Sometime around Jefferson Airplane I’d floated back to consciousness. “I slept though The Who? HOW do you sleep through The Who? Why didn’t you wake me?”
“Because if I was sleeping like that and you woke me, I’d have fuckin’ killed ya,” Leona was sullen in the best of conditions. Wet, hungry, unbearably filthy and crashing from acid, nobody could sleep through all that and yet I had done just that, slept through my favorite band.
Arguably this was the greatest musical line-up of our time, Cocker, Joplin, The Band. It was the last day of Woodstock so Jimi Hendrix had to play. So much to look forward to and yet we were so damned uncomfortable.
So feeling like The Dead and bad weather, we lit up a joint and discussed our options. I wanted to go swimming in the drinking water again but Leona said that we had only one choice before us which made sense… in the odd ways that stoned hippies made sense of such things. We had in our stash several hits of Sunshine, a handful of reds and a half a lid of pot. We reasoned that if we took the acid we would both hear the bands and it would curb our hunger. You were never hungry tripping on acid. Unless someone gave you a sacred tomato grown during ceremony at a Hindu temple in Haight-Ashbury you wouldn’t even think of eating while tripping on acid.
By Joe Cocker we were peaking, which was excellent timing. Half the freaks imitated Cocker’s convoluted air guitar and the rest of us were grooving in our own way, until the Heavens cracked open and it poured… yet again.
I later read that five inches of rain fell within the next few hours while the crowd chanted, “No rain, no rain, no rain” Perhaps this was the point in time when the Freak-Out Tent became filled to capacity. It seemed better to move about. I picked up the water jug and attempted to find the path.
If you have ever tried to walk across a crowded beach on a Sunday imagine that every step sinks you ankle deep in sand. Shoes become impossible and every step covers other beach goer’s blankets deeper in sand. Now add two days of heavy rain and a chunk of dirt the size of Connecticut… the path you need to find is two football fields away… and you are hallucinating.
That’s when the Woodstock Angel took pity on us again and bestowed the gift of the mud slide. And she deemed that we play in it like the children we were in the Great Primordial Earth that was Woodstock. Freaks sluiced, we cheered. They floundered and slid and we laughed… then they raised the filthiest among us… in offering.
Recharged by Gaia we drummed, existed as one native heart. With the comfort of rhythm, a renewed belief, and a knowing that I could cope with these elements, I lazed on well soaked ground. I saw Mayan jungle mazes and stairways of rainbow light that spiraled on to infinity.
Once the stage was dry enough to NOT electrocute the talent, they continued, Ten Years After, The Band, they supplied the Music, our minds supplied the Art. Johnny Winter, Blood, Sweat and Tears and Janis, Oh Lord, Janis and the clouds turned into feather gifts that celebrated the meaning and heartbreak of her song. I understood the color of sound.
By Sly, my brain felt like corn–mush and although the great force called Woodstock continued, I was done for the night. With a little help from my reds I faded in and out to Paul Butterfield then slept soaked to the bone until…
“What the Hell was that?”
To be cont…
Next Thursday: Hendrix and Home from Woodstock