Woodstock is a Leo, too.

Web Monkey, Jon Iverson, has informed me that today is the 40th birthday of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York. I really don't know much at all about Woodstock. I haven't read any of the books or watched any of the movies. I know that Richie Havens opened (and played and played until he couldn't play anymore), but I've only just recently acquired that bit of knowledge. I know that Jimi Hendrix tore through an angry version of the "Star-Spangled Banner." I know that Janis Joplin was there. I've seen that funny video of Joe Cocker singing "With A Little Help from My Friends." And I've heard that many of the performances absolutely sucked.

I guess it had something to do with all the drugs. I mean, it's hard enough to play well when you're a wee bit tipsy on the booze (not that I would know), but to perform when totally blitzed on the brown acid? Pretty much impossible. Still, there's evidence that at least some of the bands were tight. Take, for instance, Santana, that radical juggernaut of Latin rhythm and rock fire. Jon Iverson sent me this video of the band performing a 10-minute version of "Soul Sacrifice."

Santana played on Saturday, after John Sebastian and before Canned Heat. If I was Canned Heat, I would have refused to take the stage.

Listen to that sick bass line. It's like a lasso, roping you into the maddening groove.

I love the fact that the video begins with naked bodies wading through the water. Listening to Santana makes me want to get naked. I wonder if I would have gotten naked had I been there. Probably not. Would I have taken the brown acid? I don't think so. Would I have driven hours to get to Woodstock, only to turn around and drive all the way back home upon having witnessed the daunting crowds? I sure as hell hope not. I've heard stories, though.

Do you have any Woodstock stories? Did you get naked? Drop any hits of sunshine?

drumguy50's picture

Considering Frank Zappa's warning about the "yellow snow" I wonder about the real reason for the warning about the "brown acid"

johnnyturbo's picture

stephen, you were neither at woodstock nor a '60s 'kid; you are two or more generations removed from the experience. the truth of woodstock remains the 'gestalt': the total experience; the culmination of the '60s, a "coming together of the 'tribes, so to speak: politics, music and culture in one venue at one time; the quality of performance of any particular musician or group was secondary. the essence of woodstock was 'community' and comradery, not 'individuality' and ego.

KBK's picture

Canned heat followed up Santana with a wonderful performance. Joe Cocker's performance was also a highlight. Alvin Lee was awesome as well. I will admit, though, that Santana's performance was one of -the- the major performances. And at the end of the show, when the produced Woodstock tape is showing the credits..we get a sonic glimpse of where Hendrix was headed with his 'sound'..and it was an awesome direction indeed..which made his passing all the more the loss.

DCMan's picture

Ah, Woodstock. Three days of...something, something. The "committed" generation has spent the last 40 years moving in lockstep toward becoming the most self-important, vainglorious, juvenile and materialistic pool of people ever known to man. One would think that 4 decades might be enough to purge this horror from our collective memory. Maybe another 10 or 20 years will do the trick.

johnnyturbo's picture

upon reflection, might you think your email was a tad over the top: a hyperbolic vitriolic smear of an entire generation? your first sentence points in the direction of a bad trip. too bad. take care of yourself.

Trey's picture

I read that Carlos too had taken some acid PRIOR to playing! He said that the fretboard felt like an anaconda. Heard on the radio that John Sebastian was also in medias trip when he did his songs.Funny stuff.Kids those days.Trey

rvance's picture

The movie came out my senior year in high school. I walked into the huge Orange, CA 4-plex drive-in to watch it for free (in the spirit of the event). There was an area in the back where all the speakers were turned up. A carload of jarheads yelled at me to come to their spot. In my afro and beads I was too scared to run away- I was sure they wanted to kick my ass. Instead, they kept me loaded all night on hash and malt liquor. Marines, fresh from Vietnam and on leave, they regaled me with stories of the war and said over and over: "Don't let your friends go- it's bullshit." They had to return to duty the next day. I hope they all made it back.

I Survived Woodstock's picture

I feel you totally miss the point of the Woodstock event. The initial draw was to go listen to the bands, but the quality of the music became secondary to the overall experience. It turned out to be one huge party, and turning on was how nature took it's course.The rain and mud was a mess, and we were not prepared like most people who just jumped in their cars and went. There was little food except for some snacks and what we could share, and the only thing we had to drink was the beer we brought. Thinking back, the conditions were really miserable, but I feel fortunate to have been apart of this happening. It was like you became a part of some huge fraternity, and experienced firsthand what others in your generation were all about...both the good and the bad! Yes, great memories of experiencing total free spirit of body, mind and soul. Man!

Laura LoVecchio's picture

The year it came out all I wanted for Christmas was the Woodstock album. I was like Ralphie in "The Christmas Story". Ha! My parents would have rather I had the BB gun instead of two pieces of vinyl that were subversive, foul, anti-war and drug use promoting. Like Ralphie I put it on every Christmas list and told everyone who would listen. Somebody heard me. My best friend's mother! Joan Hoffman (She was my mother's best friend.) My mother was appalled. This album was going to be a bad influence and soon I was going to start doing all kinds of bad things. Joan told mom to "get over it". Just like that, "Get over it". I played that album beginning to end every single day for the next six months. Sorry Mom. It didn't make me do bad things.It was enlightening. Opened me up to lots of different books, music and possibilities. It made me want to be part of the world around me. Still one of my top 5 Christmas presents ever. Thanks Joan.

-- stephan's picture

3 of us drove from Ohio in a red '67 Volvo P1800, stoned to the bone, Super Session on the 8-track. Walked the last few miles, and watched the fence come tumbling down, crossing over as we wondered if anyone would ask us for tickets. Ha. Camped at the X of Groovy Path & Gentle Way-or was it the other way around? Santana was intense, no question. But *nobody* touched Sly. I counted 7 encores, they blur together at a certain point ... really, who gives a shit about sweeping, soc class, boomer generalizations? Some of us were hurt, maybe irreparably. And some even married people they met, including one of the guys I was with. I hitched back to Columbus across the Jersey and Penn Pikes, spinning true tales at HoJos along the way. You could tell who was there by the mud on the car. In countless, individual lives, it was a turning point. For all of us, unforgettable, and not by chance were we there. As Joni says, we are stardust, we are golden. And who dares say, we're any closer to the Gard