Monterey Pop: Sometimes You Really Can't Go Home Again
The 20-minute Otis Redding performance that fleshes out the DVD is as polished and energized as the one track on Monterey Pop suggested. A different kind of energy from Hendrix, one that relied on polish and the kind of "planned accidents also fundamental to James Brown's stage act, this short clip is all the more tragic for the fact that Redding would die a few months later in a plane crash. Whether brash and brassy on "Shake or tender and soulful on "Try and Little Tenderness, what ties these two short films together on the DVD is the question of where these two artists would be today, had their lives not been cut off so quickly.
Monterey Pop is an intriguing if slightly embarrassing film to watch, because for every good performance there was a weak one; for every outstanding performance there was an outstandingly bad one. But it's still is a well-done look at a time that few today can really imaginewhen people were more open, regardless of the pharmacological reasons, to more and it was possible to bring together combinations of musical styles and be enthusiastically received. Jimi Plays Monterey / Shake! Otis at Monterey, despite its short running time, is even better, because it brings together two of Monterey's best performances.
Both discs, as usual with Criterion, are beautifully restored and feature a variety of bonuses, including audio commentaries, interviews with Redding, Peter Townshend, John Phillips and others, and booklets filled with valuable information to put the event into the context of its time.
Running Time: 79 minutes, original 1:33 aspect ratio.
Special Features: New high definition transfer, supervised by D.A. Pennebaker; New 5.1 mix by Eddie Kramer in Dolby Digital and DTS; Audio commentary by festival co-producer Lou Adler and Pennebaker; Exclusive video interview with Adler and Pennebaker; Audio interviews with festival co-producer John Phillips, festival publicist Derek Taylor, and performers Cass Elliott and David Crosby; Photo Essay by photographer Elaine Mayes; Original theatrical trailer and radio spots; Monterey Pop scrapbook.
Jimi Plays Monterey / Shake! Otis at Monterey
Running Time: Jimi Plays Monterey 49 minutes, Shake! Otis at Monterey 19 minutes, original 1:33 aspect ratio.
Special Features: New high definition transfer, supervised by D.A. Pennebaker; New 5.1 mix by Eddie Kramer in Dolby Digital and DTS; Two audio commentaries by music critic and historian Peter Guralnick: on Otis Redding's Monterey Performance, song by song, and on Redding before and after Monterey; Interview with Phil Walden, Redding's manager from 1959 to 1967; A new essay by David Fricke.