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Woodstock: A moment in time

One brief shining moment

Patrick Guntensperger


VANCOUVER ISLAND CANADA – People of my generation can’t help but experience mixed emotions as they survey today’s political landscape.  For those of us who look back on the 1960s with pride and affection, the predominant emotion is perhaps dismay. We who were part of history’s most important “youth generation” since the possibly apocryphal Children’s Crusade of 1212, have to feel a sense of loss, even betrayal at the current political zeitgeist. The second decade of the 21st Century sees that vanguard of democracy, the United States of America, consumed with internal struggles over such issues as equal pay for equal work, marriage equality, legal abortion, a new form of segregation, and yes, even the legality of contraception. The most liberal policies proposed or advocated by the Democrats, the more liberal of the two major parties are so conservative that Dwight Eisenhower would have been reluctant to get behind them. Even the word “liberal” has become a pejorative term.

 There was a time not so long ago when being a liberal was a good thing, when politicians elbowed their way to get farther to the left than the next guy, when conservatism was suspicious. That was a time that saw Edward Kennedy grow from a firebrand to a revered elder statesman. That was a time during which Roe V Wade was decided, when Pierre Trudeau was

and it’s one, two, three, what’re we fightin’ for?

Canada’s hippest ever PM, and the Rolling Stones did their very best work. That halcyon world can be traced back to one long summer weekend in 1969, when the world was riveted by the counterculture, when the outcasts and the iconoclasts, the far left, the hippies, the yippies, the freedom fighters, the rock ‘n roll generation, the flower children all got together and by celebrating their own culture, became the standard by which everyone was judged for a decade. That weekend is known in our collective consciousness as Woodstock.

‘scuse me while I kiss the sky

Until Woodstock the counterculture – indeed the entire under-thirty generation – was looked upon with suspicion and hostility by pretty much anyone who didn’t wear beads. The establishment saw the anti-war, peace and love movement as a joke, and hippies, the catchall term for anyone more bohemian than your schoolteacher, were the punch line. After a half million of us got together for a weekend of fun and music, and pulled off the world’s greatest and now iconic rock concert without a single arrest, no violence, and having earned the grudging respect of the small town residents of upstate New York, the coolest generation ever was given the highest form of praise there is…everyone became a citizen of Woodstock Nation. Just as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, in the warm afterglow of Woodstock, middle class suburban housewives were wearing peasant dresses and sandals, their husbands grew their hair and eschewed ties for turtlenecks and their Oxfords were replaced by elastic-sided suede boots. Being a hippie was okay.

Don’t touch my bags, if you please…

 But the acceptance of the hippie consciousness really was absorption; it took decades until we arrived in the day of the neocon, but as sure as global warming, the counterculture became mainstream and gradually morphed into an Ayn Rand version of social paradise. In this century we are looking at a right wing reality that would have been envied by Weimar Republic;

oh lord, won’t you buy me…

where Karl Marx is considered to be a satanic monster rather than an economic historian with alternative ideas for the distribution of wealth; where women once more are being told what to do with their bodies by religious fanatics; where the US is fighting the longest war in its history with scarcely a word of protest; where being called a liberal is worse than being called a child molester or used car salesman.

 Woodstock will never – can never – happen again. Too bad. We need it now more than ever.

 But just as a public service I offer what follows. Look it over; if it brings a lump to your throat, I bet I can guess when you were born within fifteen years.

Woodstock 1969  Set list

I based this on the research of memories and records; there is no definitive list as the result of the chaotic conditions, cancellations, last minute additions, and epic ingestion of hallucinogens by everyone involved. Pete Townsend warned other performers not to drink from anything but sealed bottles, as everything was spiked and he had been dosed with some “pretty dodgy acid”; he spent much of his performance and the hours afterwards tripping.

Day 1              August 15, 1969

1. Swami Satchidananda

2. Richie Havens

The Minstrel from Gault

From the Prison

Get Together

From the Prison (Reprise)

I’m a Stranger Here

High Flying Bird

I Can’t Make It Anymore

With a Little Help from My Friends

Handsome Johnny

Strawberry Fields Forever / Hey Jude

Freedom (Motherless Child)


3. Country Joe McDonald


Rockin’ All Around The World

Flyin’ High All Over The World

Seen A Rocket

Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-To-Die-Rag


4. John B. Sebastian

How Have You Been

Rainbows All Over Your Blues

I Had A Dream

Darlin’ Be Home Soon

Younger Generation


5. Sweetwater

Motherless Child

Look Out (???)

For Pete’s Sake

Day Song

What’s Wrong

My Crystal Spider

Two Worlds (???)

Band Introduction

Why Oh Why


6. Incredible String Band


The Letter

This Moment

When You Find Out Who You Are


7. Bert Sommer


The Road To Travel

I Wondered Where You Be

She’s Gone

Things Are Going My Way

And When It’s Over



A Note That Read



8. Tim Hardin

(How Can We) Hang on to a Dream


If I Were a Carpenter

Reason to Believe

You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie

Speak Like a Child

Snow White Lady

Blues on My Ceiling

Simple Song of Freedom

Misty Roses


9. Ravi Shankar

Raga Puriya-Dhanashri/Gat In Sawarital

Tabla Solo In Jhaptal

Raga Manj Kmahaj

lap Jor

Dhun In Kaharwa Tal


10. Melanie

Close to It All

Momma Momma

Beautiful People

Animal Crackers

Mr. Tambourine Man

Tuning My Guitar

Birthday of the Sun


11. Arlo Guthrie

Coming into Los Angeles

Wheel of Fortune

Walking Down the Line

Arlo Speech: Exodus

Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep

Every Hand in the Land

Amazing Grace


12. Joan Baez

Oh Happy Day

The Last Thing On My Mind

I Shall Be Released

Joe Hill

Sweet Sir Galahad

Hickory Wind

Drug Store Truck Driving Man

I Live One Day At A Time

Sweet Sunny South

Warm and Tender Love

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

We Shall Overcome

DAY TWO – August 16, 1969

1. Quill


They Live the Life


Waitin’ For You



2. Keef Hartley Band

Spanish Fly

Believe In You

Rock Me Baby

Medley: Leavin’ Trunk, Halfbreed, Just To Cry, Sinnin’ For You

3. Santana


Evil Ways

You Just Don’t Care




Soul Sacrifice

Fried Neckbones


4. Canned Heat

I’m Her Man

Going Up the Country

A Change Is Gonna Come

Leaving This Town

The Bear Talks

Let’s Work Together

Too Many Drivers at the Wheel

I Know My Baby

Woodstock Boogie

On the Road Again


5. Grateful Dead

St. Stephen

Mama Tried

Dark Star

High Time

Turn On Your Lovelight


6. Mountain

Blood Of The Sun

Stormy Monday

Long Red

Who Am I But You And The Sun

Beside The Sea

For Yasgur’s Farm (then untitled)

You And Me

Theme From An Imaginary Western

Waiting To Take You Away

Dreams Of Milk And Honey

Blind Man

Blue Suede Shoes

Southbound Train


7. Creedence Clearwater Revival

Born On The Bayou

Green River

Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do)



Bad Moon Rising

Proud Mary

I Put A Spell On You

Night Time Is The Right Time

Keep On Choogin’

Suzy Q


8. Sly & The Family Stone


Sing A Simple Song

You Can Make It If You Try

Everyday People

Dance To The Music

Music Lover

I Want To Take You Higher

Love City



9. Janis Joplin

Raise Your Hand

As Good As You’ve Been To This World

To Love Somebody


Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)

Kosmic Blues

Can’t Turn You Loose

Work Me Lord

Piece Of My Heart

Ball and Chain


10. The Who

Heaven And Hell

I Can’t Explain

It’s A Boy


Amazing Journey


Eyesight To The Blind


Acid Queen

Pinball Wizard

(Abbie Hoffmann Incident) In which a tripping Abby grabbed the mic at centre stage and started a paranoid, incoherent rant. Different people have different  details, but the consensus is that the incident ended when Pete Townsend used the stock of his guitar to encourage Abby off the stage. Apparently he didn’t break the instrument  as he performed the rest of the set using it  occasionally). Abby was fine, if incoherent for hours. But that was fairly standard for Abby Hoffman on acid.

Do You Think It’s Alright?

Fiddle About

There’s A Doctor I’ve Found

Go To The Mirror Boy

Smash The Mirror

I’m Free

Tommy’s Holiday Camp

We’re Not Gonna Take It

See Me Feel Me

Summertime Blues

Shakin’ All Over

My Generation

Naked Eye


DAY THREE – August 17, 1969

1. Jefferson Airplane

The Other Side of This Life

Plastic Fantastic Lover


Won’t You Try / Saturday Afternoon

Eskimo Blue Day

Uncle Sam’s Blues

Somebody To Love

White Rabbit

3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds


2. Joe Cocker

Delta Lady

Some Things Goin’ On

Let’s Go Get Stoned

I Shall Be Released

With A Little Help From My Friends


3. Country Joe & The Fish

Barry’s Caviar Dream

Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine

Rock And Soul Music

Thing Called Love

Love Machine

Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-To-Die-Rag


4. Ten Years After

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes

I May Be Wrong, But I Won’t Be Wrong Always

Hear Me Calling

I’m Going Home

5. The Band

Chest Fever

Baby Don’t Do It

Tears Of Rage

We Can Talk

Long Black Veil

Don’t You Tell Henry

Ain’t No More Cane

Wheels On Fire

Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever

The Weight

 (After midnight – Monday Morning) – August 18, 1969

6. Blood Sweat And Tears

More And More

I Love You Baby More Than You Ever Know

Spinning Wheel

I Stand Accused

Something Coming On

God Bless The Child (Order ?)

7. Johnny Winter

Mama, Talk To Your Daughter

To Tell The Truth

Johnny B Goode

Six Feet In The Ground

Leland Mississippi Blues/Rock Me Baby

Mean Mistreater

I Can’t Stand It (With Edgar Winter)

Tobacco Road (With Edgar Winter)

Mean Town Blues


8. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

(Set One – Acoustic)

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes


Helplessly Hoping


Marrakesh Express

4 + 20

Mr Soul


You Don’t Have To Cry


(Set Two – Electric)

Pre-road Downs

Long Time Gone


Sea Of Madness

Wooden Ships (Encore – Acoustic)

Find The Cost Of Freedom

49 bye-byes


9. Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright


Born Under A Bad Sign

All My Love Comin’ Through To You

Love March


10. Sha-Na-Na

Na Na Theme

Jakety Jak

Teen Angel

Jailhouse Rock

Wipe Out

Who Wrote The Book Of Love

Duke Of Earl

At The Hop

Na Na Theme


11. Jimi Hendrix (The Gypsy Sun & Rainbows Band)

Message To Love

Hear My Train A Comin’

Spanish Castle Magic

Red House

Master Mind

Here Comes Your Lover Man

Foxy Lady



Gypsy Woman


Voodoo Child (slight return)/Stepping Stone

Star Spangled Banner

Purple Haze

Woodstock Improvisation/Villanova Junction

Hey Joe

Hendrix insisted on being the final performer and was scheduled to perform Sunday at midnight. He didn’t take the stage until 9 A.M. on Monday morning and played for 2 hours to a dwindling audience.     


Cancelled Acts

Jeff Beck Group (The band broke up in July, forcing cancellation)

Iron Butterfly (Stuck at the airport, their manager demanded helicopters and special arrangements just for them. Were wired back and told, as impolitely as Western Union would allow, “to get lost”, but in other ‘words’.)

Joni Mitchell (Joni’s agent put her on “The Dick Cavett Show” instead)

Lighthouse (Feared that it would be a “bad scene”.)

Ethan Brown (Arrested for LSD three days before the event.)

Gimme an “F”!!!!!





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