10.4.2 (All Green AG-0500 12)
Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI – December 10th, 1971
Interviews, The Up, Allen Ginsberg with Gary Williamson, Ed Sanders, Bob Seger with Teagarden & Vanwinkle, Father James Groppi, Teagarden & Vanwinkle, Bobby Seale, Phil Ochs, Rennie Davis & Dave Dellinger, Archie Shepp & Roswell Rudd with Contemporary Jazz Quintet, news film, Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airman, Leni Sinclair & Elsie Sinclair, Stevie Wonder & The Wonderlove, Jerry Rubin, Dave Peel & The Lower East Side, John Lennon & Yoko Ono with Plastic Ono Lower East Side (Attica State, The Luck Of The Irish, Sisters O Sisters, John Sinclair)
10.4.2 is the latest release of the Beatles and Beatles related DVD label All Green.
The opening track is a contemporary documentary featuring brand new interviews with John Sinclair, Yoko Ono and others. The origin of this is uncertain, but it lasts for ten minutes and is very slickly produced. It looks like an episode of VH1’s “Behind The Music” (for all we know it probably is), and is dominated by talking heads speaking about Sinclair’s conviction for possessing two joints and sentence of ten years, the organization of the rally and the rally itself with period photos and excerpts from the film. It is informative especially to hear Sinclair’s reaction to it all since he is largely absent from the rally and resultant film.
The movie is an hour long excerpt of the long rally. Since the time of its production legal hassles have prevented its general theatrical or home video release. All Green uses what is probably a high generation copy. Lines and scratches are visible throughout the film and the colors have a halo effect into the darker portions of the screen. The sound is very good mono with no mastering done on the soundtrack. All this aside this is as good as we’ll have of this until by some miracle perhaps the film can gain a legitimate release. Despite these flaws this is an outstanding document.
This occurred just four months after George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh and is an interesting contrast. Whereas Harrison focuses upon humanitarian aid for a drought stricken country, Lennon participates in a paranoid mob scene filled with fiery rhetoric.
Ono claimed that John’s participation in this event caused the Nixon administration to hassle him about his immigration status. Honestly I think the president has a point. Milwaukee area civil rights activist Father James Groppi declares Nixon to be like Hitler and compares the military action in Viet Nam to be equal to the Nazi holocaust. Political opinions aside I do think that is a bit extreme and unfair. Other speakers include Ed Sanders, Black Panther founder Bobby Seale, and Yippie founder Jerry Rubin.
The musical portion is much better than the speeches and features several obscure cult acts like The Up. A very young and hippy looking Bob Seger gives a rousing version of “Carol”. The obvious focus is the set by John and Yoko. This was their final live appearance outside of New York and is only four songs long. “Attica State” sounds very sloppy.
“Luck Of The Irish” sounds much better and is moving, although I’m not sure what the connection is between Sinclair and Ireland. The final song “John Sinclair” is has an effective steel guitar line and was written especially for the occasion.
F.B.I. informants were in attendance, commenting that the new material is “lacking Lennon’s usual standards,” and “Yoko can’t even remain on key.”
This is the only release of this rare film and is recommended viewing if for anything else to have a document of a very different time. I don’t really agree with a lot of the politics but do like the passion coming across. One wonders if something like this can be organized today with today’s artists participating?