The first great rock concert documentary by the filmmaker who invented the form. D.A. Pennebaker (who teamed up with Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles, and other filmmakers here), fresh off his Bob Dylan documentary, Don’t Look Back, captured the music and scene of the first real rock & roll festival. The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, which laid the groundwork for Woodstock two years later, offered an amazing array of talent that was absolutely of that moment.
And, as the intervening years have shown, this music stood the test of time: from the young Janis Joplin blowing the crowd away with “Ball and Chain” to an instrument-smashing performance by the Who to the surprisingly soul-stirring showing by Otis Redding.
One particular highlight: the American debut of a little-known rock trio called the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which knocked the crowd out of its seats with a guitar sound that had never been heard before–and culminated with Hendrix setting his guitar ablaze and worshipping the flaming feedback.