|BETHEL 2000||BETHEL 2001||CLAP YER HANDS||JESSE MEETS THE ANSWER MAN||ON STAGE THIS TIME||YASGUR'S BARN|
Please note: The above titles in quotes were to be found on Radio Woodstock's Woodstock Vibe E-zine, on-line. I've changed a few words, and when italics appear within parentheses in the following text, the italized sentences are my post publication interjections. JesseBy the time I got to Woodstock, I was 24, had folk-guitared my way around the USA for about two whole years, after withdrawing from Seton Hall U in NJ. I had been drafted, inspected, and re-jected for service as "4f", lived in the "Lower East Side" of Manhattan for a few winters, and camped in the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Santa Cruz, California. I'd actually been to the Village of Woodstock a few times, attending a small festival in '67, called the Woodstock Soundout festival. Sometimes, I held casual employment, sometimes I was a houseguest here and there. I'd attended the San Jose Folk Rock fest, Memorial Day weekend in 1968. Even had paid a visit to the "Hog Farm" in NM, in the fall of '68, so I was aware of what the Hog Farmers were doing at Yasgur's place.
I had no idea the event would be that huge...(Who did?)I had no tickets, but something just "told" me to hitch from Colorado in late July, based on grapevine. Glad I did! In the two years of travel, I'd been in several near-disaster situations, so when the magnitude of the NEED was presented so well from the stage the first day, I was more than willing to help, any way I could...Helped cut carrots (hehehe, eh, wuzzup, duck?) - huge organic ones - in the "free kitchen" until I had blisters on both hands. Did I see much of the music over in the field after the first night? No. I had lost touch with most of my car-load I'd arrived with by then, so the free-stage/"bummer"-tent area was much more comfortable for me. (I love what WAVY GRAVY said from the stage at one point - as recorded in the movie - "Word's going around about "bum" trips...I got good news for you! There are no "bum" trips,
As soon as I find out who handled that telephoto
camera, I will give all credit due for some fine
ZOOM work! - Jesse
Thank you Warner Brothers, for distributing the film.
In the years that followed, whenever I did see the movie it was in a group situation, and people would gas on me being right there with them. I never got to see the whole song in the movie, until I bought the new l994, 25th anniversary "director's cut" in 1998. Imagine, gentle reader, my surprise...
Another very weird thing happened when OMEGA MAN, the Ray Bradbury dis-topic novel set in the plausibly near future, was made into a movie. (funny how cities have come to look like they do in the story, and punkish, new-wavicles dress that way - NOW...) Charleton Heston in the lead role... At the beginning of the story, the Heston character walks into a post-disaster, urban location - the town is empty - or, so it seems...He sees a movie theatre with the Woodstock festival movie featured on the marquee...walks in. Empty, even though the lights are still on...sees the lights on up in the projection booth, walks up...Nobody's showing the movie! Ole "Ben Hur" kicks on a projector, and the film cuts to a segment of the scene with the OH FREEDOM! song - where the camera scanning the audience has "panned" back, but it's identifiable as the end of that Clap your Hands sequence I've described. Then, back to Heston in the empty theatre. Extremely weird!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ya that I didn't get to hear the whole FREEDOM! medley performance of
Havens' until July, 1998. That's when I finally discovered what he sings, in the
film, when the camera cuts back to the band on stage. He goes, "I got a
telephone in my bosom, I can call him up from my heart whenever I need him!"
The band chimes in on brother, sister, mother, father!" I truly never
recall hearing him sing that the moment it happened. It came as a complete
surprise as I watched the 1994 version of the film. All of a sudden, I was
Now I understand (sorta kinda...) why people were matching that "Peace Guy" that Nobody Special with me just plain ole walking down the street! It'd be only natural to link what Richie sang at that point with the fellow in the zoom-up segment, I myself, finally got to make the connection. But Richie writes in the liner notes for his "Resume" cd, that he was reviving a fragment of an old hymn. The antecedent of "Him" in the fragment would be the Most Ancient of Days...I was immediately terrified, then extremely humbled - like never before. (I called a buddy in Atlanta - whom I call DOO-WOP John - for his, at times, sage counsel. He listened, and said, "You didn't have to know, you were WINGING it, it's a gift...I felt a whole lot better then - some of the mystery to me about how people could put that short segment together with someone they knew not at all had been solved...) Let me conclude with this note: Thanks for the chance to dance for y'all. I'd love to meet the artistic people who put the rendering of the FREEDOM! song together.
FLASH! Latest news!! For some Woodstock Film Veterans, the storied saga of
serendipitous synchronicty continues to
unfold...soon there will be a link right here to a page about this year's re-union
at Yasgur's Barn...The guy sitting behind me with sunglasses on in the zoom-up
part of OUR audience segment in the FREEDOM Medley signed my guest book last
month! (1999) I'll give you news of that and a link to fantastic page of A to Z links
Some friends in Texas, that I met by being in the movie, and having this site, are hoping to compose a book about another Festival that happened in Lewisville, Texas, Labor Day weekend in 1969, with several of the same bands, including Janis Joplin and Santana, appearing...if you were there (or, just for a truly "long shot", your parents say they met there), my friends would like to hear from you, what the heck, you could get into a book!