A fun, short time capsule into the height of the hippie movement that stands as being both timeless and dated; showcasing the best and worst of that era's music, cough Country Joe cough. It doesn't have the emotional weight of Gimme Shelter, but it is electrifying, even if all Pennebaker had to do was to point the camera at Hendrix, The Who, Otis or Ravi Shankar (I honestly think he outperforms Hendrix to a degree).
A vital, anarchic document, high on music, color, and god knows what else. Seeing Janis, Otis, Jimi, and The Who perform is astonishing: they seem not only to play the music, but be possessed by it. But now that the Summer of Love is history, I find the brief moments where we get to know the faces in the crowd—seekers grasping brief idealistic transcendence—to be more interesting/provocative than half the numbers.
The greatest rock festival of the 1960's, by the greatest rockumentarian of the 1960's. The whole thing is amazing, the performances, the crowd, but just look at Mama Cass's reaction when Janis Joplin finishes "Ball and Chain". Wow, she's saying. Me, too, WoW. Also featuring Jimi Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane, Hugh Masakela, Ravi Shankar, Otis Redding, The Grateful Dead, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Who.
The twenty minute sitar jam at the end of the film is indeed worth standing ovation, but, especially with today's attention spans, is very arduous to get through, especially sober. This film stands as a great monument to an era, one in which I wish I were around to have participated in.