I remember Monterey as a turning point, the beginning of a hope that would have seemed entirely chimerical a year or two before and proved to be exactly that. Yes, that was where I had first seen Quicksilver, the Airplane, and the Dead, but it was also my first exposure to Jimi Hendrix and Al Wilson. I had shaken hands with Brian Jones there and led my piece on the festival with a long tribute to Otis Redding. They were gone too. Monterey was a happy accident, and I no longer placed any credence in its myth.
And yet I attended Monterey Two and participated willingly in the little daydream of California’s pop cognoscenti. The big thing, they all seemed to agree, was to avoid the mob. Keep the numbers down. Shun the mass with its mass taste. Let the city government move in with its decibel-meters. Let it be a one-day affair. Perhaps the sense of that lost promise would be regained, if only for a day or two. Perhaps everyone would have a great time.
But it was only a nice time, a barely pleasant time, because you don’t hedge your bets and gain a great time. The first Monterey produced something bigger than Derek Taylor and Emmett Grogan could have handled between them, namely, Woodstock and Altamont and what the trades refer to as the next billion-dollar business. And the best anyone who wants to be comfortable with all this can achieve is a retreat.
|—||Robert Christgau, “A Musical Weekend” (Village Voice, October 1970; Any Old Way You Choose It, 1973)|