Found either in The Complete Monterey Pop Festival box set or on its own, both discs present the same supplements and only differ with the booklet.
In its presentation Criterion actually breaks the two films out. From the main menu you can either select Jimi Plays Monterey or Shake! Otis at Monterey and then be taken to their individual menus that include the options to play the movie, go to the chapter or audio options menus, or watch their respective supplements. You can then go back to the main menu by selecting ďMainĒ from any of the menu screens.
For Jimi Plays Monterey we get one of the best supplements on here, an audio commentary by music critic Charles Shaar Murray. Itís an absolutely fantastic commentary track. He talks very little about the film itself, and only talks briefly about the actual Monterey festival, and instead spends most of the track talking about Hendrix himself and his career. He gives a brief bit of information about Hendrixís career and early life (he saves more material for another section of the disc) but his main focus is to talk about Hendrixís performance at Monterey. Itís a quick, often timeís humourous track helped by the fact Murray is obviously enamoured by the musician. He loves pointing out Hendrixís techniques, loves talking about his guitars and his style, and just canít stop praising his performance. Itís an absolutely wonderful track, a real treat.
And I can only assume Murray couldnít contain his enthusiasm during his commentary because Criterion has also included an additional 44-minutes worth of material from the man under Additional Audio Excerpts, which plays in an audio only presentation apart from the film. The film itself is only 49-minutes so Iím guessing this is material that was edited out to fit the timeframe of the film. Iím glad Criterion decided not to dispose of this material as itís all golden, with Murray further getting into Hendrixís personal life, his life in the military, his political views, how he would string his guitar to play left hand, and Hendrixís obvious love the for guitar. Itís a great expansion on the commentary track and is definitely worth listening to.
Next is a short 4 and a half minute interview with Pete Townshend recorded for VH1 in 1987. On Murrayís commentary found on this disc and then elsewhere in the Monterey Pop DVD features thereís mention of an apparent fight that occurred between Hendrix and Townshend on who would perform first. There was suspicion it had to do with the fact both wanted to be the first to destroy their instruments on stage, though here Townshend says he wanted The Who to go first because he feared following Hendrix. Most of the interview excerpt pertains to this with a little about Monterey as a whole. Itís a shame more of the interview wasnít included but I guess Criterion figured it only made sense to include material that had to do with Monterey and Hendrixís performance.
The supplements for this film then conclude with a trailer that is for both Jimi Plays Monterey and Shake!.
Shake! Otis at Monterey is the shorter film, running only 19-minutes, receiving only a few supplements.
This film gets two audio commentaries, both by music critic Peter Guralnick. The first track talks specifically about Otisí performance at Monterey while the second is a brief, quick, 19-minute bit about Otisí early life and career. Unfortunately it pales in comparison to Murrayís energetic and excited commentary track, and at times it sounds like Guralnick may be reading from notes. It actually moves at a leaden pace, stunning for a film thatís only 19-minutes, and offers little in the way of insight I found.
Better is the interview with Reddingís manager Phil Walden. Running 18-minutes he gives a better account of the man with some wonderful anecdotes (such as how Redding helped Walden raise his tuition for school,) Stax Records, and how a European tour led to Monterey. He also recalls freaking out about the psychedelic effects used during other performances and worried how the crowd would react to Otis, but Otis didnít seem concerned and just went out and did his thing. With text notes thrown into expand on certain subjects itís an excellent interview and far better than the two commentary tracks for the film.
The individual release then comes with a slim booklet containing an essay by David Fricke, senior editor at Rolling Stone, who writes about the two performers, their impact, and their untimely deaths, and the release in the box set comes with a thick 65-page booklet containing essays by Michael Lydon, Barney Hoskyns, and Armond White, along with a Rolling Stone article by Jann Wenner, and an intro by Pennebaker. Oddly enough the Fricke essay does not appear in the box setís booklet.
On its own itís certainly not as lavish as the Monterey Pop DVD but when put together with the complete box set itís a great expansion on the festival and the performances there. 7/10