Monterey Pop Festival

Criterion ClassicYou know what they say about DVDs, one of the best things about them is the improvement in sound; I would argue a second-best thing (besides video quality) is the ability to jump straight to a scene. Regardless, the format lends itself particularly well to concert videos.

One of the long-awaited reissues: The Complete Monterey Pop Festival is finally here in a 3 DVD set that revisits the historic concert from May of 1967 with loads of additional footage and “groovy” sound quality that will likely “blow your mind.”

Disc One is the original film shot by Pennebaker—featuring a collection of legendary performances and the director’s fine, roving eye capturing all the paisley, incense and peppermint crowd detail you can handle. Disc Two features the entire, incendiary Jimi Hendrix set (Jimi plays Monterey) and the soul-stirring Otis Redding set—two short films originally released separately. But Disc 3 is where fans will really cry “far out!"—because we get a bunch of previously cut performances including: The Byrds (David Crosby tackles the Kennedy conspiracy), Country Joe, Buffalo Springfield, The Association, The Blues Project (now I know where the Beastie Boys “Flute Loop” comes from), The Who, Laura Nyro, Simon & Garfunkel, Quicksilver, Electric Flag, Mamas & the Papas, even Tiny Tim backstage. You also get loads of insightful audio commentary—virtually hours of extra material.

While expensive, this deluxe-packaged set comes loaded with new features and cool packaging (including a drawing/note from the Beatles). And with the new 5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS mix, the concert sounds and looks so good—some of you who were actually at the show or around ‘60s music might finally have that flashback you’ve been hearing about.