EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY and 1960’s CULTURE!
Newport Pop Festival
Devonshire Downs, Northridge, CA
In addition to this concert chronicle, since I’m posting this on July 4th, I thought it appropriate to archive this Hippie’s take on this day’s meaning at the height of the Vietnam War.
First the concert:
I have since read that Jimi was still bummed during this gig from a previous arrest / bust / legal action that took place the night before. His performance didn’t translate negatively to me; it appeared if anything it gave him an edge. I know, as if he needed one! Apparently he was dissatisfied with his performance and returned the next day to jam with the Buddy Miles Express. You be the judge; you can choose between the two videos below: one is from the soundboard and the other is live footage.
My car was in repair so I hitch-hiked out to the valley with a friend from my hometown of Westchester the “Home of LAX”. By the time we got there the fences were down and as we walked in I heard the words, “free concert” in the air.
We entered the festival area just prior to Jimi taking the stage. I know that sounds “convenient”; but it’s true, as his first song was one of my early favorites “Stone Free” from the “Smash Hits” LP and verified by the Festival’s set list. Jimi’s fiery rendition of “Stone Free” went into an extended medley then back into “Stone Free”!
My memory of this particular concert is a little hazy but not due to drugs, that enhanced my memory – it could have everything to do with my view.
Unlike Blue Cheer at the First Newport Pop Festival (in Costa Mesa, not Newport Beach) this Second Newport Pop Festival (at Devonshire Downs not Newport Beach) we couldn’t just wind through the crowd and take a prime position in front of the stage. So at ground level distance, even a raised stage can diminish the atmosphere. The place was already packed and I was about where the guy that filmed the footage was – only I did not have a zoom feature on my eyeballs. However, I had incredible seats for Jimi at the Forum: See: HENDRIX – FORUM – 04-26-70
He had a few guests onstage like Bonnie Bramlett (from Delaney, Bonnie and Friends – opening act for Blind Faith’s only tour) and Eric Burdon (a personal friend of Jimi’s from his early days in London).
This was another festival seating concert but mostly everyone was standing – at least for Jimi. We stayed for his set and then hitch-hiked home.
Regardless of a less than perfect view, I was stoked to have made it there and to have been in the presence of Hendrix and him playing anything at all under any conditions was out of sight!
Another historic concert!
Lineup: Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vocal) Eric Burdon (vocal), Bonnie Bramlett (vocal), Buddy Miles (drums, vocals), Cornelius Flowers & Terry Clements (saxophones), Brad Campbell (bass), Lee Oskar (harmonica).
Setlist: Stone Free/Are You Experienced?/Stone Free (reprise), The Sunshine of Your Love, Fire, Hear My Train A-Comin’, Red House, Foxy Lady, Like a Rolling Stone, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Drum Solo (Buddy Miles), Purple Haze.
JIMI HENDRIX STAR SPANGLED BANNER LTD. ED. 30TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE 7″ SINGLE ISSUED IN 1999!
From 00individual’s collection.
THE VIETNAM WAR
With no internet or quick way to get information, we had to rely on the underground newspapers and underground radio to translate the U.S. Government’s/Establishment’s lies about the War into the hidden truths.
Still, seeing the war on the six o’clock news every night was horrific for many Americans; myself included.
Even when I was younger and learned about WWI and WWII, I understood the basic reasons for those wars, enough for my child-like ‘50s mind to cogitate justification; but here many years later I saw none.
It quickly became apparent that we were not getting the whole story and if I was to lay my life on the line I demanded some answers. Hell, we were able to die, but not vote! The insanity of this unjust War spread through society.
Eventually we didn’t care about answers. And then a very strange thing happened; much like the scene in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when the monkey touches the monolith and becomes aware, so was there a “Divine Intervention” of another monolith that came on the scene at just the right time to elevate the consciousness of an entire generation: marijuana.
This single element is easily responsible for the shift of an entire generation from the traditional way they were raised. Called correctly, a truth herb, marijuana had the almost inescapable ability to allow one to really look at and into themselves. And for most; probably for the first time in their lives. Those that grabbed at this opportunity for self-awareness did and those who didn’t like what they saw didn’t.
The “truth” is that after getting high it was harder to bullshit yourself and in some cases impossible, and it made it harder for anyone to bullshit you – as you somehow acquired the ability to see others in a new light also. Therefore you see the whole world in a completely different way than when you were “straight”.
The most important awareness was to “Question Authority”, something tradition taught us never to do. Once that became our inner mantra the dam of archaic tradition burst and there was no going back. Nor would we have wanted to – we were exploring a new land that made sense to our newly-acquired individual thinking.
We weren’t the ones with crazy ideas, they were.
Self-awareness extended outward to everything, and on the priority list at the time was the War. It was flat-out wrong and had to be stopped.
Since we had quickly learned that “everything starts with you”, our group contributed by not going, by conscientiously opposing, by protesting and by letting them know, “Hell No, We Won’t Go!” – and according to records, about 60% of eligible men avoided military service during the Vietnam War.
(For the bloody details on the United States Government’s “Lottery of Death” to provide fresh meat for the Draft; please read the following post.)
On top of all of the ill will, dissent and the massive wedge that the Vietnam War created between the generations; here are the statistics of Senseless Death
(the U.S. Government refers to the senseless death of US soldiers – average age of 19 as “casualties”. I finally realized that there is no word low enough to describe those who abuse power – like the U.S. Government. But their utter lack of genuine concern at the continual force-fed death of America’s boys and the horror it caused families across the nation is proven by their cold term, “casualties”.):
Senseless deaths of US Soldiers 58,156,
senseless deaths of 1 million Vietnam military soldiers,
senseless deaths of up to 182,000 N. Vietnam civilians.
There was nothing ”casual” about this – except for the U.S. Governments attitude toward their disgusting non-value of the human lives of the children who grew up believing in their Country, Right or Wrong.
Well, for us, that just wasn’t a good enough reason anymore!
I showed and truly felt my Patriotism by opposing the historically-proven shamelessly-wrong Vietnam War and all it stood for – and history has proven that I did the right thing along with the 60% mentioned – I wish more had.
There was a great bumper sticker back then, it read “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Maybe not in our lifetime, but man how I’d like to witness that!
In honor of the Fourth of July please take a moment to thank all those who gave their lives for our freedom throughout ALL the wars this nation has fought, whether drafted, enlisted or shot-down by our own National Guard for protesting the Vietnam War – and play Hendrix’ “Star Spangled Banner” as righteous background music.
HENDRIX – STAR SPANGLED BANNER 1969 WOODSTOCK – FLAT-OUT AWESOME – ALWAYS WILL BE!
In Honor of Jimi Hendrix I compiled this montage that hangs in my studio: copy of the Woodstock flyer, super rare animation cel from Ralph Bakshi’s “American Pop” movie and a photo of classic Hendrix!