Woodstock Turns 50

It’s been half a century since 500,000 people made their way to Bethel, New York for the now-historic Woodstock Music Festival. The iconic festival didn’t come together overnight, in fact, it nearly didn’t happen at all. Finding a venue proved a difficult task for event organizers. Organizers didn’t land the famous dairy farm in Bethel until roughly a month before the first act would take the stage. Woodstock was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” The Woodstock moniker wouldn’t come until later. Woodstock’s legacy lives on through just about every festival that takes place today.


Woodstock 1969 Lineup:

Day 1:

Richie Havens
Bert Sommer
Sweetwater
Melanie
Tim Hardin
Ravi Shanker
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez

Day 2:

Quill
Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Keef Hartley Band
Santana
The Incredible Stringed Band
Canned Heat
Mountain
The Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin
Sly and the Family Stone
The Who
Jefferson Airplane

Day 3

Country Joe and The Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Johnny Winter
Blood Sweat and Tears
Crosby Stills Nash and Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Sha Na Na
Jimi Hendrix


Listen to Woodstock

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Jimmi Hendrix

Janis Joplin

The Snake That Came Around and Began To Eat Its Tail

Bruce Springsteen feat. Danny Federici and Nils Lofgren

Bridge School Benefit Concert

Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA, October 13, 1986

By Erik Flannigan

Less than a month before the release of his physically and sonically mega box set Live/1975-85, Bruce went completely the opposite direction, stripping down to play his first all-acoustic set since 1972 at what would become Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit Concert.

During a guest DJ session on E Street Radio, Nils Lofgren recounted getting a call from Bruce to join him for the Bridge (Lofgren was also on the bill as a solo artist). Along with Danny Federici, the trio worked up and rehearsed the set in a New York City studio in early October 1986. But as Nils tells it, in an anecdote that conveys deep admiration for the confidence and prowess of his bandleader, on show day at Shoreline, Bruce called a major setlist audible. It wouldn’t be enough to merely play acoustic; Springsteen would go one step further and open the show a capella.

Here was the biggest rock star in the world, last seen 12 months earlier wrapping his staggeringly successful Born in the U.S.A. tour in front of 85,000 fans at the LA Coliseum, taking the stage and singing “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” accompanied only by his snapping fingers. Nils described Bruce’s audacious performance as Elvis-like in its physicality, and grainy bootleg video of the show confirms that. What an entrance.

The Bridge ’86 is a special show. The short but oh-so-sweet set reconnected Springsteen with acoustic performance and can be viewed in hindsight as helping spur a decade or more of solo appearances like the Christic concerts and acoustic recordings like The Ghost of Tom Joad that followed.

The line-up for the inaugural Bridge benefit included Bruce, Nils, Don Henley, Robin Williams (who briefly referenced his famous “Elmer Fudd does Bruce Springsteen” bit during his stand-up set that night), Tom Petty, and host Neil Young (who had his own special guests in Crosby, Stills & Nash). Not unlike the M.U.S.E./No Nukes shows, another benefit where some of these same artists shared a bill, “Broocing” throughout the concert made it clear who most of the audience had come to see.

Following “You Can Look,” Bruce delivers an astounding rebuttal to the jingoistic appropriation that surrounded the title track of his last album. “This is a song about the snake that came around and began to eat its tail,” Bruce says introducing his first public airing of the original solo acoustic arrangement of “Born in the U.S.A.” Any misconstruing of or ambiguity as to the song’s meaning is vanquished over the next five minutes in a spellbinding performance. Until the Bridge, one could only speculate as to what “Born in the U.S.A.” would have sounded like on Nebraska. Now we know.

Nils and Danny then take the stage, and we get an exquisitely rare outing for this E Street Trio. What magic they weave. “Seeds” arrives as a companion to “Born in the U.S.A.” Angry and defiant in 1985, the 1986 model of “Seeds” is instead weary and knowing, sounding like a tune from a bygone era. “Darlington County” is next, preceded by a mini-edition of the story that introduced “Open All Night” in 1984 of Bruce getting pulled over on the turnpike. Nils provides charming harmony vocals throughout the show, none better than what he offers here, as “Darlington” takes its time driving down from New York City.

Strumming and singing brightly, Lofgren shines again on “Mansion on the Hill,” as does Federici. Danny first vamps a little “Lady of Spain,” as Bruce gets his guitar ready, then adds rich accordion swells that paint the song an emotionally tinged hue.

“Fire” will be familiar to those who own Video Anthology on VHS or DVD, where the Bridge version was showcased. Before it starts, Danny is again tapped to fill time due to minor technical difficulties, and he drops a dose of Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll.” Uncannily, Federici used the song in much the same manner in the earliest E Street days circa 1973-74. Though “Fire” is rightly remembered as a Clarence Clemons showcase, the acoustic version, carried by Bruce’s deep vocal, is pure delight, peaking when Lofgren and Springsteen raise their voices way up to sing, “your words they liiiiiie.”

“Dancing in the Dark” rides a particularly passionate lead vocal along with some fine accordion work from Federici in the final third that pushes the Shoreline audience towards rapture. “Glory Days” always had a bit of a campfire singalong vibe underneath it, and that comes through in this charming take that has the swooning audience joining in.

Serving as something of an encore, “Follow That Dream” lends poignancy to the evening as Springsteen dedicates the song to Neil and Pegi Young. In its River tour incarnation (as heard on the London ’81 archive release) “Follow That Dream” is stark and solemn. In 1986, it transforms into an uplifting song of hope, performed less as a mediation and more as an instruction.

For the final song of the set, “Hungry Heart,” the trio is expanded with backing vocals and guitar from special guests David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, and Young, putting a spirited ending on just under an hour of acoustic enchantment. 

Bridge School ’86 is a significant moment in the rebirth Springsteen as an acoustic artist. Since that show, Bruce has done two fully acoustic tours and a Broadway run that carried on in the spirit of ’86. Perhaps someday, Bridge School ’86 could still inspire an E Street Trio tour as well.

2019 Red Rocks Collection

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is hands down one of our favorite venues in the US. The natural beauty that accompanies the sweet sounds of live music makes for a breathtaking experience. There’s a reason why it’s a must-visit location for nearly all of our nugs.net artists. Below you’ll find a collection of every Red Rocks performance we have from this year… so far.

The String Cheese Incident


Leftover Salmon


Widespread Panic


Umphrey’s McGee


Spafford


Dispatch


moe.


The Infamous Stringdusters


The Disco Biscuits


Papadosio


Twiddle


Lotus


Looking for video? We’ve got tons of videos from Red Rocks on our YouTube channel!

TAUKing Beatles is Here

Ahead of their upcoming tour, TAUK just released their much sought-after TAUKing Beatles set from Resonance Festival 2018. The performance was unlike any Beatles cover set you’ve seen before. It’s a magical show filled with fun jams and a fantastic song selection. We talked to the band about the show, check out the interview before queueing up the show on nugs.net

What was the most challenging part of performing an all Beatles setlist?

Anything TAUK does we want it to be unique and special to who we are as a band. The Beatles’ catalog has such a wide variety of styles and musical approaches it was a little tricky to find songs that we could meld into our own TAUK sound because there’s so much to choose from. Also, the Beatles are well known for their lyrics which presents a challenge as an instrumental band. We decided on songs with strong recognizable melodies so the crowd could sing-a-long and be an active part of the set. However, we found less popular songs like, “Taxman” which allowed us to improvise and keep the audience guessing.

These jams go deep, the listener can immediately tell how vast the improvisation goes on this set. How did you balance maintaining Tauk’s sound with Beatles songs?

That’s easy. We just do what we do and make sure we listen to the songs and each other.

What three words can you use to describe this set?

Epically-Gnar-Awesomesauce

Which band member does the best British accent?

Charlie does the best Ringo. Please find him and ask him to do it!