James Brown in the Boston Garden – April 5th, 1968

In the late 60’s, James Brown had honed his talent. This video of his show, recorded the day after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, captures the showman at the height of his power.

Less than 24 hours after Martin Luther King’s assassination the city of Boston was in a state of turmoil. When James Brown arrived at the airport to play his already scheduled show he was warned that the mayor, fearing further unrest among the African American community, planned to cancel the show. Brown assured the mayor that the consequences would be much worse if the concert was called off. Not only did the show go on as planned, public television station WGBH broadcast the whole thing.

It’s an incredible historical document and a fantastic performance by James Brown, who dedicated the show to Dr. King’s memory and brought the raw emotions within himself and his community to a searing head. At one point the restless crowd swarms the stage and amidst the mayhem James Brown tells the cops to stay back and calmly talks the crowd back into their seats. “This isn’t how black people should act.” Riveting.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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~ by john on January 17, 2010.

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