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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When hippy culture bangs into capitalism
This DVD should be required viewing for any sociologist interested in the 1960s/70s. Here we get a fascinating clash between dopeheads, anarchists and hippies demanding a free concert, whereas their pop music heroes are demanding to be paid before they perform.
Tiny Tim comes off particularly badly, saying to camera that he thinks a free concert is a great idea...
Published on 4 May 2004 by Gavin Wilson

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like being there
Yes, folks. This is it (apparently no better film has been made of the event - correct me if I'm wrong, please). Thirty-nine years after having been one of those dots in that oasis of seething humanity, I've finally been able to see this film.
Now, one reason for not having seen it before was the obvious one -ain't like the book, or in this case, like the real thing...
Published on 29 Dec 2009 by Samuel Pyke


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When hippy culture bangs into capitalism, 4 May 2004
By 
Gavin Wilson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This DVD should be required viewing for any sociologist interested in the 1960s/70s. Here we get a fascinating clash between dopeheads, anarchists and hippies demanding a free concert, whereas their pop music heroes are demanding to be paid before they perform.
Tiny Tim comes off particularly badly, saying to camera that he thinks a free concert is a great idea. But then the concert organiser admits that Tiny Tim won't pick up his ukulele until he gets paid. Joan Baez is more honest and less two-faced about it, but she has no solution to the financial problem. She does expect to get paid.
Eventually the rabble wins and, after clashes with police dogs etc, tears down the corrugated metal fences. Even the concert promoter's spokesman finally admits defeat and says everyone can come in, now that they know they'll never break even.
Sociologists may well wince along with most viewers when one dopehead admits that he gives his young son (who looks about five) marijuana and LSD.
But what a fantastic concert it was. Quite apart from this providing the last ever appearances by Hendrix and Jim Morrison, there were also some superb performances, particularly by the Who. (The interplay between drummer Keith Moon and guitarist Pete Townshend is telepathic.) Free are OK, but they are not well-miked. There is also the humdrum: Rory Gallagher with a very mediocre song, an extended Miles Davis band (which included Chick Corea and possibly Keith Jarrett) providing an excerpt which was all too brief. Joni Mitchell deserved gets two songs on this DVD, after telling the crowd that they are behaving like tourists.
There is the nudity and unscripted on-stage behaviour that you might expect from crowds of the period. But what this film does so well is focus not just on the dirtiness of attending an outdoor concert for several days, but also on the problems of managing the event. Great stuff!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good account of a classic festival, 2 Feb 2004
By A Customer
In short a great title that shows the immensity of the event. Great performances from the likes of The Doors and Hendrix, their last performances in the UK before their deaths, and others such as Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis. Evryone should like something here as the taste is eclectic, as a festival should be. Some may complain that it only offers snippets of sets and some may moan about whats not here, but as a rough guide to what happened this is as good as it gets.
As to be expected of such old footage the quality is not great but the sound holds up surprisingly well. And dont hold your breath for lots of extras, all you get is some extra songs if you watch the whole DVD as one feature rather than choosing individual songs to watch.
Just lay back, shut your eyes and listen. Music how it used to be. How it should be.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating portrait of a legendary festival, 20 Jun 2005
By 
I bought this DVD after attending the revived Isle of Wight Festivals (most recently 2005 headlined by REM), curious to know what made the 1970 festival so legendary, and the last of its kind (more than 30 years passed before the Isle of Wight dared stage another). The sight of more than half a million people crammed onto Afton Down, refusing to pay the £3 to get into the official arena, is amazing. The ever-more-desperate compere, Rikki Farr, trying to explain to the masses that if no-one pays, the bands can't play sums up the conflicting priorities of the time (Business versus Peace & love). This is a very well-made film that gives a real insight into the chaos behind the scenes. In some ways the real surprise is that the show DID go on and so many rock legends of the time shared the same stage. The performance footage is great, and so is the sound-quality. But what delighted me most about this film is that it's a real social documentary of a past era. It makes the slick commercialism of modern-day festivals look very tame indeed.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not how I remember it - but how it was...., 21 Jun 2004
By 
I have to admit that my memory of this festival is a tad hazy. No, not necessarily for the reason you're thinking, but mainly because I was very tired, and kept dozing off. The great thing about this DVD, and the reason for five stars from me, is the atmosphere that it re-creates. And since I didn't pay for a ticket, it seems only fair that I should finally pay my dues (to someone, at any rate), by buying this DVD.
The Who, of course, were top geezers. They always were at live festivals, and their performance here was only topped (in my view) by their gig at the Oval cricket ground. Nice to see Hendrix, who I remember as a wee dot in the distance as I shared a bottle of tizer (honestly) with a lady whose name escapes me.
If you were there, go and buy this to restore your brain cells. If you weren't, buy this to find out why your mum and dad say "Ah, the Isle of Wight - now that was a gig...."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like being there, 29 Dec 2009
By 
Samuel Pyke (Barcelona) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [US Import] (DVD)
Yes, folks. This is it (apparently no better film has been made of the event - correct me if I'm wrong, please). Thirty-nine years after having been one of those dots in that oasis of seething humanity, I've finally been able to see this film.
Now, one reason for not having seen it before was the obvious one -ain't like the book, or in this case, like the real thing! I was under no illusions, but have to admit, that though Murray Lerner (film director) obviously tried to do the best he could to squeeze such a macro-event onto just two hours of documentary, the film disappoints those who presenced the event inasmuch as it leaves out many fine groups and singers and yet dedicates an excessive amount of time to The Doors (a frankly boring clip) Jimi Hendrix and perhaps The Who, though this last case is more justified 'cos they are anything but boring on stage. Where is Family (an exciting live act)? On the box it states: "Performances by...Family, Free, etc...", and then we find that they are nowhere to be seen, with only a brief sound of their song Good News Bad News while the camera is busy with the protestors' efforts to erradicate the metal fences that stop the no-ticket multitudes from getting closer. Why give so much time to acts that have already had so much coverage and can be seen on many other products while eclipsing groups like Pentangle, Cactus, Melanie, etc., or the interesting non-invited artists playing outside the main stage area (Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, etc.)? The answer, my friends, is a-blowin' in the wind.........(did I hear someone mention the word "money"...?). Almost completely lacking are the queues for hot food, the peddlars of beads, candles, incense, sandals, etc, the use of Mother Nature's toilet facilities when faced with the impossibility of getting to a toilet before bursting one's bowels, or the remarkable (for 1970)cliff and beach the other side of "Desolation Hill", where clothing was considered to be totally unnecessary. To sum up, an indispensable document of a singular event but, ...is there really nothing more complete?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Isle of Wight 70, 3 Jan 2005
By 
J. Bodicoat "Digger" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Having seen the documentary on TV about a year or so ago I expected more music content in this extended version. Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed. There are contributions from around 15 artists but most only show one track and sometimes those are cut short. Five artists only provide sound backing during scenes of the crowd, etc (how much I would have liked to see Family!) Overall, an important piece of rock history for those not present at the last great event of its time, and a chance to see snippets of performers who were making final appearances - Hendrix, Doors, Taste, etc.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Producers think our brains are damaged, 12 Jan 2006
I bought this DVD 'cause I'm a huge devotee of late 60's / early 70's era.
I'm highly disappointed. This DVD is good only for someone who wants to know a little more about that field; like it's good for TV broadcast... and nothing more.
Most of the songs are just chunks of originals, and sometimes not even that (Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row", for instance, and Donovan's "Catch the wind"). Miles Davis' incredible "Call it anything" is a matter of seconds (!), not even minutes... Free's "All Right Now" is butchered in the middle of the guitar solo (trust me, I know it - I'm a guitarist), they put together 2 similiar parts (and most people probably won't notice)!
Hendrix, Who, DOORS!!!... all butchered. Doors are the worst. "The end" and "When the music's over" are a shame; these "clips" are for insanes... which work at Sanctuary records.
There is actually no song that hasn't been butchered.
They loaded the DVD limit to the full (7,23 Gb), but on it there are 2 exactly the same movies, only one without comments from the hippies - i.e. straight tracks in order.
Picture is perfect, by the way, but it doesn't count when material is poor.
I'll give this DVD 2 only because my HOPE that soon something better will be out, with great picture and FULL performances! Director Murray Lerner recorded tons of material (check out an excellent Hendrix' performance at Isle of Wight, that is full!), so I just can't accept that all of it will be wasted (ok, Who and one another band are also released).
This is a pure shame.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling document of a fascinating era!, 17 Mar 2005
I have both this and the Woodstock DVD, perhaps the two most legendary festivals of the hippy/rock era. I would say that this festival was ultimately better than Woodstock with a stronger line up of artists. Furthermore, this film is actually more dramatic with the violent confrontations between the security guards with their dogs and the people trying to break down the fences - so much for peace and love! The anger and frustration of the compere Rikki Farr, who tells the freeloaders some home truths about economic realities in no uncertain terms also makes for compulsive viewing. There is also a delightful gallery of elderly English eccentrics at the beginning of the film.
However, it is the bands and artists that really make or break a festival, and it's difficult to imagine a stronger line up of bands at the peak of their game. Hendrix topped the bill on the Sunday, but for me the Who (as always) were the real stars. They just played and played right through the early hours of Sunday morning. What a truly fabulous live band they always were!
The Doors are another of my favourite bands, but Morrison, like Hendrix, was on his way out here, and it shows. It still makes for dramatic viewing though.
I would like to have seen more of Jethro Tull, who were also quite fabulous here. What a perfomer Ian Anderson was! Whilst Family were also stunning. I also enjoyed Free and Ten Years After, but was a little disappointed in Taste. Rory Gallagher was a brilliant guitarist, but I always found his voice a little monotonous, and the material here is rather weak. I have never been a great fan of ELP, but this, only their second concert appearance, shows a band brimming with confidence, and Emerson like Anderson, Hendrix, Townshend and Roger Chapman of Family is a great stage performer.
As with all festivals you do get some boring moments and/or rubbish. Tiny Tim was not even funny as a novelty act and is simply irritating, whilst Kris Kristofferson is boring (he got booed). I have also never been a great fan of Joni Mitchell's voice (although she did write some good songs), but you have to feel sorry for her when her act gets interrupted by a stoned stage invader and her fear and distress are all too evident. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if this guy had dared to try to interrupt the Who in full flight as Abbie Hoffman did at Woodstock!
To conclude, for anyone who is interested in rock music/culture from a fascinating era when rock was still in its relative infancy this DVD is a must. Much better, rawer and far more interesting than the corporate boredom that was Live Aid. Together with Woodstock and the unavailable in region 2 Gimme Shelter, which is the Stones dramatic appearance at Altamont, this DVD defines a fascinating era.
Now when ARE they going to release Gimme Shelter on DVD in the UK?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it just for Jimi., 25 Jan 2012
If you really want to know what it was all about, in those halcyon days of hippies, peace, love, and flower power, then this is required viewing. But first you need Monterey. That was the first widely recognised festival, way back in the day, and that's when the likes of Hendrix and Janis Joplin, were first seen by a big audience, (and Hendrix's first gig to American's - he had to come to England to become famous)! That was when the hippie movement got going, and by the summer, it was 1967. The Summer of Love. Beautiful huh? Put a flower in your hair...
Meanwhile, back in England, we had The Isle of Wight. A couple of concerts in '68 and '69,(and even Dylan)!.. eclipsed by... Woodstock!
And that's required viewing too. More peace, love, and Hendrix!
And so it's on to The Isle of Wight 1970!
No peace and love here, man. I't all about money, artists wanting payment, organisers wanting payment, and the fans. Wanting it for free. And The Stones. They wanted them too. They didn't get them. But they did get a few things better. Like Hendrix. And Jim Morrison.
This concert, is the stuff, along with the other two, Monterey and Woodstock, that legends are made of. But the IOW is 'different' - it's grungy, it's down and dirty, it's starting to suck, and it's Good Old Britain. Shame!
Three or so weeks after this, Jimi was dead. And by 1971, so was Jim Morrison.
So what are you waiting for? You know you got to have it, it's what being a hippie, and peace, and love, was all about. And I'll just mention him one more time, (in case you didn't get it).
Hendrix.
Halycon days indeed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was there but my memory is hazy..., 17 Aug 2010
By 
S. R. M. Ling "The Word" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Over the years, I have read so much about the 1970 Isle of Wight festival - the anarchy, the tens of thousands of festival goers refusing to pay and breaking down the fence, bolshy stances taken by the artists... but I don't remember any of that. Maybe because I and my four friends - Sam from LA, Denny from Philadelphia, Denny From NYC and Dick from Kansas - all actually paid our £3 each for our tickets, laid out our sleeping bags and zipped them all together, and then just stayed there for the next three days, totally focused on the music. We barely slept, we hardly ate, we never washed and we rarely moved. And it was fantastic - Chicago were playing 25 and 6 to 4 as we walked into the site on the Friday evening, an image and a sound that has stayed with me for 40 years. I was a teenager, on the run from home - my family 300+ miles away had no idea I was there - with friends I had met in Amsterdam only a few days before with whom to share this adventure. Virtually every big name you ever listened to was there - Baez, Cohen, the Doors, the Who, Joni Mitchell, Melanie, and of course, early in the morning of 31 August, Hendrix in his last ever appearance in the UK. That memory will stay with me for ever, though probably not for another 40 years... They say that if you remember the sixties you weren't really there, and here we were at the start of the 70s and I just don't remember all that aggro, despite the announcements and pleas from the stage for order. It may have been whatever we were smoking that clouded things, but I think it was more likely just to have been that the music took over. Three days of the best music in the world, ever, lying on our sleeping bags during the day, only ever getting up to make the two-hour trek to the latrines and back... then crawling into them in the evening (no softy camping in tents for us - we were lucky it barely rained), listening to music under the stars for half the night. Forget the so-called aggro. This was heaven, and I feel so lucky and privileged to have been there, at the right age, with the right people, listening to such great music. Enjoy the show!
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