“I was pretty sure that I’d seen God onstage.” —BOB WEIR Late on the evening of June 17, 1967, as Saturday night turned to Sunday morning, the San Francisco–based rock group known as the Jefferson Airplane concluded their 40-minute set to rousing applause from the 7,500 fans who filled the fairgrounds arena in the resort town of Monterey, California, on the second night of an event billed as the First International Pop Festival. The Airplane were local heroes to the crowd at Monterey, many of whom lived in the Bay Area and had followed the band’s career from its inception in 1965. Along with other whimsically named groups like the Charlatans, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Grateful Dead, they had gotten their start in the folk coffeehouses and rock ballrooms of the Haight-Ashbury, a neighborhood on the eastern edge of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park whose recent emergence as a bohemian enclave had captured the imagination of young people across America. During the first half of 1967, a series of sensationalistic articles had appeared in newspapers and national magazines describing this self-styled “psychedelic city-state” and the long-haired, hedonistic “hippies” who populated it. This rash of publicity had… Read full this story
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