Monterey – Over three days at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center, another chapter in the history of the Monterey International Pop Festival was written. “It Happened in Monterey” has a deeper meaning than it did before.
Twenty-four bands took to the historic stage where, in 1967, Jimi Hendrix played like a demon and burned his guitar, Otis Redding turned on the “Love Crowd” to his intensely delivered soul music, and singer Janis Joplin, who delivered a second performance that she wanted included in the film “Monterey Pop.” With that second performance she now lives on forever.
The 50th anniversary Monterey International Pop Festival had an overall solid lineup, and some artists brought their best performance, but at the time of this writing Sunday afternoon no real barn-burning moment had occurred. Performances that stood out came from Leon Bridges, Father John Misty, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Jim James, and Jamtown featuring Cisco Adler, Donavon Frankenreiter and G. Love. This is all up for debate, of course, and debates did happen quite a bit over the course of the festival.
What was really special were the tributes that were sprinkled throughout the festival. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” got two renditions delivered. Eric Burdon did his “Monterey,” although in a way that didn’t really deliver the punch of the original recorded version. ALO did The Who’s “My Generation,” which James was expected to do, but he decided “For What It’s Worth” was a better choice. Nikki Bluhm delivered Jefferson Airplane’s two biggest hits to end her set with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit.” Mostly the classic songs were received warmly by the crowds assembled to celebrate the history, enjoy the music and have a great party.
Saturday brought out the biggest crowds pretty much all day, although Sunday was catching up when the culminating bands’ countdown to the end…