On Saturday (August 11th), I attended Hippiefest 2007 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which is located on the former site of Max Yasgur's Alfalfa field, where the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held. The acts on the bill were Denny Laine (formerly of the Moody Blues and Paul McCarthney's Wings), Badfinfinger (with only Joey Molland), Country Joe McDonald, Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals / Young Rascals, The Zombies (with Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent), The Turtles (featuring Flo & Eddie a.k.a Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan), and Mountain.
First off, the venue, which only opened last summer, is gorgeous. It's similarly set-up like other outdoor venues like the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the PNC Bank Arts Center (except newer and with better landscaping).
Before the show, Corky Laing (Mountain's Drummer) was signing autographs - which I took advantage of. Also, Felix Cavaliere signed autographs during one of the intermissions - so, I got to meet him as well.
Meeting the two rock stars was just the icing on the cake of a great show!
On Sunday, (August 12), I saw Marty Balin (of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship) at a club near my house. He played as part of a trio with Slick Aguilar on Guitar and Neil Alexander on keyboards. Another great show - although this one was in a more intimate setting (less than 100 were in attendance). He played nearly 2 hours.
I met him after the show and had him sign a Woodstock poster (also signed by Richie Havens and Grace Slick). I'm hoping to get as many performers (who are still alive) to sign it as possible.
I wouldn't have gone to Hippiefest, if I didn't spend all day in Liberty, NY tutoring. And I wouldn't have been in Liberty tutoring if I hadn't volunteered to save my tutoring coordinators ass (her words). So, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to be there (I forgive you, Kristen and take back most of the bad things I've said about you- even though, it's really far ).
So, a more detailed description of the show:
Country Joe McDonald served as host. He introduced Denny Laine. Denny Laine was backed by Godfrey Townshend on Guitar, Steve Murphy on Drums, John Conte on Bass, and Manny Focarazzo on Keyboards (These musicians also backed Joey Molland and Felix Cavaliere - and well). Although, he was billed as the Original Lead Singer of the Moody Blues, in his opening remarks, he announced that he was a part of Wings and introduced "Time to Hide" from Wings at the Speed of Sound. He also played "Live & Let Die" and finished with "Go Now", by the Moody Blues. And then he went.
Joey Molland was next and he played "Baby Blue". "Come and Get It", Day After Day", and "No Matter What". Joey Molland discussed how good it was to and the band left the stage.
Country Joe McDonald returned with an acoustic guitar and then introduced himself. He talked about how special the place was to him (Woodstock) and that he was back to play at every reunion on the site. He welcomed all those that were at the original. He also welcomed Veterans and briefly discussed his own military service (He was in the Navy), and welcomed Friends of Bill W (He's also an alcoholic). He played "Support the Troops" which was pro-military but Anti-Bush. Another song that I don't know the exact title of but repeated the phrases "Woodstock is in the mind" and "bring back the Sixties" (Help would be appreciated). He then did the FISH Cheer (had to be done at Woodstock) and then closed out his set with "I Feel like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag".
A B-3 organ was rolled out center stage with a synthesizer on top and Country Joe introduced Felix Cavaliere, who was backed the above mentioned musicians except for the keyboardist. He started his set with "Lonely Too Long" which melded into "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" setting the tome for his set. All songs were played as medleys inserting various bits into his own songs. Something that U2 has done. I'm not sure who had the idea first. I enjoyed it - although, I know that others didn't like it (I met someone at the Marty Balin show who was there and described his displeasure - also, I believe my friend, Lucy, who is not on My Space, who attended the show on Long Island, also expressed her frustration with the medleys). Next was "In the Midnight Hour" which incorporated elements of "Shout", "We Will Rock You", and "Living in America". Corky Laing came out and played a mini percussion set, and another gentleman, who played harmonica, came out and the band launched into "Groovin' "which also touched on "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie", "My Girl", and "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)". He also played "People Got to Be Free/Oh Happy Day/Everyday People/Nowhere to Run/Thank You (Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Again)/People Got To Be Free". While he playing that Country Joe came out and joined in on sang background vocals and Corky Laing switched to the tambourine. Mr. Cavaliere closed out his set with "Good Loving" with "La Bamba" inserted and I realized they were the same song (as are "Stand" by R.E.M. and "I Saw Her Standing There"). Corky Laing also played tambourine and the percussion kit.
There was a short intermission and then the Country Joe McDonald introduced the Zombies. He mentioned that he loved their lyrics, like "the way she accents the color of her hair". Colin Blunstone wearing a black Nehru style jacket and black slacks and Rod Argent stood behind a mountain of keyboards. They opened with "I Love You" and "Sticks and Stones". Rod Argent then stated how those songs were early Zombies and they were going to play the last song on the Zombies final album and then launched into "Time of the Season". Surprisingly, they also played Argent's "Hold Your Head Up". They closed out their set with "Tell Her No" and "She's Not There"
Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a. Flo and Eddie) performed their signature mixture of music and comedy and were a lot of fun. They played "You Baby", "It Ain't Me, Babe"; "Elenore"; "You Showed Me"; "She'd Rather Be With Me"; and, of course, "Happy Together".
Last, but not least, was Mountain. Leslie West, who plays a Les Paul Jr., made me want to paraphrase Chris Farley – "fat man with a little guitar". Leslie West, who played the original Woodstock, Corky Laing, who didn't, and bassist, Ritchie Scarlett, who probably wasn't born in '69, rocked. They opened with "Crossroads" in tribute to original bassist, Felix Pappaardi. Leslie West briefly discussed being at the original Woodstock and then they played "For Yasgur's Farm". Next was "Nantucket Sleighride" which merged into "Paint it, Black". They closed with "Mississippi Queen". The crowd demanded an encore and they broke into "The Star Spangled Banner" as arranged by James Marshall Hendrix.
The next night, I saw Marty Balin at the Turning Point Café in Piermont, NY, a small club that seats about 70 people. He played with Slick Aguilar on guitar and Neil Alexander on keyboards. Mr. Balin and Mr. Aguilar have been playing together for nearly 20 years and have a good chemistry. They joked around a lot and Mr. Balin even did an impression of Jerry Lewis to Mr. Aguilar's straight man ( ala Dean Martin). There was also interaction with the audience - apparently some folks have been following Mr. Balin around on the tour. But it was about the music. He played the following ( a couple of songs I wasn't sure of the title of and had to research – the ones I still don't know are preceded by a question mark - help would be appreciated).
With Your Love Runaway Atlanta Lady ? Only One 3/5 of a mile in 10 seconds Count on Me Summer of Love Comin' Back to Me Today (had to research that one, John & Steph) ? The Tide Reach Home City Lights It's No Secret Plastic Fantastic Lover ? Keep Your Hat on, Jenny ? Sitting in a pub in Ireland Don't Give Up If I Had a Rocket Launcher (Bruce Cockburn cover) Caroline Miracles Hearts
p.s. Don't upgrade to Microsoft Vista - it makes me want to buy a Mac, as my next PC.