Fortunately, I don't think most of the rock stars of this psychedelic era (or the present) had that snobbish attitude we hear in the opening minutes of this great episode.
I'm referring to Bono's elitist opening lines: "I think that was the difference with the '60s is that people didn't care to explain themselves," says Bono. "If people didn't get it by then, they weren't invited." As one who went through this "hippie era," this Episode Six sure brings back memories. This was a time like no other time in history. And nowhere, as it is pointed out in this episode, was it more demonstrated than in San Francisco (with London a solid second). San Francisco has maintained its Far Left attitude, too, to this day.
Paul Kantner of The Jefferson Airplane sums up a lot of the atmosphere and culture of the times here, with some interesting observations. He got the most air time among the interviewees, so the producers of this series apparently felt he had the best things to say about his era.
Everyone interviewed here was "anti-establishment." When seen interviewed in the late '60s, they were all actively promoting the use of drugs. "The more people who turn on, the better," says the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh. He's almost straight-looking compared to "Wavy Gravy," one of the Merry Pranksters, who was still around for the later interviews for this Time-Life series. He still looks nuts. (Read Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" to find out who the Pranksters were.)
Sadly, a number of these rock stars overdid the drugs and died. The losers were us, the rock fans. Imagine what unique sounds Jim Hendrix could have given us the last 35 years? In fact, this topic is discussed in the last five minutes of this show. David Crosby admits the messages of the '60s - although a lot of them good - did go wrong regarding drugs. All of them - and us - miss the music talents of people like Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon and others who all overdosed and paid the ultimate price. Jerry Garcia has a number of interviews here, and he's always interesting, too. His guitar sound also is very much missed.
The way people looked and dressed was a shock back then, and still looks a bit outrageous, when you see them as shown here on this DVD. It was a chaotic period, as Kantner notes, but it sure produced some great rock 'n roll music and an extremely colorful era.
I thought I knew most of what went on with all the festivals, beginning with Woodstock,of course, but I admit I did not know of all the hostility at the huge Isle Of Wight concert. That was pretty shocking. Fans booed, hissed, ranted, raved and were mad protesting that the performers, promoters and such were "capitalist pigs" for charging money for the concert. Apparently the mindset among this new culture was that everything was free - free love, free drugs, free concerts, etc. It was odd to see a tearful Joni Mitchell and a few others on stage trying to deal with the hostile crowds.
Overall, it was fascinating to see a lot of these rock icons of the '60s and early '70s reflecting about the era now in these 1994 interviews. What I hated to see was that every one of these singers had a cigarette in his or her hands.
Warning to those people wanting to show their kids this episode: there is quite a bit of nudity and Peter Townsend of the Who gives us a lot of f-bombs.
Snippets of the following songs and performers were seen on this disc: "Somebody to Love" by The Jefferson Airplane; "Tell Mama" by Janis Joplin; "China Cat Sunflowers" by The Grateful Dead; "Foxy Lady" - Jimi Hendrix; "When the Music's Over" - the Doors; "Up on Cripple Creek" - The Band; "Street Fighting Man" -Rolling Stones; "I Feel Free" - Cream; "Baba O'Riley" - The Who.
From the famous Woodstock concert, we see footage of "Handsome Johnny" by Richie Havens; "Fixin' to Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish; "Soul Sacrifice" - Santana and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" - Crosby, Stills & Nash; "Down By the River" - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; "Big Yellow Taxi" - Joni Mitchell; "Voodoo Chile" - Jimi Hendrix and "Touch of Grey" - The Grateful Dead.
Overall, this is a very intense part of this 10-disc series and probably the most entertaining of the lot.
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