What must it have been like to have been at Woodstock? Like, really have been there, not just watched the film or the 2009 movie about Woodstock, not just have gone to any of the several million muddy, druggy outdoor festivals that proliferated in Woodstock’s wake, but really been there, man? I’ll never know. The real experience of the 1960s can feel as forever irretrievable as that of the 1860s. But, wow, am I glad for the development of moving pictures and live audio recording in that 100 years.
Not only can we see the throngs of happy hippies making their way across Max and Miriam Yasgur’s dairy farm in the initial few minutes above, but we do not have to smell them! Seriously, the footage leading up to Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock performance is fun, including a brief glimpse of Jerry Garcia hanging out with the people. But you’re here to see Jimi, so, if you can’t wait, skip to ahead. The crowd certainly waited—waited three days for Hendrix to close the festival Sunday night with his band Gypsy Sun & Rainbows. Then they waited some more, all night, in fact, until Hendrix finally took the stage at 8:00 a.m. that Monday morning, August 18, 1969. I imagine everyone who stayed would say it was well worth it. Part 2 of the video is here.
The performances, as you know, are legendarily blistering and include Hendrix’s famously screaming, feedback-drenched “Star-Spangled Banner.” See it above like you never could if you were knee-deep in mud and standing behind a crowd of thousands in the summer sun. Hear it above in audio from Internet Archive, who also have mp3 and ogg vorbis versions of each song for free download. And hear a radio documentary about that performance below. Enjoy!