This weekend marks marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock – the legendary festival that welcomed 500,000 revellers to upstate New York for ‘Three Days of Peace and Music’.
For those that were there, like The Band’s Robbie Robertson, “you feel proud to have been a part of it; you feel it was amazing; you feel it was a first; you feel like it said something,” as he told Rolling Stone earlier this month.
For those that weren’t, the legacy of the festival lingers on, a hint at a time when anything could happen; when ‘peace’ and ‘love’ were more than just characters found on an emoji keyboard.
Or, as Hunter S Thompson wrote in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, “with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.” [Ed – The esteemed Dr Gonzo could have equally been talking about the first wave of acid house, but who’s counting?]
With that in mind (coupled with the fact that techno hadn’t been invented yet), 909originals brings you five of the standout performances from the weekend, as featured in the 1971 documentary, Woodstock.
Santana – Soul Sacrifice
Carlos Santana later admitted that his mind was somewhere east of Jupiter when he went up on stage, and still put in a solid performance. Which begs the question, what was the drummer on? 🙂
Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends
Sorry Ringo (and the rest of The Beatles for that matter) – in our bag, THIS is the ultimate version of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band classic. The Sheffield crooner had already topped the charts with his cover version of the track a year earlier, but this performance, backed by the legendary Grease Band, was nothing short of breathtaking.
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit
“When the men on the chessboard, get up and tell you where to go…” As the sun peered through the clouds at around 9.30 on the Sunday morning, Grace Slick and her merry band of troubadours offered some solace to those partaking in the ‘brown acid’. Or maybe not.
Ten Years After – I’m Going Home
As dusk fell on Sunday evening, Ten Years After’s Alvin Lee channeled everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to Dick Dale in an incredible guitar performance that helped catapult his band to star status. We’ve never heard the original, cited by Lee as being by the band ‘Helicopter’, but something tells us it’s not a patch on this mastery.
Jimi Hendrix – The Star Spangled Banner
Ok, this has been dissected and psychologically analysed ad nauseum for five decades, but the Monday morning performance that ‘closed’ the festival – reportedly only to a fraction of the overall crowd – deserves every plaudit it can get. Screeching missiles and cluster bombs permeate a track that is particularly relevant in these ominous times.