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Shake!: Otis at Monterey (1987)

Documentary on Otis Redding's performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

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Documentary on Otis Redding's performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

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16 October 1987 (Denmark)  »

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tender and FAST
13 May 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For a while I didn't know a lot of Otis Redding's music. What a fool I was! A song like "Try a Little Tenderness" is one of those songs that I just knew growing up, it was around here and there (and of all places it was featured in that forgotten 2000 movie Duets). But Redding's set at the Monterey Pop festival may get somewhat overlooked when compared to some of the other major highlights of that festival, which are among the most iconic of any time - Hendrix smashing the guitar on fire at the end of 'Wild Thing', The Who's performance, Ravi Shankar - but Redding is no slouch when it comes to putting on a show; on the contrary his enthusiasm and energy is infectious.

Do I think he's quite as talented as those others I mentioned? Maybe not quite, but does it matter? The man and his band (including people who would go on to be in the Blues Brothers, Donald "Duck: Dunn is unmistakable) perform in this little 18 minute extra - included along with Hendrix's full performance as documented by DA Pennebaker and his collaborators - and it includes two covers ("Respect", which he originally wrote and sings the s*** out of like his life depends on it and "Satisfaction", a decent cover that builds and ebbs and crescendos) as well as some original tunes. You know you're in for something at least compelling when the man starts off by having the audience respond and yell with him "SHAKE!" and then goes into the rest of his numbers. Even on the slower song he really reaches down deep to bring out the soul that's right there, all the way so that it's 200% at maximum capacity soulfulness.

In other words, Shake! Otis at Monterey is not to be overlooked when in the scope of the rest of the artists at that festival. Also, Pennebaker brings a montage with the 'Tenderness' number of a whole slew of faces of women (and some babies and small children) and it creates a wonderful compliment, as if he's singing to ALL the women at the festival - which, of course, at that time, might as well have been their whole world.


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