In 1970,documentary film maker Murray Lerner ('Festival','Jimi Hendrix At The Isle Of Wight',etc.)and his crew had the good fortune to be able to fly to the south of England,on the Isle of Wight to film the U.K.'s answer to Woodstock,The Isle Of Wight concert. What they got, besides hours & hours of incredible music,was the dark side of the festival,as well (riots,drug bummers,bad vibes,political subterfuge,mostly centered around gate crashers who just didn't want to cough up the three to five pounds to get into the festival,and copped the attitude that "music belongs to the people,man,so we should not have to pay"). All of this footage was assembled into a three hour plus feature film that sadly was pulled from being distributed,no thanks to the power that be,at that time (yeah,I'm talking about the corporate ambulance chasers working for the record companies that wanted a major piece of the pie). As a result,all of that footage sat in a can for twenty,plus years. Flash forward to twenty,plus years later. Murray Lerner's now legendary film of the Isle of Wight concert is trickling out,a little at a time. Here,we get to see Leonard Cohen's four a.m. set. A rumpled,unkempt,unshaven Cohen takes the stage,including his back up band (including a then unknown Charlie Daniels on fiddle,guitar & bass guitar),and manages to have the sleepy eyed crowd in the palm of his/their hand,starting with familiar L.C. anthems such as Bird on a wire,Suzanne,So Long,Marianne,and others. In between songs (and alas,sometimes during songs),we are availed to commentary by the likes of Joan Baez,Judy Collins & Kris Kristofferson,who also performed at the festival,but this does not hamper the film (much,anyway). Fans of Cohen,who are only familiar with his songs within the last ten,to fifteen years will be in for quite a treat. Not rated by the MPAA,this film has some brief,strong language,but little else to offend
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