It’s Woodstock, fifty years later—the convergence of 60, 70 and some 80 year-olds onto an iconic bowl-shaped venue as they try to buck themselves out of skin that’s liver spotted and crepey in order to make the wry prick of time not feel so poignant or so permanent.
Cold rain and hot earth create a sauna effect in which old hippies sweat out their today in favor of a wistful yesterday. And when the steam rids them of their cell phones and tablets. Their outrageous Medicare bills and unfairly taxed social security. Their Facebook-feed envy and partisan news wars, that same steam reaches inside and puffs them up like adders, but without the serpent and sting, just light, love and letting go.
I got tickets…my 70-year-old mother in tow. We can barely see the stage from our lawn seats—seats, a pretty fast-and-loose term. Our blanket, soon drenched—more so by spilled twenty-two-dollar cups of unidentifiable daiquiri than rain—is abandoned as we walk away, feigning ignorance.
Woodstock as a venue during the off season is pretty unimpressive…considering. Nursing my Janis Joplin obsession, I’ve visited a few times. It’s about the history that happened there of course. But unpopulated, it’s looks just like one of those bucolic rural landscapes you’re apt to find in a hotel bathroom.
I can’t speak to what happened there in 1969. Neither can my mother as her parents forbade her from going. My father got within about forty or so miles, but incredibly tangled traffic tie-ups (try saying that phrase five times fast) were simply too much for my impatient dad to withstand; he and his friends ultimately turned around.
Wanting to surprise my mom, I got tickets to this weird fifty-years-later redux. The main attractions on the day we attended: Santana and the Doobie Brothers. We can only see them because of the jumbotron screens. I’m not sure what I expected, or what she expected. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that re-creation isn’t really real. Sure, it was nice. It was cool to be standing there fifty years to the date, but I can tell that especially for those who’d been the first time around, this was a staged show (nearly pantomime in some ways) and not that spur of the moment event that froze history for a world second as by dawn’s early light, Jimi Hendrix redefined the Star Bangled Banner for an entire generation.
Anne is a former English professor turned content writer. Holding a PhD in Literature, she spent almost a decade in academia putting that degree to use, until finally realizing it wasn’t exactly the best fit. A full-time writer for the past seven years, she’s learned a great deal about the numerous subjects she’s gotten to tackle, everything from real estate investing to the scarier side of online dating—sometimes more than she actually wants to learn. She can be contacted at [email protected]