For an article in Saturday’s Cape Cod Times, I watched the director’s cut of “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music” and gave a letter grade to each musical performance.
My write-up on the music was long enough that I couldn’t fit in some other thoughts I had while watching the movie. So here’s some of what was left on the cutting-room floor.
A nice quote from Jerry Garcia: “It looks like some kind of Biblical, epical, unbelievable scene.”
As for interviews with the attendees, who spoke about their lives, their loves, their drugs, whether or not you think they’re articulate probably depends on how closely you can relate to their world view.
When asked about Nixon, one man replied, “I don’t need all that power. … I don’t have to become president of the United States and I don’t have to go all that way up. I don’t have to make the climb. ’Cause there’s nothing to climb for. It’s all sitting right here. … It’s like people that are nowhere are coming here because there are people here they think are somewhere, so everybody is looking for some kind of answer – where there isn’t one.”
During a rainstorm on day three, cofounder Michael Lang was asked about the financial disaster the festival had become. “Look what you got there, man,” he said, looking at the crowd. “You couldn’t buy that for anything.”
The changing tempos in Jefferson Airplane’s songs reminded me of Jane’s Addiction. I’d never made that connection before.
A montage of dancers is shown during Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice.” Wait, was that guy holding a sheep? (Rewind.) Uh, yes, he was.
It’s hard to believe that two years before Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix was the opening act on the Monkees’ first U.S. tour. It’s even harder to picture Roy Rogers following him on stage to close the concert with “Happy Trails,” as Lang envisioned.
A little historical context: In his new memoir, “The Road to Woodstock,” Lang recalls that about two weeks before the festival, he met with a caterer who opened a suitcase and showed him something out of science fiction: the first portable phone Lang had ever seen.
Part of what got Lang through the frenzy of the festival was some advice his father had given him years before. When trying to get through a tough situation, take charge and keep moving; step back just enough to think clearly; and trust your instincts.