Three a.m. Monday, August 18. Eight hours from now Woodstock will be over, Max Yasgur’s pasture reduced to a muddy garbage pile.
But eight hours is forever in concert time, and members of The Byrds, The Hollies, and Buffalo Springfield have just stepped onto the stage. It’s time for the second public appearance of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Young?
Neil Young refused to appear on camera, concerned that Michael Wadleigh’s documentary crew would distract from CSNY’s performance; would be an obstacle between the band and the audience. As a result he sat out for the majority of the band’s acoustic set and became another Woodstock ghost. He joined them for the electric portion of their set, and presumably this is why that footage still hasn’t seen daylight.
Crosby, Stills & Nash’s set is one of the most contentious in the official Woodstock canon. Every live album is “sweetened,” i.e., crowd noise is added, out of tune (or time) instruments are re-recorded, a vocal overdub here and there. But CSN’s set allegedly is mostly a studio rehash.
Here’s the thing: I don’t care. I really don’t. What matters to me is that their set as depicted in Wadleigh’s movie (and the accompanying albums) captures that Woodstock magic, whatever that may mean.
I don’t think you really need me to tell you what’s up with these guys. They still tour in various permutations, and they still fill the sheds. Occasionally a member’s battle with substance abuse crops up in the news, or one of the guys donates his genetic material to would-be parents or accepts a spare organ or five.
The real big news out of this camp is Neil Young’s Pono, an iPod competitor that promises a broader aural range. If he gets this thing off the ground we might actually be able to carry around the fidelity of a good turntable instead of the shitty, compressed sound of an MP3.
Here’s CSNY’s complete Woodstock set list and where you can find official (if not authentic) recordings:
1. Suite Judy Blue Eyes (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
2. Blackbird (Woodstock Diary (CD))
3. Helplessly Hoping (Youtube)
4. Guinnevere (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
5. Marrakesh Express (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
6. 4 + 20 (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
7. Mr Soul (Youtube)
9. You Don’t Have To Cry
10. Pre-Road Downs
11. Long Time Gone
12. Bluebird Revisited
13. Sea Of Madness (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
14. Wooden Ships (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
15. Find The Cost Of Freedom (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
16. 49 Bye-Byes
Your official (and bootleg) Woodstock soundtrack song count to date: 189