Originally posted August 15, 2009.
Huh? I couldn’t decipher what Joni Mitchell had written because I couldn’t understand the lyrics that CSN&Y were singing, at least when I first heard the song Woodstock, but the music sure resounded in and through my heart, soul & being.
Sorry, but for this piece I’m going to need a lot of visual aides so please bare with me. OK, Here’s how it all started dude thinking (I hope the AV department doesn’t screw me on this)
Hopefully we can all agree that everybody wants to find their niche’ in life, to know where they fit in on this big blue marble, and hopefully leave at least a beautiful memory or 3 to those who both loved you and you loved in return The other day I realized that my generation however, didn’t have a national title, I was too young to be a “Baby Boomer’ and just a bit too old to be a Gen-Xer. But as the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair approached I realized exactly what I was, I was a member of the Woodstock Generation. Sure it was mostly Baby Boomers that attended but as a 10 year old kid that was completely won over by the power of love through music, I was there too. Not physically but spiritually
I’m pretty sure that everybody has at least one big event that changed their life forever. With me it was at the Loma theatre in late March of 1970 when I saw the movie Woodstock. The concert itself was in the Summer of ’69. Not the Summer of Love but rather the Summer of awakening in an age of Aquarius.
So many things were important to us back then (and from then). Peace instead of the war in Viet Nam which included the draft…a.k.a. “war machine”, so a lot of who I am today is because of that fateful day at The Loma, and the amazing triple album that I received on the Christmas that followed. What spoke to me then is what speaks to me now and that is music from the heart.
From the beginning of the Movie I was enthralled, and hearing Canned Heat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYKY2lpxMg8 brought me to the front of the stage (so to speak) to see non other than Ritchie Havens. The dude’s thumb covered the entire 6 strings on the fret!!! I don’t even want to go back and figure out his tuning because I don’t `want 2 spoil the moment. I heard that the traffic was so packed that the 2nd act, Joan Baez, couldn’t get in so Mr. Havens did 4 encores…and you know? I’d love to hear them all too!!!
As often is he case, he running order of the show doesn’t coincide with the running order of the movie and I’m doing this strictly by memory so what stood out to me was some of, but not even close to ALL of the following….
When Joan Baez sang about Joe Hill it still awakened the plight & spirit of working folks everywhere.
At one point Woody Guthrie’s son, Arlo sang about trying to bring pot through customs, I’ll bet Woody actually dug that too!
The stage announcements were everything from poignant to hilarious, pearls of wisdom like “there’s always a little bit of Heaven in a disaster area” to “the brown acid isn’t poison, it was just manufactured poorly”
Other musical highlights include
Crosby, Stills and Nash Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Country Joe McDonald – “Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag”
Santana – Soul Sacrifice
Joe Cocker – A Little Help From My Friends
The Who See Me Feel Me
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou
Sly & the Family Stone ~ Take You Higher
Max Yasgur http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Yasgur & Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Chile (slight return)
Which must be followed in time with;
And then with a cool chunk missing
I recommend getting any and all DVDs to feel the full effect of the concert and of course getting the complete Jimi Hendrix set, minus the 2 songs that Larry Lee sang lead on. It was an awesome set by the final act, the Jimi Hendrix Experience *
Even though it was album was recorded by Eddie Kramer on a mobile 8 track console it sounded huge…maybe it was the half million people that were there, but it was bigger than life! If you saw the movie or bought any of the albums you remember scenes and tunes from some of these bands, but here is the complete running order and all of the songs that were played along with a list of bands that either declined or canceled.
The rain that the “No Rain No Rain No Rain No Rain” chant was born from was the result of category 5 Hurricane, “Camille” that came from the Gulf Coast up and through New York state. I love how the rain brought everyone together too
When I finally saw Jimi Hendrix at the end of the movie my life changed forever. Watching him play the Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze and Villanova Junction still to this day gives me goose bumps and all of the inspiration one person can handle.
Jimi died a year and a month later, Janis passed soon after that and with their passing so to passed an age that we will never see the likes of again.
Finally, if you were there then I’d love to hear from you, especially if you took the brown acid, lol! Happy Birthday Woodstock, you don’t look a day past 27 ;)
To read more about Woodstock ’69 please check:
For albums by the some of the acts that played at Woodstock in 1969: http://phrockblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/jefferson-airplane-woodstock-experience.html
* though billed as “the Jimi Hendrix Experience”, this was not the usual power trio of Jimi, Mitch & Noel but rather a 6 piece band called the Gypsy, Sons and Rainbows. It included ex-Army buddy Billy Cox on bass for their “first little gig”. Jimi and Billy would end up playing together from here on out, and Jimi until he died. It was only one of 2 shows that Gypsy, Sons and Rainbows played.
Update August 2011: Sorry to say that most of the wonderful YouTube links in this article are now dead. RIP.