I got my first real six string,
oh at the five and dime,
Played it ’til my fingers bled,
it was the summer of ’69… Brian Adams
This weekend is the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. You probably know that unless, you’re hiding under a rock somewhere. We’ve been watching the footage and listening to the memories of those who attended the greatest rock concert/event of all time. It’s been fun to see the people then and now. I was surprised to see the couple from the front of the album cover. The ones wrapped in the blanket. The best part is that they are still together, they’ve got kids and what looks like a great life. I read a few months ago about them trying to locate the one and only baby born at the festival. There had been the announcement of a baby being born, yet no record of its birth had been located. Maybe they are just not wanting to be part of all the hoopla.
In 1969 I was a punk. Just a kid who couldn’t get across the state much less the nation. I would be an entering freshman at Oceanside High. It was the best place in the world to be. I had no idea there was a huge gathering in upstate New York, to be frank. Thank goodness for my brother. He was a music guy. He taped the radio, of all things, special weekends of count downs – the best songs of the year – and all that stuff. He was tight with Charlie Tuna the DJ of the only radio station (KGB) in San Diego playing rock music. He had his finger on the pulse of the rock scene.
For his birthday that year my grandmother told him he could have whatever he wanted, he chose tickets to a concert. They were expensive $15.75 each, with the ticket agent fees. He had asked a friend to go, but in usual style, his parents wouldn’t let him go at the last minute, because it was a rock concert. You know one of those places where there would be free love, drugs and wacked out people. You’d come back rock zombies and never be the same. So by default I got to go. We, my brother and I, got on a cross town/county bus and went to see Jimi Hendrix at the San Diego Sports Arena a month short of his birthday May 24, 1969. Later that year Jimi would play his famous Start Spangled Banner for the crowd at Woodstock. I knew Jimi was a big deal, just not how big. We’d been singing Purple Haze for a few months, thinking it was about a club in Riverside we’d seen once. I doubt it now. Then hearing him play the stage at Woodstock on the news I suddenly realized I’d be able to say in a few years I saw the man live. My favorite part of the concert was when he dedicated a song to the girl in the third row with yellow polka dotted panties on. I was so naive.
It was the summer of ’69