As Cities Burned, James Brown Saved Boston

Documentary recalls unrest that followed King assassination
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2008 10:42 AM CDT
This photo supplied by the San Francisco Symphony shows James Brown, left, being interviewed by Michael Tilson Thomas on April 25, 2006, in Brown's home on Beech Island, S.C.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, riots raged in many American cities. In Boston, where there had been unrest on the night of April 4, officials worried about the fallout of a James Brown concert scheduled for April 5 at a downtown arena. A new documentary airing tonight on VH1 gives away the ending in its title: The Night James Brown Saved Boston.

With Brown's permission, the concert aired on the local PBS station, keeping fans at home in front of their TVs. "This 45-minute documentary is not a 'concert film'—though it does make you yearn for one," Adam Reilly writes in the Boston Phoenix. The film "has a much broader scope than its title would suggest. And that’s precisely why it’s so good."