"It was energetic, but so chaotic. I thought, 'Somebody's going to die'": Watch unhinged Alice Cooper footage from the infamous Toronto Rock N Roll Revival

Alice Cooper in a screengrab from the Revival69: The Concert That Rocked the World trailer
(Image credit: Greenwich Entertainment)

Toronto's Rock N Roll Revival Festival, held in 1969, has gone down in history for several reasons, not least because it included an early Alice Cooper set that gave the world a taste of what he would bring to the world: wild theatrics and absolute chaos.

The festival, which also featured appearances from early rock'n'rollers Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley and Gene Vincent alongside more recent arrivals Alice Cooper and The Doors, is most famous for showcasing John Lennon's first performance outside The Beatles. But it's Cooper's antics – and the apparent death of a chicken he tossed into the crowd – that's the focus of a new trailer from a documentary about the festival.    

Filmmaker DA Pennebaker, who famously shot Bob Dylan's Don't Look Back movie in 1967 and made Monterey Pop the following year, headed to Toronto with the same crew in 1969 to shoot the festival, a project that resulted in the 1971 documentary Sweet Toronto. That footage has been restored, and with new talking heads added a whole new film has emerged, the Rob Chapman-directed Revival69: The Concert that Rocked the World.

Amongst the contributors are The Doors' Robby Kreiger, Rush's Geddy Lee – who attended the concert – and Canadian singer Claudja Barry, who describes the action as Cooper takes to the stage. 

"He had half a watermelon, and I just didn't know why," says Barry. "It was so chaotic. It was energetic, but so chaotic. I thought, 'Somebody's going to die'. They're fighting, and hammering. It's like when you're in a scary movie. You don't wanna see the axe murderer coming, so you keep your eyes covered."

The trailer climaxes with the moment Cooper tosses a chicken into the crowd, a moment that prompted outraged headlines around the world and cemented the frontman's place as rock'n'roll's latest bogeyman. Watch the new trailer below – as well as the film's original promo clip.   

Revival69: The Concert that Rocked the World is available to stream on Crave, and can be bought or rented from YouTube, Google Play and Apple+.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.