Do As The Hippie Dippie Do

I finally made it! The grounds where Woodstock ’69 took place. Where thousands of people came together and showed the world that we could live in harmony. Religion, ethnicity, gender, none of that mattered. It was just the music and a whole lot of hippie love. Something I admire profusely.

To be apart of something that meaningful, a piece of history in a positive way….man I wish I was alive then. 3 days of pure happiness. Of true peace. Not having to worry about the war that was going on or who you can or can’t love. Being able to be one with the music and the crowd surrounding you. Even something as simple as not having to look a certain way because that’s what society said. I’d give anything to be a part of that culture. 

People automatically assume that if you state you’re a hippie that you smoke pot, don’t wear a bra, don’t shave, do other psychedelics, and are well…dirty. However, I beg to differ. I like the definition in the picture above. If I’ve learned anything on my short time on earth it’s that there is so much life to be lived and only you can stop yourself from living it.

I’m making sure I go and see what I want to and experience new and exciting places and people. Nothing is better than getting to know the locals and really learn about the town, culture, or to just make new friends. So that’s how my friend and I ended up in Bethel, NY.

Anyway, back to Woodstock 2017. With a flower crown on my head and a not so cliche tie dye dress I couldn’t wait to step foot on the grounds where so much history was made. Mind you this the most excited I’ve ever been to be at a historical site, a close second is where parts of dirty dancing was filmed, but I suppose that’s not “historical”. 

Anywho, we walked around and saw the pavilion where they now host smaller concerts and the musuem, but we were seriously having trouble finding the huge open field..seriously what the hell?  I finally asked someone and they said literally go straight and you’ll see it. 

So we started walking, further and further and then BAM. There it was…..I swear the green on the grass was more vibrant than any other green I’ve seen. At the top was a oversized picture frame that gave you a perfect photo op and man did I take advantage of it. Here’s only one: 

Let me tell you all I could think of was how badly I wanted to roll down this hill. I imagined what it was like in August with thousands of people singing in unison to Joe Cocker’s versions of Lets Go Get Stoned and of course With a Little Help from My Friends. I tried to imagine Janis sippin’ whiskey somewhere before her set and how it felt to hear Jimi Hendrix wail the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. I was in heaven. 

In the far left corner was the monument saying Woodstock ’69 took place here and a “peace” tree with hundreds of peoples names carved and written into the trunk and on wood chips. We left our mark there before taking more pictures. Where the stage used to be are rocks that spell out love, peace and outline peace signs. If you’re standing on the flat piece of land you can see the lawn mowed gigantic peace sign and all I could do was smile. I thought I must listen to some of the set list in it.

Plop down in a section, pulled out my phone and pressed play on Piece of My Heart. Laid back and closed my eyes to soak it all in. Halfway through mother nature started to weep lightly onto us. I didn’t even care because it rained then so I looked at it like I was getting the full experience. 

Well wouldn’t you now you’re not allowed to have the full experience anymore because they send a car down to tell everyone to head back up to the top because there’s a storm a coming. So sadly Janis got cut off just short of finishing and we headed back up the hill. We checked out the vendors and I picked up a peace key holder then went into the museum and took the tour. Watched the movies in the bus and the theater and hit up the store where I splurged on a denim Woodstock jacket. After that the storm was on and off and we decided to leave and go down the street for some food.

The app pears and brie with an array of fruit that made the plate bright. For our meals gnocchi with wild mushrooms,  they were like fluffy little pillows that melted in our mouths. After chatting with the bartender a bit we paid and headed back home. Our trip to the past came to an end but not before clearing up,  leaving us with a double rainbow to remember the summer of ’17. The first but not the last trip to Woodstock. 

-AMP

Music To My Ears

Recently I saw two art forms that reminded me of how real music sounds like. The first being La La Land and the second seeing Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Both of these have jazz influences and brought me back to how real artist are.

They believe that real music is felt not just heard. They don’t stand on stage with their lips pressed on the microphone, they take you on a journey and let you peek inside their window of pain or glory. Even playing an instrument isn’t just playing notes, it’s painting them for all of us to see.

La La Land immediately made me want to go to a jazz club. No structure, just play. Yes of course you go to a concert now and artist have solos as well, but nothing beats hearing someone wail on a saxophone or dancing across those ivories. A lot of people don’t like jazz music, they say it’s to chaotic, but isn’t that the point. Isn’t that life? Before even seeing this movie I had a jazz station set on my radio and I find it relaxing or energetic depending on what’s playing. Hearing the rawness of jazz just makes you feel human. There are no right or wrong notes, it just is.

Which leads me to the concert. My best friend got me tickets to see Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox and honestly they left me with hope for real musicians. Some of the singers have been contestants on American Idol while others were equally talented vocalists. A little background, PMJ was started in NJ in Scott Bradlee’s basement. He just wanted to take songs of today and set them in past eras, from the 20’s-50’s. I fell in love with, well it’s hard to say them because there are many different artists, but anyway I fell in love with their version of “Creep” featuring Haley Reinhart. It’s bluesy, sultry, and heart wrenching, both vocals and music wise. After seeing the show I fell even more in love with the lineup they brought and their versions of “Call me Maybe, “Stacy’s Mom”, and even “Mmmbop”. This singers pleaded their souls with every song and the musicians were extraordinary! They got to show off there skills with solos in multiple songs and their was even a tap dancer who acted as part of the percussion. The audience sang to every song, danced along in their seats, and hoot and hollered with “Yassss” and “Woo!” towards notes that were being hit or just because. There was no pyrotechnics and no fancy dance breaks. Instead the whole cast spread their contagious love for music and genuinely enjoyed every second they were on stage.

Those are the concerts I love to go to. Where the band sweat every once of their performance because they lay it all out their. Where the vocalists take you to a place that you see their emotions. Not where an artist stands in front of a mic for two hours stoned or too drunk to play. Not where the theatrics are more important than the music, with the exception of Gaga because she puts on one hell of a show and we know she can sing from the Oscar’s a couple of years ago.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the roots of music are lacking in today’s music. The younger generation are growing up with an appreciation for “dance” music, which if that’s your fancy good for you. Don’t get me wrong I dance to today’s hits when I go out but nothing beats sitting in a small venue and really seeing the music come to life.

-AMP