Various Artists

The Haight Street Chronicles Vol. 1 [DVD}

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There's a lot of San Francisco rock from the Summer of Love out there on film, and some of it's pretty rare. But while this DVD tries to collect some of it, it doesn't really succeed in compiling either the best or rarest available. It does feature clips by half a dozen top San Francisco acid rock bands, those being the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, Country Joe & the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and the Steve Miller Blues Band (as the last outfit were initially known). But the Grateful Dead are only seen in excerpts from the infamous CBS news documentary The Hippie Temptation, and this disc doesn't even present that laughable hippie expose in its entirety (although the excerpt here does include several interview and performance scenes of the Grateful Dead). Moby Grape clips are few in number, so the ones here are welcome, but the two songs from a 1967 New York television show are in iffy quality (though at least they're live); the performance of "Sweet Ride" from an obscure B-movie of the same name doesn't seem to be live, but it's fun nonetheless. The Steve Miller clip is from the film Revolution, and you can barely tell it's them on-stage; what's worse, the "clip" of Quicksilver, also from Revolution, doesn't actually show the band, but just presents a scene on which they play "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" on the soundtrack (a recording that's no longer so rare, by the way, as it's been reissued on CD). Country Joe & the Fish's clip, which includes "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die," is also a disappointment, as the backing tracks (though not the vocals) appear to be from the record. That leaves Big Brother's half-hour live-in-the-studio appearance on San Francisco public television in 1967, and while that's a very good (and well-filmed) program, it was issued back in 1989 on Rhino's Ball and Chain: Live in Studio San Francisco '67 video. Many if not most of the collectors interested in San Francisco psychedelic rock on film will already have that footage, and that, combined with some other shortcomings, makes this DVD of limited value.