Posts Tagged ‘Monterey International Pop Festival’

Who the a quick live one

The Who’s incendiary live performance at the legendary 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, available for the first time on vinyl LP: Red / White / Blue striped vinyl. Fancy old fashioned high-gloss tip-on style jacket. Printed inner sleeve. The Who’s set at the Monterey festival in 1967, including tales of psychological warfare with Jimi Hendrix, upsetting Ravi Shankar and more…On June 18th 1967, The Who brought what Rolling Stone magazine called their “pulverising music” to the Monterey International Pop Music Festival at the Monterey County fairground, California. As The Who had only just dented the US market, co-manager Chris Stamp agreed to the group playing for nothing. Stamp had recently permed his hair to look more like his hero Jimi Hendrix, discovered LSD and embraced what he called “love and communication… and all that shit.” But he was still compos mentis enough to know this was a good opportunity for The Who.

The Animals‘ frontman Eric Burdon, his Newcastle accent now softened by California or drugs or both, introduced The Who as “a group that will destroy you completely in more ways than one”. Behind him, the band crashed into Substitute followed by Summertime Blues. It was hard to imagine anything more removed from The Mamas And Papas’ passive California Dreaming or anything else played that weekend.

The other acts on the Monterey bill included Country Joe And The Fish, Jefferson Airplane and Scott McKenzie, whose hit San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) was now an anthem for what critics were calling ‘the summer of love’. The stage was wide open for a loud, aggressive group from England.

The Who were due to play on Sunday evening and arrived the day before. Pete Townshend watched Otis Redding work his magic on Saturday night,

Among the festival’s organisers were John Phillips of the harmony group The Mamas And The Papas and The Beatles’ press officer Derek Taylor. The organisers had pledged the festival’s profits to charity, and asked the bands to perform for free. Most accepted, albeit grudgingly, except Indian composer and sitar player Ravi Shankar who pocketed $3,000 for his afternoon performance. The Who tore through Pictures Of Lily, A Quick One, While He’s Away, Happy Jack, and My Generation. Instead of peace, love and flowers, Pete Townshend hacking away at the stage with his guitar, like a lumberjack trying to dismember a log with a blunt axe. In the subsequent Monterey Pop movie, you can hear the gasps from the audience as stagehands rush on to salvage the broken equipment. Ravi Shankar watched the performance and was disgusted by “their lack of respect for their music and their instruments.”

If ever The Who had the opportunity to, as Townshend put it, “leave a wound” it was now. But they weren’t the only Track Records act on the bill. “The Who paid my fare home,” says Keith Altham, who covered the festival for New Musical Express, “but Jimi Hendrix had paid for my flight out.” To add to the frisson, The Who and fellow Track act Hendrix were both due to play on Sunday evening. By then, as many 80,000 people had passed through the gates into the fairground or congregated outside, hoping to see and hear something, anything. The festival had also attracted unprecedented media coverage, with over 1,000 journalists besieging Derek Taylor’s press tent.

“I wasn’t wearing a psychedelic shawl. It was a tablecloth I bought in Shepherd’s Bush.” Roger Daltrey

Backstage, the Grateful Dead’s sound engineer turned chemist, Owsley Stanley, was distributing free LSD trips and Rolling Stone Brian Jones was drifting around dressed like a Regency prince, but looking, as Keith Richards once said, “like a ghost about to leave a séance”. Roger Daltrey recalls Jones joining him, Janis Joplin, The Mamas And The Papas’ Mama Cass and Jimi Hendrix for a jam session in the dressing room under the stage.

recordstore day

“Jimi was playing Sgt. Pepper on his guitar,” said Daltrey. “But, and this was the amazing thing, he was playing all the parts. He would go from a bit of orchestration, to a vocal part, to a solo – the whole thing on one guitar.” The others stood and watched, accompanying Hendrix by beating out a rhythm on anything close to hand.

Others remember it differently. Pete Townshend recalled arguing with Hendrix about who would go on first, as neither wanted to follow the other. At one point Hendrix stood on a stool in front of Townshend to show off on the guitar, as if to say, “Don’t fuck with me, you little shit.” In the end, John Phillips suggested they toss a coin. Townshend won.

This is a Record Store Day 2020 item. It will be available to purchase from 8am 20th June. 

Setlist:
Eric Burdon Introduction
Substitute
Summertime Blues
Pictures of Lily
A Quick One, While Hes Away
Happy Jack
My Generation

All songs written by Pete Townshend except Summertime Blues, written by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart.

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