Woodstock wasn’t the best organized event, to say the least. Woe unto the poor musician who found himself standing around backstage during a lull. That’s how Richie Havens came to open the festival, and how Country Joe McDonald ended up playing a solo acoustic set.
And it’s why former Lovin’ Spoonful John Sebastian had to shift gears from trying to wear all of the tie-dye and smoke all of the pot in the tri-state area to playing a short set on a moment’s notice.
It was Saturday afternoon, 45 minutes after Santana blistered the first ten rows, when Sebastian was shoved out on stage. His stage patter is among the best on record: If you listen closely you can hear the THC.
Big John (I just made up that nickname) had a huge hit in the mid-seventies with the Welcome Back Kotter theme song, and he’s never really stopped working. He gigs quite a bit, in fact, though he’s retired the tie-dye.
If you’ve got $150 American (or more) you can get his complete performance on the out of print Faithful Virtue: The Reprise Recordings. It’s a three disc set, seventy songs. In iTunes terms that’s not a horrible cost per tune for a John Sebastian fan, but if you’re looking purely for Woodstock material it’s a bit steep. Here’s Sebastian’s Woodstock set list and where you can find all of it for a lot less:
- How Have You Been (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- Rainbows Over Your Blues (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- I Had A Dream (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
- Darlin’ Be Home Soon (Woodstock: The Lost Performances (VHS))
- Younger Generation (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
Your official Woodstock song count to date: 52
Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.
Here is Sebastian‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:
1. Chip Monck – “If it’s out of reason, I trust someone will tell me”
2. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN
3. RAINBOWS ALL OVER YOUR BLUES
4. I HAD A DREAM
5. DARLING BE HOME SOON
6. YOUNGER GENERATION
7. John Morris & Chip Monck – “They’re with us, man!”