Joe Cocker at Woodstock
|Performed on||Day 3|
|Started at||2.00 pm, Sunday, 17th|
|Played for||85 min.|
|Festival Day Chronology|
|Prev. artist||begin of day 3|
|Next artist||Country Joe & The Fish at 6.30 pm|
Though Cocker was in the music business for quite a while he was hardly known. But after his triumphal success at Woodstock the man with the soulful voice became famous everywhere. Especially well received was the Beatles' cover song "With a Little Help from My Friends" which was already the second performance after Richie Havens' version on the first day. Cocker's backing band at that time was the superb Grease Band - a formation that lasted only two years.
Shortly after Cocker's gig a heavy thunderstorm washed over the festival and everything was brought to stop for several hours.
- Joe Cocker - vocals
- Henry McCullough - guitar, backing vocals
- Alan Spenner - bass, backing vocals
- Chris Stainton - keyboards, backing vocals
- Bruce Rowland - drums
- Bobby Torres - congas
- Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (without Joe Cocker)
- 40,000 Headmen (without Joe Cocker)
- Dear Landlord
- Something's Coming On
- Do I Still Figure in Your Life
- Feelin' Alright
- Just Like a Woman
- Let's Go Get Stoned
- I Don't Need No Doctor
- I Shall Be Released
- Hitchcock Railway
- Something to Say
- With a Little Help from My Friends
If people today are asked about Woodstock they say that it was a huge hippie festival at the end of the 60s, that Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin played there... and that Joe Cocker performed "With a Little Help from My Friends". This is no big surprise because the song's performance shaped Woodstock in some sort of way. The backing vocals of the guitarists are very high-pitched. They keep asking Cocker in this Gospel manner: "Would you believe in a love at first sight?" on which he responds with a deep and croaky voice: "Yes, I'm certain that it happens all the time.". The keyboards are hammering and the drums get faster as Cocker reaches the climax of his spastic movement - something that he did in the early years for a good show. This song which concluded his fabulous Woodstock set was truly a hightlight of the festival.
The other songs of the setlist were equally well performed though not as intense as the before mentioned encore. They come from the first two albums which were recorded by Joe Cocker and the Grease Band: With a Little Help from My Friends released in April 1969 and Joe Cocker! released after Woodstock in November 1969. The song "With a Little Help from My Friends" was already a number one hit in the UK in November 1968.
Joe Cocker was mainly known to sing cover versions of songs interpreted in his own manner. "Dear Landlord", "Just Like a Woman" and "I Shall Be Released" are written by Bob Dylan, "Let's Go Get Stoned" is a Ray Charles original and "With a Little Help from My Friends" comes from The Beatles. Further they performed three songs from the Psychedelic-Rock band Traffic: "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring", "40,000 Headmen" and "Feelin' Alright".
The first two songs were played without Joe Cocker. The Michael Lang book The Road to Woodstock lists the first song as an untitled instrumental jam. It was identified as "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring".
Meanwhile the complete Joe Cocker set (minus the Grease Band warm-up songs) are available on Live at Woodstock. "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring" was additionally recorded by the audience.
- 1970: Woodstock I
- 1994: Woodstock - Three Days of Peace and Music
- 1994: Best of Woodstock
- 2009: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm
- 2009: Live at Woodstock