Back To The Garden?

stills2If you didn’t know – or care – this year happens to be the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.  Last year we were kind of kicking around ideas for a family vacation, and when we learned that my wife and daughter would be unavailable to travel in August 2009, I had a flash: “Let’s go to Woodstock!”  So my son and I planned to make a pilgrimage this summer.  We dreamed that maybe some of the old performers would be at a 40th anniversary concert, and maybe some of the dudes who were around in 1969 but didn’t make it Woodstock might even show (Dylan, Led Zeppelin, maybe even a Beatle or two).

But ah, that was just a dream.  Reality is always much uglier: even before Hendrix played his final notes in that farm pasture 40 years ago, promoters sensed something was in the air – and it wasn’t the stench of weed and unwashed bodies.  They smelled money.  And four decades later, the aroma is as powerful and enticing as ever.  Woodstock is a brand, the New York Times tells us, and of course this summer there’s going to be a Woodstock ’09: in San Francisco, in Connecticut, in Germany and possibly even in New York City.

And surely there will be some kind of observance August 15-17 at the original site, which is not in Woodstock, N.Y. at all, but in the town of Bethel.  There’s a big arts center and museum on the original Woodstock festival site and you can bet they’ll observe those three days somehow.  Whichever one you choose, it will certainly cost you (even though the NYC event promoter is promising a “free” show.  Right.)

And to all you assholes who say the old-timers ought to just forget about Woodstock and just go off and die: well, you have Limp Bizkit and Metallica and your memories of Woodstock ’99 to keep you warm at night.  (If you forgot, here’s a reminder.)

So I’m thinking: who is the iconic Woodstock performer, or band?  Surely it would have to be Jimi Hendrix, who electrified the world (if not the sleepy crowd) in the early morning hours of the festival’s last day.  But Hendrix is unavailable, so who of the greybeards still alive best represents the Woodstock spirit?


SCN&Y, Houston 1974

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Of course.  Even more than the Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Joe Cocker and the Who.  At their peak, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, CSNY were the Beatles of the hippie movement.  From the stages of the world, they sang and preached peace and love even while they bickered behind the scenes like junior-high girls.  And today they’re still pretty much carrying the same banner: check out the recent documentary and album Deja Vu Live here for proof.

As much as you may shake your head in disbelief, if you even have a dim memory of that era you can’t help but be even a little impressed that CSNY is still flying their freak flag and railing about the President, injustice and the war, any war.  As long as there’s some fucking war somewhere I am certainly glad CSNY are willing to be angry about it every night even if the rest of us don’t care.

That’s why they are perfect to carry the Woodstock legacy into its fifth decade.  God knows, how many of us are going to even be around in 2019?  And besides – they do the best version of the Joni Mitchell song “Woodstock.”

MP3: “Woodstock” (live, 1970) by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (Woodstock 40th anniversary website)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young official website

6 Responses to “Back To The Garden?”

  1. notscarenews Says:

    I have to make it public. It’s suppose to be secret, however most people in Austin, Tx knows about it. The police department has machine that can read your mind. A machine that can read someone’s mind will be used to violate EVERYONE’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!!! It can also change the way you feel. Sexual impulses, anger, and paranoia are all feelings they can induce to you at their fingertips. This means it can cause a girl or boy to feel sexual, and get raped thinking they wanted to. Its like a drug. This is just one of the many crimes they commit with this machine RIGHT NOW!!!! They are using it right now to spy on their citizens RIGHT NOW!!! People will be spied on in there homes, without a warrant. (this means someone will be able to watch you during sex without your knowledge.) There are a lot of people all over the United States knowing about this machine. The police department is able to use it to spy on people in their own home. During interrogation they keep a person dazed, confused and not sound of mind to cohersed them into making certain statements. This is a violation of these people’s constitutional rights. Start thinking about how the government has given the police department a weapon to commit not only one of the biggest civil and constitutional rights violations of all time, but to commit war crimes such as rape, brainwashing, and toturing people without the victim’s knowledge. I know it is hard to believe, however if you happen to know someone in the police department who cares for you enough, just ask if they have a machine that can read and control people’s mind. After that, I would also like people to think about how we are able to get the government to stop letting the police department violate the people’s civil and constitutional rights, and committing war crimes against there own citizens. Major media companies have knowledge of this, but are not willing to broadcast it. People need to find out and talk about this issue.

  2. 30daysout Says:

    Ladies and gentlemen … David Crosby!

  3. I was recently at SXSW panel related to the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock film, which is being released on dvd next month. Panelists included Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer, Woodstock festival producer Michael Lang, Hog Farmer Wavy Gravy, Michael Shrieve and Greg Rolie of Santana, and Doug Cifford from Credence, among others. It was really interesting, but best of all they screened some of the new footage that’s been included in the dvd. It’s really fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the whole film.

  4. Richie Havens, without a doubt!

  5. 30daysout Says:

    OH gosh, I forgot about Richie Havens … He is certainly another iconic Woodstock performer. I saw him in 1982 at a small club and was mesmerized by his vocal and instrumental prowess. He had some incredible stories, too. Thanks, whiteray!

  6. soon we’ll all be able to ‘get back to the land’…whether by choice or not. I’m planting my dinner right now.

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