8/12-8/14/94…Woodstock ’94 (25th Anniversary), Saugerties NY

25th Anniversary of Woodstock Saugerties, NY 8/12-8/14/94

25th Anniversary of Woodstock Saugerties, NY 8/12-8/14/94

Woodstock ’94.  What an adventure this turned out to be.  I can’t remember how we first heard about it taking place.  But I do know my friends and I were determined to go.  My brother, who was in the military at the time, even decided he wanted to go.  The day the tickets went on sale in June, I was calling for hours before I got through the ticket hotline to buy four tickets-one for me, one for my best friend, one for her sister, and one for my brother.  This would be a trip that required much coordination and planning.  When the tickets originally went on sale it was only going to be a two-day festival (Saturday, 8/13 & Sunday, 8/14).   I literally got a packet of information, along with the tickets before the weekend of the festival.

Somewhere between the day I purchased the tickets and the day I received this packet, the promoters had added on another day of shows (Friday, 8/12).  This was gonna be tough for sure.  The plan had been that we would leave super early Friday morning (we’re talking 1am) to be able to get to Newburgh, NY and pick up my brother from the airport there.  He was flying in from out-of-state and his flight got in at around 5pm.  After my best friend and her sister found out about the added night of shows, they wanted to leave earlier.  For me, that just wouldn’t work, since no matter what I was picking up my brother.  Well, these girls were both ready to ditch me for another ride so they could get there earlier.  WOW!!  Really??  I was devastated because I had been so on top of this event for ALL of us and they were so quick to dismiss me.  We all went back and forth, discussing & fighting & discussing & fighting some more.  I really thought I was gonna end up NOT going.  I didn’t want to miss the festival, but I couldn’t even fathom driving all that way by myself.  But thanks to my mom, who unbeknownst to me at the time, paid my bff a visit and convinced her that the only thing for her to do would be to honor her commitment to me and ride with me, as we had originally planned.  And that’s just what she did.  Surprisingly, I didn’t hold any resentment toward her.  I was just relieved that it was all gonna work out.  Her sister, on the other hand, did end up taking that other ride.  And not for lack of trying, we never ended up finding her the whole weekend.  So the line up that Friday night looked like this:
Friday, August 12
North Stage

  • Blues Traveler
  • Candlebox
  • Collective Soul
  • Jackyl
  • James
  • King’s X
  • Live
  • Orleans
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Violent Femmes

South Stage

  • 3
  • Del Amitri
  • Futu Futu
  • The Goats
  • Huffamoose
  • Lunchmeat
  • The Paul Luke Band
  • Peacebomb
  • Rekk
  • Roguish Armament

Some great bands had been added, so we were hopeful that my brother’s flight came in on time and that we could still make it up to Saugerties in time to see most of these bands.  Wishful thinking, as it turned out.  My bro did come in on time and we did make it up to Saugerties in good time.  The problem, however, came about once we ditched the car in the Red Parking Lot and walked over to the shuttle area.  The campgrounds/music stages were pretty far removed from the parking areas, so we needed the shuttle to get over there.  What we were confronted with was hundreds (if not thousands) of people all stranded in this area.  After talking to some people who had been there for a minute, we found out we had just missed the last shuttles that had gone over to the music area and that they were stopping them…for no good reason.  At least, no reason that anybody shared with us, the paying patrons.  It really sucked…REALLY sucked!!  We literally hung out there for HOURS while the show went on.  In fact, we didn’t end up over there until around midnight, when it was so dark that we couldn’t see a damn thing.  So, we couldn’t even pitch our tent.  We ended up dropping our stuff not too far from where we were let off and pulling out our sleeping bags to sleep directly under the stars.  After 13, 14 hours of driving and another 6 hours WAITING, we were done.  I was woken up the next morning to rain hitting my face.  Nice.

Well, we were definitely excited to get this party started.  And what better way than with Joe Cocker to start the day.  We headed over to the main stage, tickets in hand.  And once we realized we had passed the gate and there were no ticket-takers, we kinda started laughing.  At that point we realized that we didn’t need tickets and we could’ve gotten in for free.  Ay!  Woodstock here we come!  Check out Saturday’s line up:

 

Saturday, August 13
North Stage

  • Joe Cocker
  • Blind Melon
  • Cypress Hill
  • Rollins Band
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Crosby, Stills, & Nash featuring John Sebastian
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Metallica
  • Aerosmith

South Stage

  • Nenad Bach[3]
  • The Cranberries
  • Zucchero
  • Youssou N’Dour
  • The Band featuring Hot Tuna, Bruce Hornsby, Roger McGuinn, Rob Wasserman, and Bob Weir
  • Primus featuring Jerry Cantrell
  • Salt ‘N Pepa

We pretty much stayed near the main stage the entire time, save for food breaks, potty breaks, and social meanderings.  Once we got to where we wanted to hang out for Mr. Cocker, we started getting to know the people around us.  It was cool because we were all hanging out for quite a while and we all sorta looked out for each other.  If somebody went to get food or beer, it was not only for them but for all of us.  It was definitely a friendly vibe that permeated the whole festival.  So Joe started the day off with a bang with “Feelin’ Alright”:

We were definitely feelin’ alright!!  He brought a sense of the original Woodstock back to life with his set.  We loved it!  At one point we had made an attempt to go to the South Stage to see The Cranberries.  But logistically, it was pretty difficult to get over there.  And we really didn’t want to miss most of the performances going on at the North Stage.  So we ended up backtracking and just missing them.  We were excited to see Blind Melon again.  It’s amazing what 9 months time can do to change someone.  It was both sad & disappointing to see how much drugs had taken control of Shannon Hoon.  He looked ridiculous in his get-up, which consisted of a long white skirt, and a blue barrette in his hair.  WTF??  He barely squeaked out the vocals and he was just all over the place.  Apparently, he was tripping on LSD.  You can see for yourself in this performance of “Deserted”:

This has always been one of my favorite Blind Melon songs and it’s really hard for me to watch this.  On a side note, while I was in Dallas in October of 1995 training to work for American Airlines, my roommate and I decided we would try to go see Blind Melon’s show.  They had a performance on October 19th down at a bar in Deep Ellum.  At the last-minute we changed our plans and didn’t go.  Two days later, 10/21, Shannon Hoon was found dead of a drug overdose on his tour bus in New Orleans.    I don’t have much to say about Cypress Hill & Rollins Band.  I remember the performances, but I really wasn’t into them.  I wasn’t and still am not a fan of either.  I really wanted to get into Rollins Band, but Henry just didn’t do it for me.  I was very excited to see Melissa Etheridge.  I had been digging on her newest album Yes I Am and was excited to hear her perform these songs live.  And she KILLED IT!!  Check out her performance of “I’m The Only One”:

She sounded ah-maz-ing!!  Is it bad that I really don’t remember Crosby, Stills, & Nash?  I know I saw them.  I vaguely remember.  But, unfortunately, their set just didn’t stick with me.  It might have been that I was getting too excited about Nine Inch Nails.  They were the first band to play after sundown.  WOO!!  After just seeing them in May, I was pumped!!  And with good reason.  They did their DAMN thing!!  Their whole set had us dancing.  And it was great, because as you can see in the footage, they were obviously playing in the mud before their set.  They ended their show with a punch-in-the-stomach version of “Head Like A Hole”:

Loved it!  And my friends, how do you follow-up a NIN show?  Yeah, with Metallica!!  I had never seen them perform live before.  And while I was so excited to see them, a terrible headache had crept up on me right before they went on.  How much did that SUCK???!!!  I tried so hard to enjoy this show, but I ended up sitting down, with my head in my hands toward the end of their set.  I was in pain.  They did a combination of old and new songs.  Here’s what they did to “Bredfan” & “Master of Puppets”:

Can you imagine sitting through this set with a massive headache?? BOO!!  I must’ve gotten some sort of pain medicine or something after this set, because by the time Aerosmith came out (at like 3 AM) I was READY to go!!  We had some crazy entertainment before they did start playing though.  There was some half-naked dude tweaking his ass off!  He was psychotic–jerking around and shoving into random people.  At one point he dropped onto his back and started masturbating.  I am not kidding.  This guy was out of his mind.  We tried to stay away from him cuz he really scared me.  He came at me at one point and I kinda screamed and moved away.  By the time Aerosmith came out we had forgotten, or at least tried to forget, all about him.  Seeing Aerosmith was beyond my wildest dreams.  Even though it was so late, they played a full and incredible set of songs.  They gave it their all!  They even encored for this hungry crowd.  The entire audience was so into this performance.  See for yourself with their last song before the encore, “Sweet Emotion”:

We stayed till the bitter end!   And full of adrenaline & excitement for the next day, we forced ourselves to get back to our tent so we could get some sleep.  Sunday was going to be a good day.  Check out what the line up looked like:
Sunday, August 14
North Stage

  • Country Joe McDonald
  • Sisters of Glory featuring Thelma Houston, CeCe Peniston, Phoebe Snow, Mavis Staples, and Lois Walden
  • Arrested Development
  • Allman Brothers Band
  • Traffic
  • Spin Doctors
  • Porno For Pyros
  • Bob Dylan
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Peter Gabriel

South Stage

  • John Sebastian and the J-Band
  • Country Joe McDonald
  • Gil Scott-Heron
  • WOMAD
  • Xalam
  • The Justin Trio
  • Geoffrey Oryema
  • Hassan Hakmoun & Zahar
  • Nenad Bach
  • Green Day
  • Paul Rodgers Rock and Blues Revue featuring Slash, Neal Schon, Andy Fraser, and Jason Bonham
  • Neville Brothers
  • Santana
  • Eric Gales
  • Jimmy Cliff‘s All Star Reggae Jam featuring Rita Marley, Eek A Mouse and Shabba Ranks

I remember that on this day we were determined (at least I was) to pick up some merch for myself and some gifts for friends.  So we made a point of going shopping before we went and saw any music.  In fact, we didn’t even hit the main stage till later in the day.

We were dead-set on seeing Green Day.  There was NO way were gonna miss their performance on the South Stage.  We got over there way before they went on.  That’s when we saw the naked, dancing boys.  It was hilarious.  The one naked guy turned out to be from Argentina.  My bff freaked out when she found out (she’s half Argentinian) and started talking to him in Spanish.  I found this so amusing.  Especially because she was standing there talking to him while he was butt naked.  Hello! lol  Anyway, at this point it was extremely muddy.  Honestly, it had been muddy all weekend.  We never engaged in much mud play.

Any mud that we got on us was because of trudging around in it or because of peripheral mud fights…like the one we experienced during Green Day.  What started out as a couple of people throwing muddy grass onto the stage ended in a massive mud  BATTLE that ultimately sent Green Day off the stage.  It was so disappointing that they were cut short.  I was enjoying them while I saw them and had REALLY wanted to hear them play.  It sucked!  I’m actually surprised to look back and see that they got through 8 full songs.  It seemed so much shorter.  But then again, their songs are not very long in the first place.  Here’s where it all went bad during “Paper Lanterns”:

Dirty Girls after Green Day. 8/14/94

Dirty Girls after Green Day. 8/14/94

Once they were done, we decided to go pack up our stuff so that once all the performances were over, we’d be good to go.  On the way back we stopped to take some pictures of the mud slide and various other oddities.

After we did that, we strolled back over to the main stage to catch  Porno For Pyros.  That was an interesting set.  Check out “Pets”:

After that I remember sitting around on a downed fence (conveniently next to some smelly port-a-potties), waiting for Bob Dylan to go on next.

Waiting for Bob Dylan. 8/14/94

Waiting for Bob Dylan. 8/14/94

It was pretty historic since he wasn’t at the original Woodstock, so we wanted to be there and make history with him.  I particularly remember him doing “All Along The Watchtower”, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any footage.  After he was done, we got up to move a bit closer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers performance.  By now it was dark and we were swimming in people. By the way, the total count of people for this festival was estimated to be at 350,000.  WOW!!  Back to RHCP-I could not wait to hear these guys!!  I had been a big fan for a few years now, so this was going to be great.

The crowd was so enthusiastic when they came out.  I will NEVER forget their performance of “Higher Ground” and all the swinging t-shirts.  You must check this out:

The scene will forever be ingrained in my brain.  The night & festival was capped off by a moving performance by Peter Gabriel.  Again, this was another artist that I was seeing for the first time.  Unfortunately, YouTube took down the clip that I had linked to this blog of “In Your Eyes” that he did with Youssou  N’Dour.   This entire set was a lovely & mellow way to close out the show and the festival.  By the time Peter was done, so were we.  We trudged back to where we had left our tent & other items, only to find that someone had stolen my sleeping bag.  Oh well.  Not a big deal.  We got back to the car pretty smoothly and made it to the airport to drop my brother off.  This drive home was super rough.  We were exhausted.  I remember stopping numerous times to try & grab some sleep in rest areas.  It sucked!  By the time I got home, it was Monday NIGHT!  Yes!  And without showering for three days, I was feeling pretty grimy.  My mom gave me a big hug when I walked in the door.  I told her, that probably wasn’t a good idea.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken such a long shower in my life.  The only mishap that I really suffered, aside from missing all the shows on Friday night, was losing a roll of film.  My best friend had been in charge of my camera all weekend and managed to take some great shots.  I have no idea where I lost the film exactly.  It may have happened on our drive back home, when we were dead-stopped in traffic and I made the mistake of getting out of the car to go into my trunk and pull stuff out of my bag.  When traffic suddenly started up again, I had to clumsily throw everything back in to the trunk so I could rush back to the driver’s seat. I think that’s when the roll of film may have fallen out.  To this day I wonder what was on it.  Oh well, what I do know is that this was a weekend to remember.

A pretty accurate depiction of Woodstock '94 in comic form.

A pretty accurate depiction of Woodstock ’94 in comic form. It may not have had the same spirit but it did have the same amount of FUN!!

 

 

 

 

 

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