The US Festival: 1982 The US Generation
directed by Glenn Aveni
starring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Eddie Money, Santana, The Cars, The Police, The B-52s
Icon Television Music, Inc.
The back cover of this impressive two-disc set (one DVD / one Blu-ray) boasts that the 1982 US Festival was “the most influential music festival in history.” While that statement may be a bit over the top, the legendary three-day outdoor concert event certainly has provided a clear blueprint for such future multi-day festivals as Coachella, Bonnaroo and Welcome to Rockville.
A seemingly crazy concept that (on paper) never should have worked, the US Festival was the brainchild of Apple Computer co-founder, Steve Wozniak. Stating how he had more money than he could ever need, Wozniak’s vision was to create (and finance) an incredible, eclectic concert collective comprised of some of the biggest music artists of the day – all on one enormous stage, and all in the name of peace and unity. And on Labor Day weekend 1982, Wozniak’s impossible vision finally came to fruition at Glen Helen Regional Park near San Bernardino, California.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Glenn Aveni, the 96-minute documentary is brimming with compelling interview segments – from various organizers’ recollections of production challenges, financial concerns, security issues and backstage tension to engaging commentary from those who performed at the event – an array of iconic artists, including Carlos Santana, Mick Fleetwood, Eddie Money, Mickey Hart (The Grateful Dead), Kate Pierson (The B-52s), Stewart Copeland (The Police) and Marky Ramone (The Ramones).
Offering superb audio, the DVD is packed with amazing concert clips. But while the 20-second live snippets dedicated to most of the acts might be a little disappointing and perhaps even frustrating for some enthusiasts, the full-song performances from The B-52s (“Strobe Light”), The Police (“Can’t Stand Losing You”), Eddie Money (“Gimme Some Water”), The Cars (“Bye Bye Love”), Santana (“Black Magic Woman”), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (“Refugee”) and Fleetwood Mac (“The Chain”) succeed in delivering a significant WOW-factor.