Woodstock III

"A Day in the Garden"

August 15, 1998


I realised a dream recently -- With a friend from work (Dale), I drove to Bethel, NY, and attended the 3rd Woodstock Festival ("A Day in the Garden"). We saw Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell and my hero, Pete Townshend.

The crowd consisted of people of all ages, with a preponderance of aging hippies wearing crumpled-looking tie-died t-shirts and caftans. There were some differences between this show and the original one in 1969 -- for example, there was an automatic tellers machine available with a satellite link dish!

I managed to get a position 25 feet from the front of the stage for Pete's show, and stood up on a fence several times to take photos of him (until the security guard told me off). Townshend and his band played for nearly 3 hours -- a mix of old and new stuff -- backed by a keyboard player, a woman percussionist, a woman who played rhythm guitar and provided excellent harmony vocals, a Rasta guy on bass, and a harmonica/jews harp player.

Pete was in good spirits, joking with the audience and the band -- he showed lots of energy, doing jumps and windmill playing every now and then. His voice was strong and clear, and some of the riffs he did were real spine-tingling stuff. There was a full contingent of movie and video cameramen there, so there may be a documentary in the offing.

Because I had only flown in from Seattle that same morning, I didn't get there in time to see Melanie, Donovan or Richie Havens -- oh well...