Getting to Look Park in Northampton just early enough to scarf up a couple of tickets to the 19th annual Transperformance show before it was too late, it looked like others weren't so lucky...
With much of the local population strongly rooted (ideologically) in the 'hippie' era of the 60's , the show commemorating one of the pivotal moments of that era was predictably sold out in no time. This year's theme, 'Lookstock', was in tune with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with a roster of local bands paying tribute to the famous bands that graced that stage so long ago.
Proper attire was optional, and surely encouraged.
The music started about four o'clock with Country Joe Arlo, John B. Sebastion and Canned Heat setting the love and peace theme, and getting some early starters dancing while the amphitheater filled up.
Then Joe Cocker got by with a little help from his friends, followed by a woodstock-audience-walk-thru-medley by the famous local band Primate Fiasco.
By this time the place was full up and the warm setting sun glinted off of a re-sprouted sixties spirit...
I had to miss the next few performances so I could go back outside to meet Kelly and the bloggerette who had just arrived, and lead them back in time. It was the little one's first concert, and she quickly felt the mellow.
While outside I noticed that many people had camped out to listen, or waited in line for people to leave so they could get in with their donated ticket stubs...
...Northampton Mayor Higgins and the fire marshal were aware of and appraised the situation. With some cooperation from the crowd, room was made to safely allow a few more grateful people in.
Northampton media personalities kept the show flowing with original Woodstock references and characterizations, and at one point brown acid got up on stage to clear his maligned name and set the story straight.
Another time an original woodstock attendee regaled the crowd with memories of rain, mud, overturned port-a-potties...and of course love and peace. Peace and love again predominated, and the huge crowd offered up only token problems like people going into the surrounding off-limit bushes. Later on there were two nervous instances of wayward children, but they were quickly recovered; cuing much applause...
The show grooved on. Joni Mitchell paved paradise, Blood Sweat and Tears carried on, and Janice Joplin prayed for a Mercedes Benz, a-capella.
The crowd was heavily sprinkled with Woodstock era throwbacks and ideologues that kept emerging, serving to recollect what it was all about back then.
As it was getting down to the final handful of remaining performers, (there were some 24 acts in all), some of the most well known and iconic performances of the original Woodstock were still due to come onstage. The sun began to set as Sly and the Family Stone grooved everyone into the twilight...
...followed by famed senior singers Young @ Heart as they flew the Jefferson Airplane into night proper.
The darkness brought out the heavy stuff, and The Who electrified the audience until their speakers burned.
They. Rocked. Out.
The Grateful Dead followed up with surprisingly authentic sound; so much so that a couple of old timers in front of me gushed out 'Thank You! Thank You!' when they finished up.
F. Alex Johnson did a stellar tribute to Jimi Hendrix, right down to the guitar burn.
...unfortunately the crowd was pressed in so close to see it, I couldn't get a good shot.
These last few performances made the concert for me. But we would have to forgo the final few acts (Crosby Stills and Nash, and Richie Havens) to beat the traffic. We made our way out, with the tune of Mountain's Mississippi Queen fading in the distance behind us.
It was a great show, and an impressive tribute to that far reaching August weekend, 40 years ago...