Jerry Garcia always maintained that he and his band performed poorly at Woodstock because they were distracted by “the presence of invisible time travelers from the future who had come back to see it. You could sense the significance of the event as it was happening.”
Makes sense to me. It always seemed strange that the concert was almost instantly regarded as so epochal. Why would that be? There was a hell of a lot of other stuff going on at the time. The answer, I guess, is because people from the future had already decided it was.
Perhaps because Garcia and his Grateful Dead bandmates may have been, to use a favorite Garcia word from those days, “hipper” to the presence of those invisible time travelers, the Dead were more afflicted with pixie dust than other Woodstock musicians.
It was pitch-dark when they hit the stage, and a howling wind was blowing down the hillside, actually threatening to move the huge stage backwards in the mud.
Dead bassist Phil Lesh recalls:
The stage was sinking, and the equipment was starting to roll toward the edge. The sound system went off, the lights went off, and radio signals from the Air Force were coming out of my amp. It was not an atmosphere conducive to good music.
Lesh wasn’t the only one afflicted by strange noise:
Random CB radio signals kept erupting out of the PA while the band played, and “people behind the amplifiers kept yelling, ‘The stage is collapsing! The stage is collapsing!’” Garcia said.
Dead Keyboardist Tom Constantin says:
“Actually, I had a wonderful time. The guitarists were not. Because of electrical problems, they were getting shocks from their strings and all,” he said. “Aversion therapy like that, no one needs.”
Throughout the Dead’s set, Garcia observed blue balls of electricity bouncing around the stage; these would occasionally either strike, or emanate from, his guitar. Garcia thought these balls the product of some electrical problem.
Uh-huh. Not wise, Jerry, to tattle on the time-travelers. ; )
In honor of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I’m putting up Joe Cocker’s Woodstock version of “With A Little Help From My Friends.” Not because it’s a great version of a song that Cocker made great. But because it could be regarded as evidence of Garcia’s time-travelers theory. Cocker was always an odd duck in those days, but on this day he waddled through the looking glass. This is a man who surely seems to be seeing, feeling, receiving, reflecting somebody from somewhere.
i got to get my friends together
cause all we gotta do is love now
i’m gonna take em home with me now
you got to get hold of your friends now
you got to get hold of your friends and love
everybody knows the way
everybody knows the way now