John and Michelle Phillips of Momas & Papas fame and held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California. It became the prototype rock festival - Woodstock copied it's format - and it happened only once. Nothing like it had ever happened before, and in my opinion, since.

Younger people might not recognize the names who performed there, but most of them were giants in the music business or about to become legends. It's even remarkable for who were going to show up but didn't - Donovan, the Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart. It was non profit with the money going to charity.

There's an astounding documentary movie called The Complete Monterey Pop Festival which has to be seen to be believed. It's just jaw dropping in a lot of ways. Not only did the artists put on a really good show but it's a wonderful slice of americana with the camera examining the crowd as well as the performers. Some of them had never gotten a venue like this before and made the most of their appearance. This was the legendary occasion when Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix almost got into a fight as to who would follow who onstage. Townshend won the coin toss but Hendrix, appearing for the first time in america after success in europe, gave such a hot performance that his guitar burned up. (With help from a little lighter fluid.)
You'll want to crank the volume on this one.
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Anonymous expatbrian said...

Ahhh, always nice to find someone of my own heart. I grew up in San Jose, graduating high school in 67. I didn't go to the Monterey Pop festival but did frequent all the nice band venues in the area back then. Fillmore west, Avalon Ballroom, Longshoremans Hall, Continental San Jose Civic auditorium.

Some had two stages and bands would alternate, usually a 4 band show. Many of the legends got their starts in those places in that time. Grace Slick, Janice with Big Brother, Moby Grape, Greatful Dead, Neil Young..list goes on forever really.
Another good watch is the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary concert. Some of the biggest names in the industry come together to sing his songs and pay tribute.
Thanks for the memory.

17/6/07 9:23 PM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

I would have given my left arm and right testicle to see those guys in their formative years, and to have been at Monterey. I grew up in NY though and was this [ ] close to going to Woodstock and didn't, but was at several other big fests on the east coast and Canada.
That doc about Monterey is unbelievably enjoyable to watch, expatbrian, have you seen it?
I've got to own it one of these days.

17/6/07 11:12 PM  
Anonymous expatbrian said...

Gonna see if I can find it and dowload it here. If not, will find it on my next trip across the border into Malaysia...stuff is much cheaper there. Not spamming, but if you want some good memories I posted a music series sometime ago that starts in the early 60s and goes up through the war years and drug music.
To find it, go to my blog and click on the "music" in the category list. Scroll down to the first one which is titled " I know its only rock and roll but I like it". Its at the end I think.
Some of the good old psychadelic band posters in those too.

18/6/07 8:40 PM  

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