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Monterey Pop Festival Brings Collaborations, Tributes at Historic Anniversary Celebration

June 19, 2017

Monterey Pop celebrated fifty years since its historic inaugural event that brought the likes of Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and The Who (among others) to California with a return to the same very site this weekend. The festival recruited original performer Phil Lesh to top the bill with the Terrapin Family Band and a number of other contemporary artists, some of whom payed tribute to the inaugural event. 

On opening day, Charles Bradley hit the stage with his Extraordinaires for a set highlighted by a nod to Otis Redding with "Dreams to Remember/Pain in My Heart." Langhorne Slim & the Law did their part to pay tribute to the 1967 event with a version of Canned Heat's "Going Up the Country" and Leon Bridges also covered Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" with Nathaniel Rateliff before bringing out Father John Misty on a closing singalong of "Mississippi Kisses." 

Day two was highlighted by Jack Johnson's guest-filled set as he welcomed out Norah Jones to duet with him on Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" and also collaborated with My Morning Jacket's Jim James on The Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon." Later in his set, Johnson and G. Love teamed up for "Mudfootball" and "Rodeo Clowns." Johnson also nodded to Jimi Hendrix with a cover of "Foxy Lady." 

Earlier in the day, James brought his solo band to the stage and delivered a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth." Jones also peppered in a number of covers such as Neil Young's "Don't Be Denied" and original artist the Dead's "Ripple" to close out her set. 

The North Mississippi Allstars also impressed with their set anchored by a collaboration with Duane Betts on the Allman Brothers' "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" to go along with a rendition of "Turn On Your Lovelight." 

The final day of Monterey Pop was once again full of collaboration and tributes to the 1967 edition of the festival as ALO brought out longtime collaborator Jack Johnson for "Girl I Wanna Lay You Down" before covering The Who's "My Generation." Elsewhere, legendary artist Booker T. Jones jumped on stage with Gary Clark Jr. during his hit "Bright Lights." Clark also offered up a cover of Hendrix's "Third Stone From the Sun." 

One of the lone collaborations on the bill, Nicki Bluhm teamed with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for a set that relied on two Jefferson Airplane covers as Bluhm led the through "Somebody to Love" and an anthemic "White Rabbit" along with Irma Thomas' "Ruler of My Heart." 

Before Lesh emerged, The Head and the Heart welcomed back another original performer as The Mamas & the Papas' Michelle Phillips for a cover of their own "California Dreamin'." The group shared a message on Twitter saying, "This is why we do this." 
It was then time for Lesh's finale as he joined up with the Terrapin Family Band for a set of Grateful Dead favorites like "Help on the Way," "St. Stephen," "Terrapin Station," "Box of Rain" and "Jack Straw" as well as covers of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and "I Know You Rider" before bringing the night to a close with his patented "Donor Rap."