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August 02, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-08-02

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Making the 'scene' at Watkins Glen
"CHOCOLATE mescaline, w i n- march got thicker and thicker the Sam Cutler of Altmont fame wanted to surprise us with the cardboard box in order to s e e
dowpane acid, STP, coke, closer we got to the stage. came on stage, although it could system's amazing power once the better. She neglected to notice that
reds, lids of Columbian." These. The gloom vomitted up a collec- have been anyone with an English live music began. No dice. the box, softened and soggy from
were the cries of the hawkers, the tion of pin heads and geeks among accent from where we were, and Bill Graham came on and an- the rain, was filled with broken
counter-cultural candy men who the normals whose stoned-out mo- proceeded to tell the sea of flesh nounced the Dead. The sound pen- bottles and lids from tin cans.
eventually met up with their trade mentum often hurtled them into that there weren't going to be any pe must have underestimated the The pain of the resulting cut
this past weekend at Watkins Glen. others, turning the road into a chatty messages; but, if Mary with size of the crowd. There could have woke her up to such an extent that
The dealers managed to turn a giant, ill-lit pinball machine. Like Joey's anti-biotics was around been a radio on stage and we would she was sure she was dying. When
simple two syllable word like lemmings we made our way to the could she please come to the back- not have known the difference. I tied a donated kerchief around
"acid" into a loud and obnox- stage. That's alright. I wanted to stage area. Whenever the wind direction was her foot and pointed the way to the
ious sound poem as they yelled hear the music of one of the best The red balloon, it turned out, unfavorable the music would dis- medical tents back up the hill she
from the tops of Rider trucks, the line-ups ever: The Grateful Dead, signified the medical tents and the appear. I now know the bass line profusely thanked me for saving
cavernous insides of darkened The Allman Brothers and the Band. porta-sans were filling rapidly. I to all the Dead's material played her life.
vans, or the nearest available tree. h was glad they were there,sthe ptor- on Saturday for that was the only
WE MADE IT to the stage in t-sans for by the looks of the thing that made it up the hilt with THE CROWD was back in full by
THEIR TRADE also had their time to hear the tail end of the road the whole area would have any regularity. this time and we realized the
Dead's sound check, a really nice Granted, the Dead played an ex- choice before us. Either we could
own identifiable cries. Alternating rendition of "Jack Straw From been swamped in some funky coon- cellent 3 hour set. move back and have a little room
between wistful and frenzied Wichitaw." Things looked prom- ter-cultural offal. I coudn't hear much but what to breathe and hear nothing or we
shouts people pleaded for "ups, ising after the chaos of the road. I did hear was powerful, exciting, could stay put, hear the music, pro-
downs, quaaaa-Ludes," and conceiv- But each scream for "boogy" THE ROAD looked like a com- intricate and tight. bably get hit by one of the misfired
ably anything else up to and in- skyrockets and definitely have no
eluding high octane gasoline that room to do anything except stand
would bendtheirheads intoeunre- shoulder to shoulder with whateser
cognizable shapes. Not that this bozo happened to be around.
was the majority of the popula-
tion, just the most vocal. "The bLest, the best goddamned party ever in the history of the whole Neither option seemed parti-
We had arrived at the small farm bercularly pleasant so we left, missing
town with the monstrous race track g,, the Allman Brothers and the cele-
at the end of an enormous traffic universe, got any reds, man. brated and eagerly anticipated
jam that clogged both lanes and "summer jam" between Garcia,
the shoulder of Route 14 at around a Watkins Glen groupie Betts and Robertson.
3:30 Friday after what turned out It took about two hours to pack
to be a rather short drive from up and hitch back down the main
Ann Arbor. It was diffucult to fig- ... . .- - . ;a os::p:orti road to where boredom and impa-
ure out who the geeks actually *.tience had forced us to leave the
were - those people gawking at car on Friday. The roadside scene
us from the front porches of houses sounded a bit too forced, too frene- posite of every Life magazine pol- ASSUMING, as was stated in the reminded me of one of Foulker's
along the road or those members tic. lution picture ever printed: News- press release, that the Allman Bro- passages describing the wounded
of the crowd who went from car We've got to have fun, got to papers, ice cream wrapers, b e e r thers were going to follow the Dead Confederate troops returning home
to car eagerly reporting each new get high, get wasted, get laid, get and soda cans, watermelon rinds, and because it was beginning to to Mississippi after the battle of
rumor. off, got to, got to, got . . ." We and probably a few people under- rain we left for the campsite-a Richmond. We were in Ann Ar-
Not only were the expected and went back to the campsite and neath all the garbage who were too mere hour's trek. After the rain, bor, after showers and a good sleep
halfway palpable Dylan rumors cir- slept. I wondered how Robertson wasted to move. We figured that if which turned the area into a quag- in Buffalo, by 5:00 Sunday after-
culating, but in the four hours and Garcia would sound togeth- the scene got too uncomfortable for mire, and brought the discovery noon.
that it took us to drive five er. Unfortunately I never found the Race Circuit officials they that I have an irrational fear of
miles we heard that Led Zeppelin, out. By morning, the expected 150,- could always smash open the porta- lightning we went back to the I'M SURE that many will dispute
Alice Cooper, and every other band 000 had turned into 600,000. sans and wash everyone into the stage. my recollections of the atmosphere
on tour within a thousand mile Saturday morning we headed next county. This time, because of the mass at the Glen. Maybe it was the best
radius was going to be there. The back to the stage area to get a exodus caused by the rain, we were friggin' party ever; I don't think
spectre of Woodstock was excitedly seat reasonably close to the stage. THE HEAT was unbearable. Five able to get close to the stage. On so. Bill Graham said that festi-
exhumed by the crowd. Just a few square feed to settle minutes would pass and the shade arriving, much to our dismay, the vals of this kind are the best kind
down in were all we wanted. The of the skin surrounding us was per- Band was finishing up their set. of wars to have because "every-
"THE BIGGEST, the best g o d- plot of hay covered turf we event- reptibly redder. Business, of course, "Stage Fright" was a real plea- body wins."
damned party ever in the history ually found was at least a quarter was as usual and it was a good sure with Garth Hudson blowing It certainly wasn't a concert and
of the whole universe, got any reds, of a mile from the stage. thing for us. An enterprising young like crazy. it is very clear that Watkins Glen
man!?" By 9:00 we had found a man had managed to fill a R i d e r was not catering to the music lov-
pleasant site in a pine wood. about THAT WAS as close as we could truck with Coca-cola and park it They played a rocker I'd never If anything, the music was
two miles from the stage. We get. Our plot was alternately in about fifty yards from where we ra csed R a only a catalyst; the "scne" i
set up camp and decided to recon- the middle of a lane of pedestrian were sitting. proficiency on mandolin. I think it what counts for most.
noiter traffic leading from the front to Until he realized that he was de- is impossible for the Band to play As reported in the press, Dead
The walk down the road to the the exits or a way station for die- pleting his supply of lukewarm an unprofessional set. This one, at manager Rock Scully noted, "We're
stage area was a truly psychedelic hard fans wanting to get closer, water to cool the elixir, he allow least what I heard of it, was at doing this because it's an event."
experience. It was a Coney Island The nearest speaker towers were ed people to dunk their shirts, hats times particularly inspired. Maybe if the crowd size had stay-
mind trip with stoned, straight, and one hundred yards away, about a and handkerchiefs thus providing a ed within expectations . . . I don't
totally burnt-out faces looming out forty-five minute walk through the much needed cooling off. Business AT THIS POINT I got frightened, know.
of the darkness in fisheye per- jumble of drunk and stoned peo~ elsewhere at the site was oppres- The lightning was geting intense But I. do know that whenever I
" specive. The crowd on his 1 o n g ple. sive. Besides the drugs there were and came with the frequency of a go to one of these things I always
pipes, papers, clips, Watkins Glen strobe. The crowd was filtering wish the promoters would sched-
T-shirts, Summer Jam T-shirts, back for the Allman Brothers, M ule another free concert to take
THE cold beer at three dollars a six, 80s, incredibly powerful firecrack- place simultaneously in Hamtram-
soda at forty cents a can, pizza, ers, were going off near the crowd, ack or Gary.
suemr D a epeanuts, popcorn, ice cream sand- and sky rockets, obviously fired by
wiches, head phones, amplifiers, some totally wired Beek, were get- TOPPING THE BILL would be
Suitner Edilin of other assorted stereo equipment, ting caught in the wind and ex- Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zep-
TH MICHIGAN DA ILY head bands, leather, watermelon ploding as they landed in the croced pelin, and Alice Cooper.
(a blessing), and anythiig else a not a 'hundred feet from where I Anything to get rid of the tiff-
hard core boogier might want was standing. rff.
Edited and managed by students at the *t* *
University af Michigan WAITING FOR the set to start, We were behind a girl who was John Adams is a student at the
we hoped that the reason we could so excited by the music and so University, a guest writer for
Thursday, August 2, 1 973 News Phone: 764-0552 hardly hear the recorded music on deadened in her quaalude stupor The Daily, and a victim of poison
the sound system was that t h a y that she decided to stand on a ivy.

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