Thursday, September 23, 2010
When I first saw Monterey Pop, I'm sure I thought it was cool and far out and maybe even groovy. Re-watching it these many years later, for the most part, I have a completely different attitude about the movie.
First up were The Mamas and The Papas doing "California Dreaming" and as much as I enjoy their harmonies on the record, in this performance they just didn't have it together. Canned Heat was up next with some white boy blues doing "Rollin and Tumblin" and this song still held up after all of these years. Third in the movie were Simon and Garfunkel singing "59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)". I've never been a big fan of this duo, either together or solo, but I have to admit their harmonies were as good live as on the record. Next came jazz with Hugh Masekela performing "Bajabula Bonke (Healing Song)", since I 'm really not a fan of jazz, I was very thankful when this song was over. I know I used to like Jefferson Airplane, at least their first few albums, but their first song "High Flyin' Bird" was terrible and their second song, "Today", on which Grace Slick, sang lead wasn't much better....but at least it was better.
Finally a stand-out performance when Janis Joplin backed by Big Brother and The Holding Company perform "Ball & Chain". It was a thrill to see someone so young with so much soul but sad to think of her life being so short. One thing to watch for is when Janis finishes her song and runs offstage, you can see how happy she was with her own performance. Even though Eric Burdon & The Animals diddled around a little too much before getting into the main part of "Paint It Black"....I understand it was 1967 and some diddling was expected, if you wanted to be taken seriously....once they got things rolling it was a great performance. Unfortunately after seeing a couple of good performances, The Who were up next, with "My Generation". I never got that stutter thing in the song and especially always thought the fake trashing of instruments was goofy. They were still worth watching for one reason - Keith Moon pounding the hell out of his drums. To make matters worse, The Who were followed by probably the worst performance in the movie with Country Joe and The Fish doing "Section 43", a terrible waste of film and my time.
Getting the movie back on track was Otis Redding, backed by Booker T and The MG's, showing everyone how it's done with "Shake" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long". Otis is followed by another stand-out performance with The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing "Wild Thing", although the guitar burning elicits the same response in me as when The Who trashed their instruments. The Mamas and The Papas redeem themselves with their second song performance "Got a Feelin" and then the movie closes out with a l-o-n-g Ravi Shankar performance "Raga Bhimpalasi", this finally bored me enough that I had to use the FF button to get to the end of the movie.