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4.5 stars.... Excellent coffee table book on Woodstock
on July 25, 2009
The 40th anniversary of Woodstock is upon us in exactly 3 weeks, and the market is being flooded with Woodstock related books of all kinds.
"Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked The World" (288 pages) is a coffee table book edited by Mike Evans and Paul Kingsbury. It is a pure delight to read from start to finish. The book is organized chronologically (rather than, say, thematically), a major plus. Every single artist that played at Woodstock gets profiled and interviewed and on top of that, We get the time of when they came on stage (e.g., Paul Butterfield Blues Band came on Sunday night into Monday morning at 5 am) and every single set list is included as well. Some artists only payed a couple of songs. It is surprising to me how many bands or artists played Woodstsock which I barely recognize (Tim Hardin, the Keefer Hartley Band, etc.), and how many of them were strictly acoustic. The other thing that is so different from the big festivals of today like Bonnaroo is that there was only one stage.
The artists relay many funny stories about their experience at Woodstock, some new, others not. About to be helicoptered from her hotel to the stage area, Melanie retells how "my mother and I started walking towards this helicopter, and someone says 'Wait, who's she?', and I said 'It's my mother' and they say, 'No, only bands and managers'--and I didn't even have the sense to say 'She's my manager'. I just said 'Goodbye, Mom' and I felt aweful about leaving her behind but I had no choice." Haha! Or how John Sebastian is unexpectedly asked to jump in and play a set and hence has to borrow Tim Hardin's guitar. And on and on.
The visuals in this book are just a marvel to look at. Some of these pictures are now iconic, but there are lots of others that are equally interesting and entertaining. In all, I can't say enough how impressed I was with this book. It's like you were there, really (except for the soundtrack of it all, which of course you can find on many newly released reissues from many bands that played the festival).