Cover of The Complete Monterey Pop Festival DV...

At the end of the D.A. Pennebaker film Monterey Pop, there comes a performance that took place on a cold June morning in 1967.  Everyone was half asleep, all the big guns like Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding and the Mamas and the Papas had been fired.   Yet while those guns had elicited many emotions, it took this one last one to bring out pure, unmitigated joy.

Indian music wasn’t exactly topping the charts in 1967, and I’m sure there was not much of a reaction when Ravi Shankar took the stage.  Slowly, he and his two companions built the quiet of the morning into a roaring mass of unmitigated joy.  Other musicians came out front to watch the master at work.  You see Hendrix, Mike Bloomfield, Mickey Dolenz, and others watching with a mix of amazement and happiness.

The nearly 20 minute performance is in two parts


While the quality isn’t great (you can rent the video of the Monterey Pop Festival, you cheap thing) on these clips, the mastery of the performance of a raga called “Rag Dhun” comes through in high def.  It has no words yet you can see the crowd singing along.  Almost no one knew the piece yet they nodded, danced, smiled, and applauded at exactly the right moments and in time.  The interplay between the musicians is that of contagious, palpable joy which spread to the audience, and to me 42 years later.

Do yourself a favor and watch the clips and then think about how you can do what Shankar does – feel the joy and spread it to those around you.  Can your partners, customers, employees, friends and family all have this kind of a response to you?  That’s about the best business thought (which applies even more outside of business) I can leave you with for the weekend.

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Filed under Growing up, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

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