Fifty years ago today the third day of The Aquarian Exposition of Peace And Music, what we’ve all come to know and love as Woodstock, was to boast a lineup of Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and The Band among others. I opted to go to New Haven to see the performance of Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Pete Lamons, and George Sauer. Collectively, they were the New York Jets.
Of course, the team consisted of other members.
I went to New Haven that day because my brother Michael had given me a ticket for my birthday to see the New York Jets play the New York Giants in a pre-season game in the Yale Bowl. You might ask yourself, why would a nineteen year old boy give up the chance to go to one of the most historic events to go see a pre-season football game?
Well, fifty years ago this nineteen year old did not have a car and didn’t have a friend who had one. To be fair, a number of us talked about going, recognizing tha it might be something to do. But it never became a serious discussion. And, to be honest, the Jets were more important to me then than the prospect of going to Woodstock.
Besides, who knew?
It was only after the fact that we realized what Woodstock was and had become. It was a life-changing event to those who attended. It had to be. It was a life-changing event to me when I bought the three LP album and then saw the movie a year after in 1970.
Woodstock represented possibilities.
It did appear that it was one big love fest where no violence occurred and where no one seemed to mind sitting in the rain on a grass field long turned into mud.
People weren’t swilling beer and puking all over themselves, they were getting high on grass. They were being warned to avoid a bad form of LSD and encouraged to take care of each other.
In the Age of Nixon and Enemies List people saw what it was like just to have joy and love in their hearts.
It might seem quaint to the Boomers today but for a while we really did think we were startdust.
We didn’t need Ancestry DNA to affirm our kinship with all humanity.
We weren’t afraid of the unknown and actually sought it out.
Just a few weeks before Jimi electrified the Star Spangled Banner, we landed on the moon.
Asssassinations, war, and burning cities defined 1968 but the Jets winning the Super Bowl, Apollo 11, and Woodstock demonstrated that we were overcoming the obstacles cast in front of us. The New York Mets and the New York Knicks would continue this trend in the months after Woodstock.
I may no longer feel like stardust but I do still want that Aquarian outlook permeating my psyche.
Peace and Love everybody.