Thursday, August 20, 2009

Woodstock at 40

As tears rolled down my face when Country Joe McDonald read the names of the servicemen killed in Vietnam, both Desert Storms, Iraq and Afghanistan from the Bethel area, I knew Woodstock 69 was more than a music festival, it was an anti war protest. It was one very somber moment as the crowd fell silent. After all, 40 years ago, we were in the midst of assassinations, riots, the draft, civil rights and trying to stop a war.

Bethel Woods is a place of peace and I recommend anyone who lived through those days go there. The fields of green grass go on and on. The place is brand new and it immaculate. Even the cops were friendly. It was not like any outdoor concert I've ever gone to. Pre senior and senior citizens along with a splattering of young people came to see who is left from the original 69 Woodstock. It did remind me of those who we have lost since then. The replacement singers, guitar players, bass players did a marvelous job recreating the sounds, but I wondered what Hendrix, Joplin, etc would sound like today.

It was a long show, started at 5PM and went to 1:30AM. The 17,000 stayed for most of the show, with the lawn people leaving earlier. We were 13 rows back from the stage and could reach out and touch the performers. The sound is perfect and the seats are padded as we waited for one of my drumming idols, Levon Helms from the Band. Battling throat cancer, his new band, made up of a brass section, multi guitars, keyboardist and his daughter as a singer, gave me the shivers. He didn't sing and looked thin, but can still bang with clarity and precession.

I feel fortunate to have lived to this point and hope I can live to see Woodstock at 50. But I do hope, perhaps my grandchildren will have their own Woodstock someday and come together as one group of like minded individuals who want change for the better.

10 Comments:

At August 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM , Blogger John said...

Right on Jim! Did not have the opportunity to go the reunion myself, and jealous you did. Have not seen much about it in the press, but what I did see was positive. Would love to get there myself some day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. How the hell did you score 13 row seats?

 
At August 20, 2009 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Junior said...

Not surprised that you were actually there. Must have been quite a show. Are they going to release any of it as an album for those of us who did not get lucky enough to go. And I am with John, how the hell did you get those seats?

 
At August 20, 2009 at 1:20 PM , Blogger Old Blogger said...

Must have been quite an experience. Were you there for the original? I saw the show at Lowell but not many performers from the original Woodstock were there. Sounds like you saw the real reunion, and on the real spot. Don't know that any of us will make the 50th reunion, but if I am around and they have one, I am going to find a way to be there. Save me a seat!

 
At August 20, 2009 at 4:14 PM , Blogger Framingham resident said...

Very, very nice piece here Pillsbury. Didn't know you could write so eloquently. Must have been a hell of a show to see. Looking forward to seeing some pictures and hearing some sounds!

 
At August 20, 2009 at 4:20 PM , Blogger 50 stud said...

Must have paid a pretty price for tickets that close. I could not afford that, but then, I am not the great Jim Pillsbury. People rely on this blog for good up to date information and you come here on a random schedule and then tell us you had front row seats to Woodstock which is why there were no postings for several days while most of us are worried about putting food on our table for dinner. Somehow it just does not seem fair. You could have donated the money for those tickets to the local Food Pantry, or have you given up on doing good deeds now? I admit to coming to this blog to get good info but it does annoy me that you treat your followers so casually.

 
At August 20, 2009 at 4:26 PM , Blogger 6th Middlesex constituent said...

Get a life 50. Jealousy is showing its ugly head. I bet you don't do a damm thing to help anyone but yourself. Pillsbury writes this blog for no money and no thanks, and puts up with idiots like you who don't know what the hell they are talking about. Who the hell do you think you are? You don't like the fact that he went to Woodstock probably because you are to old, fat and ugly to go yourself. Get up of your ass and do something and maybe then you won't be jealous of those who do, like Pillsbury.

 
At August 20, 2009 at 4:31 PM , Blogger Harry said...

I second what 6th said. Stud, you are an idiot.

 
At August 20, 2009 at 4:32 PM , Blogger Edward said...

Pillsbury, ignore the ignorance of some of your followers. Not a damm thing you can do about jerks like that 50, who I doubt is anything close to a stud. I would have loved to go to Bethel last weekend, but I let my age stop me, sounds like there were lots there my age and older. I should have gone. Thanks for reminding me I should not let my perceptions prevent me from living my dreams.

 
At August 20, 2009 at 5:41 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Ok Ok 50 I get it.... FYI, I knew about the reunion last year. We specifically saved money for this event, didn't go anywhere this past winter.

We bought our lawn seats when they went on sale. Since we are supporters of Bethel Woods, and given the fact it has rained there every time I went, as a member of the Bethel Woods we were given the opportunity to get great seats for not so big money, row 13.

Our generation helped shape and lived through some of the most critical advances and history making events in the past 100 years and I don't know if I'll be around in another 10 years, but I will go to my watery grave with no regrets about being a part of history.. good and bad.

In the next few days, there will be a movie release of the event and we will do our best to bring it to all of you as soon as we have it.

 
At August 22, 2009 at 7:10 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

If anyone would like to have the music from the Woodstock Reunion in Bethel on August 15th, email me at jimpillsbury@verizon.net and I can send you some of the recordings. We have Canned Heat, Ten Years After, Jefferson Starship and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Country Joe McDonald has a piece between each of the above acts, and that is included with each bands recording.

 

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