Fifty years on, what Monterey Pop offers contemporary audiences is a powerful reminder of a largely absent world, a glimpse into an era that begat one of the last collective gasps of romantic utopianism of our time.

The first true rock-doc and arguably the best, Monterey Pop preserved a number of remarkable performances by a stellar roster of British and Bay Area bands (namely the Animals, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, and the Who (featuring Keith Moon going apeshit in the chaotic midst of A Quick One While He's Away). Even greater breakthrough revelations were supplied by soul singer Otis Redding and, setting his guitar on fire in the course of performing Wild Thing, Jimi Hendrix. This last spectacle flummoxes Pennebaker enough that he makes a non-sequitur cut to Mama Cass serenely crooning a ballad.


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