(A.K.A. The Woodstock Edition)
This week will be the 50th Anniversary of the legendary “Woodstock” music festival. Admittingly, I was too young to attend, not to mention it was many miles away from my south Florida home.
Just in case you’re unsure about the whole thing let me quote from the wiki page;
Woodstock was an American music festival held August 15–18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Billed as “an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”, it was held at Max Yasgur‘s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Woodstock. It was alternatively referred to as the Bethel Rock Festival or the Aquarian Music Festival. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors despite sporadic rain. It has become widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock
I was healthy 9 years old at the time, so my musical tastes were more inline with The Monkees and The Beatles than Jimi Hendrix. But that all changed when my sister brought home the 2-album set. I listened to those records constantly.
All this week SiriusXM is featuring music from the festival. The Deep Tracks channel is playing the complete tapes. Every band and every song all week long. While I haven’t heard Country Joe McDonald’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” and it’s now legendary audience involvement, I did hear something that I don’t remember being on the albums. Before I get to that let’s mention a few of the other performances.
Richie Havens opened the show, 3 ½ hours late. He was scheduled fifth on the bill on the opening day. Problem was, all the acts for that day were stuck several miles away at the area motels reserved from them. The roads were blocked by cars that had just parked in the street since there was no other place to go, so the bands couldn’t get their gear nor themselves to the concert area. Richie had the least equipment, one guitar for him, one guitar for his lead guitarist, and a set of conga drums for the percussionist, was all that was needed, so they were the first to be helicoptered in. Richie was a bit afraid to be the first one on. Since the show started so late, he was worried that the crowd would be angry and hostile. Needless to say, that was anything but the case.
Joan Baez closed out the fist day (the “folk” day), she was 6 months pregnant! Her set was from roughly 1 – 2 AM.
Santana did a 45-minute set on day 2, and Carlos Santana was totally tripping the entire time. The video of that entire set is electrifying!
John Sebastian (best known as part of the Lovin’ Spoonful) was not on the bill but was there enjoying the show (he had a house in the area). He played a short set while, again, other performers were delayed in arriving.
And who can forget Joe Cocker’s physical rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends”? This single performance catapulted him into the US conciseness. Also giving John Belushi a new act.
Crosby, Still, Nash & Young doing an hour at 3AM. I still get chills listening to their set. To produce such vocal harmonies, live, and at that time of night, blows me away.
Let’s get to what is stuck in my head. I heard just the end of this yesterday. (I have SiriusXM streaming while at work) I wasn’t exactly sure just what I was listening to, and there was no mention, that I heard, of the performer. I recognized the song, but not the artist.
Another thing that was interesting, was that I had just finished reading an article about the song which was written by John Lennon. This song stunned all The Beatles when John first played it. The entire band, George Martin (producer) and everyone in the studio all thought it was “stunning”. And then I hear it again on the way to work this morning.
Here is Richie Havens’ “Strawberry Fields Forver”.