Not much happening on the concert circuit as the FILLMORE was closing down in anticipation of WOODSTOCK. My first festival, not WOODSTOCK, was a one night event called the LONG ISLAND ROCK FESTIVAL @ Freeport Race Track, August 6,1969 (2 weeks before Woodstock) featuring CANNED HEAT, TEN YEARS AFTER, CAT MOTHER AND THE ALL NIGHT NEWSBOYS, and a Boston band ORPHEUS. TEN YEARS AFTER was the tease for me. In total after all is said and done, I have seen TYA eighteen times with this being the first time. Prior to attending this “festival” I put in a full day at work and a short visit to the doctor. While working the “hi-lo”moving skids filled with boxes from the floor to the high shelving area I inadvertently almost cut off two fingers. Slightly bleeding but breaking the skin to the bone, the nurse in the factory took care of the wound and suggested a shot from the doctor. Tetanus and novocaine were administered, and I was given the rest of the day off, big deal 15 minutes. At home, I quickly dressed for the show hoping to get out of the house before my parents saw my bandaged fingers. And I did.

ORPHEUS was good with a nice version of their hit record CAN’T FIND THE TIME. CAT MOTHER, a New York ensemble did their hit GOOD OLE ROCK AND ROLL and finally TEN YEARS AFTER, the band I really wanted to see. They were unbelievably good, remember this is two weeks before their legendary performance at Woodstock. They played SPOONFUL, GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOL GIRL, HOBBIT (drum solo), I CAN’T KEEP FROM CRYING, HELP ME, and I’M GOING HOME.

After an extensive intermission CANNED HEAT, the full ensemble with the Blind Owl in tow, closed the show. A 45 minute boogie was a bit much for me as the novocaine didn’t work any longer. I nodded off while laying on a blanket with my girlfriend. TYA made my night.

A few nights later the evening news showed horrific scenes depicted later to be labeled as the TATE-LOBIANCA murders, aka Charles Manson and family.

IT’S BEAUTY THAT KILLED THE BEAST: It’s a week before those “3 Days of Arts, Music and Fun” aka WOODSTOCK that Fillmore East hosts JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and JOE COCKER. SPONTANEOUS SOUND, a one man percussionist (if that’s what he was) ran amok on the stage, banging, hitting cymbals, drums, bells, the works, with his long hair flowing and having no shirt on; What an idiot, I thought.  After his fifteen minutes of fame was over I was both confused and amused.  Joe Cocker was up next and having had his first LP on heavy rotation in my room, Cocker turned out to be not what I expected at all. He was a visual experience with hands gesturing wildly as he sung, yet this British white dude sounded a bit like Ray Charles. Familiar cover songs he introduced and as they were played each seemed to take on a new persona, they became Joe Cocker tunes: LET’S GO GET STONED, FELLIN’ ALRIGHT, BYE BYE BLACKBIRD and of course WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS.

The AIRPLANE was a trip, really a trip. I had been waiting a long time to see these guys, back since that NEWSWEEK article and that conversation with my neighbor many months ago. Now here I was. As the final scene from the King Kong movie played behind the band, they tuned up and  “It wasn’t the airplane, it was beauty that killed the beast” and away we went with Ballad of You, Me and PoohNeil with The Glenn Mc Kay Headlights behind the band projecting images on the screen.The amps were cranked up, three vocalists sang, a bass player stalked around the stage,  while the drummer who with his cowboy hat looked like a sheriff meshed with a guitarist who was making the strangest feedback. Was I high or where they THAT good? They were that good.