The subtitle of this set is slightly inaccurate as almost all the content focuses on the year 1968, two of the DVDs specifically dealing with James Brown's concert at the Boston Garden the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, but that doesn’t make the content any less compelling.
Disc 1 features the television documentary The Night James Brown Saved Boston, which first aired on VH-1 on April 5, 2008, the 40th anniversary of the event. Cynics scoff at musicians who try to save the world with their songs, but many involved in the concert’s planning and those who were there at the time give credit to Brown for keeping Boston safe from the inner-city rioting that was taking place across the United States in the aftermath of the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination.
White America was scared of what was happening, and Mayor Kevin H. White wanted to cancel the concert because the police couldn’t guarantee safety. African-American councilman Tom Atkins said that was a terrible idea because that plan could very well be the cause of a riot. In an effort to keep people off the streets, the mayor approached the local public television station to televise the concert live to keep people at home. Folks began returning tickets, which got back to Brown who was not informed of anything that was happening in Boston. All he knew was he was losing money, so he threatened to pull out unless he was guaranteed $60,000.
The details were worked out, although there’s disagreement about whether the full amount was paid, and the show went on, portions of which appear throughout, but towards the end things began to get out of control and had the chance to turn dangerous. Young African-Americans began to get on stage. Cops, mostly white, shoved people back into the audience, but Brown said he could handle it. Yet the fans kept coming. Finally, Brown stopped the show and chastised the revelers, asking for respect, not only for himself but for themselves. They finally listened and let him finish the show, which was immediately rebroadcast.