Sunday, August 16, 2009


Woodstock was once a Spirit of its Times, a stint of Utopia. Whether it was the event, the movie, or the yarn of nostalgia that followed like the rings of Saturn, it made history. Personally, I think the best way to honor it would be to let the memory stand rather than turn it into dull sequels. The ten-year anniversary took place in Madison Square Garden and was more of a jam session than its predecessor. The ’89 Woodstock hooked its amps to Jimi Hendrix’s dad Al, Wavy Gravy, and a bunch of B-listers.

Woodstock ’94 was a grand affair, probably the only one able to rival the original for its position in the Annals of Rock History. Greenday, Candlebox, Deee-Lite, Metalica, Nine Inch Nails, Cypress Hill, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Shaba Ranks, and many many others played in a tour-de-force. Red Hot Chili Peppers paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Off course, Nirvana graciously bowed out on account that Kurt Cobain had passed on. But, Bob Dylan finally appeared on stage. That’s right, he didn’t show up at the first one— he’d been injured and out-of-commission in ’69.

Maybe I’m the wrong person to spout on this. I really am not into live music. Love music. But, I’ve usually been disappointed when I have come face and ear to crowd and stage. Although, I’ll admit to having seen awesome performances of Aerosmith— Joe Perry’s kickass drum solo still thrums in my inner ear and a stellar Santana in Saratoga— outdoors no less. Acoustically, it was eh, but the vibe and the song compendium was well worth the sprawl in the grass.

Theodor Gracyk described the magic of Rock & Roll as being attributable to the recording. A fascinating concept when you think about this never-ending flux of concerts that Botox-pumped icons still need to pull off. This regeneration has much to do with the genesis of shareware and the hard fact that the Twitter Generation isn’t willing to drop coin for CDs. So what’s a rocker to do but offer his music for free? Radiohead tried their “Pay what you will” experiment and it catapulted them to the top of the US charts for the first time. Nine Inch Nails got onboard in the online direct distribution game. And the beat goes on.

Rockers need to perform more than ever now, with bigger paying audiences in mega-stadiums like the one built in Barcelona where U2 flaunted the four-legged “spaceship” the biggest stage ever built for a rock tour— 90,000 fans screaming over the Edge.

Woodstock was rumored to have been today, but somehow it got suspended. One concert in the old stead the other set for Berlin airport linked via satellite. Maybe Michael Lang decided to do it on the down-low. I dunno. At least you’ll be able to catch Ang Lee’s new flick on Woodstock due out in less than two weeks.

One thing is for sure. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary is the bigger news, carrying today’s flicker of light. Oh yeah, and that light no longer glints from a cigarette lighter, but a beaming cell phone.

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