Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
Two years before Woodstock, the commercial rock festival was born in Monterey, California, and D.A. Pennebaker, the subject of this year’s See What Happens was there with a small documentary crew. The line-up was eclectic, inlcuding Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Jefferson Airplane and The Who, while a youthful crowd dedicated themselves to the ‘celebration of music, love and flowers’. It’s an amazing variety show, culminating in a mesmerising performance by Ravi Shankar while a star studded audience sit enthralled. Nearly 40 years later the revelatory brilliance of the occasion still shines clear. Monterey Pop can now be heard in stereo thanks to the astonishing work done by Criterion DVD.
“The film is resolutely performance-driven, and iconically so: Michelle Phillips singing inaudibly during “California Dreamin’”, Keith Moon going apeshit in the chaotic midst of “A Quick One While He's Away”, Jimi Hendrix bringing his guitar to multiple orgasm and then administering a Ballardian smash-and-burn.” — Jessica Winter, Village Voice