Throwback Thursday: Time to flash way back to the summer of ’69. Almost 500,000 young (and not so young) hippies and music lovers descended on upstate New York for a weekend of some of the world’s best rock, folk, and blues music. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker and many others are known for their incredible performances at Woodstock 1969.
I watched “Woodstock – 3 Days of Peace and Music” last night on Palladia, a channel owed by VH1 I didn’t know I had. Palladia seems to play music 24/7, a really radical experiment in 2013.
The 225 minute Oscar winning Woodstock documentary may be the greatest rock concert film ever. Director Michael Wadleigh often uses two, three, and four split screens at once to show you all the action of the crowds and the music gods. It’s no surprise Martin Scorsese helped edit the film. You get to see The Who’s Roger Daltry signing and Pete Townshend guitar shredding at the same time. Viewing angles so close, you literally fear that the guitarist is gonna accidentally headbutt the camera.
The crowd interactions and escapades will stand the test of time. The film is not rated but there is strong language and unparallelled access to drugs. It’s almost like a “How To” film. PA announcements warned “Watch out for the brown acid, it wasn’t mixed right, it’s poison.” Cut to three dazed hippies plucking flower petals screaming “HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT!”
The Woodstock movie helped save Warner Bros at a time when the company was on the verge of going out of business. In 1996, Woodstock was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.