“Lot of freaks!”
Today is the 50th anniversary of the first day of the famous (or infamous, depending on how you feel about hippies, nudity, mud, and Crosby Stills Nash) 1969 musical festival, Woodstock. Today’s music video of the day is taken from Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 documentary about that event.
Arlo Guthrie was the son of folk singer, Woody Guthrie. He’s best known for the Thanksgiving anthem, Alice’s Restaurant. I enjoy his performance here because Arlo is both playing up to the crowd while, at the same time, remaining rather detached from them as well. He understands the audience and allows them to think that he’s one of them while remaining a bit above it all. (And if you have any doubt, just look at him flying over Woodstock in a helicopter.) It’s the same feeling that one gets from watching Arlo in the film version of Alice’s Restaurant and it makes him a more intriguing figure than the artists who unambiguously embraced the counter culture.
Wadleigh, of course, uses Guthrie’s song as a way to acknowledge that, believe it or not, a lot of weed was smoked at Woodstock.
Finally, it’s a pretty good song. Rhyming “Los Angeles” with “a couple of keys” guarantees that.