This music documentary is produced and directed by the same filmmaker who brought Monterrey Pop to the screen. It features performances from a 1969 Toronto rock 'n roll festival. The film ...
See full summary »
The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the 'leper Messiah'. This was to be David Bowie's last concert with the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars. A great medley of 'Wild Eyed Boy From... See full summary »
The infamously macho American author shares a 1971 New York City panel with a group of famous feminists and responds as well to a lively critique from other intellectual women in the ... See full summary »
Between 2013 and 2015, a group of nonprofit attorneys seek nonhuman clients for whom they can advocate in two U.S. territories, in order to establish legal personhood for elephants, cetaceans and nonhuman apes in the U.S.
Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company" opened on Broadway in the Spring of 1970, and tradition dictates that the cast recording is done on the first Sunday after opening night. D.A. ... See full summary »
The filmmakers accompany Alan Schneider, director of the American premieres of most of Beckett's plays, and producer Daniel Labeille to the home of Billie Whitelaw, whom Schneider, ... See full summary »
This music documentary is produced and directed by the same filmmaker who brought Monterrey Pop to the screen. It features performances from a 1969 Toronto rock 'n roll festival. The film shows performers Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Alan White, Klaus Voorman and John Lennon and Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band.
Recorded on 9/13/69 at the University of Toronto's Varsity Stadium, D.A. Pennebaker's filmed document of that day's Rock 'n' Roll Revival Festival gives posterity less than 60 minutes of what was supposedly a 12-hour event. Featuring an impressive roster of rock 'n' roll's early greats, as well as John Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band in their only documented performance, the resultant "Sweet Toronto" is most assuredly another feather in Pennebaker's cap, if not nearly as impressive as his "Don't Look Back" or "Monterey Pop." The director has given his film a look similar to that of "Monterey Pop," with numerous shots of the wildly boogying crowd of 20,000 and intimate close-ups of the performers; a pity, though, that the length of the film is so short and the tunes showcased somewhat erratic. As for the music itself, those early rock 'n' roll greats are only given one song apiece to demonstrate their stuff. Bo Diddley opens things with a wildly raucous, fast-stepping, longish version of, uh, "Bo Diddley." The Killer himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, next pounds out a very high-energy rendition of Lieber & Stoller's "Hound Dog." Chuck Berry is his usual duckwalking, athletic self, his "Johnny B. Goode" resulting in a well-deserved standing ovation. As night descends on the stadium, Little Richard appears, bedecked in a mirrored jacket, to provide a short but intense rendition of "Lucille." And then Lennon, in his first live appearance since the legendary 8/29/66 Fab 4 show at Candlestick Park, comes out with his Plastic Ono Band. Sporting long hair and beard, granny glasses and white suit (in other words, looking exactly as he soon would on the cover of "Abbey Road"), he is joined by his new bride Yoko on vocals, Klaus Voormann on bass, Alan White on drums and some dude named Eric Clapton on guitar. One would have imagined that Lennon would be eager to play after such a lengthy hiatus, but strangely enough, his set consists of only eight songs.
First up, the Carl Perkins classic "Blue Suede Shoes," featuring some wicked picking by Eric. Then, three songs that had been recorded by the Beatles: a pretty tough little version of "Money," a short but impressive "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" and, from the "White Album," "Yer Blues," highlighted by some surprisingly great guitar work from John himself. The soon-to-be-released single "Cold Turkey" is up next, during which Yoko caterwauls like a constipated banshee, and a nicely strummed "Give Peace a Chance" follows. The final two songs of the set are the ones that have proved the most problematic over the years for most listeners. On "Don't Worry, Kyoto (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)," John and Eric get into a deep groove while Yoko yodels and screams most impressively, while on "John, John (Let's Hope for Peace)," Yoko engages in even more grating primal scream therapy (of the type that Dr. Arthur Janov would have approved of) while Clapton and Lennon coax some bizarre feedback from their instruments. Equal parts hilarious, excruciating and awesome, this longest number of the set--equivalent, I suppose, to the Grateful Dead's later "Space" segments--brings the festival to a literally screeching halt. I half expected the lights to come up at that point to reveal a completely cleared-out stadium (that WOULD have been pretty funny, right?), but as the sound of Lennon's still feedbacking guitar fades, so does Pennebaker's film itself. In all, a too-short but nevertheless essential glimpse at this pivotal moment in Lennon's career. My advice: Equip yourself with some earplugs and enjoy!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this