Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Who performed at Woodstock?

Woodstock celebrated its anniversary this week or last... if you don't remember you were probably there.  Woodstock was the touchstone for my generation. So as members of the Love Generation it was our (Sandi & me)  duty to celebrate the occasion by watching "Woodstock" the Movie on an obscure cable HD channel.

Woodstock was as I remembered it.
The movie not the event.  There was no way I could have gone to the real Woodstock.  At the time I was a deeply closeted hippie living an under cover assignment posing as a college student in my folks house. Upstate New York was galaxies away from Dallas, Texas in 1969.  
But I have seen the Woodstock movie, once, years ago.
As a movie it's not so much but as an early recorded concert it makes a fine music video.
Here is the scene for the Woodstock celebration.  It follows a similar pattern as any typical evening at the Johnsons. The television is on and we are both in the den/family room. Sandi and I are multi-tasking on various iDevices while the television is on and we are listening more than watching. I am not relating to the "behind the scenes film" but the music is the sound track of my youth.
Joe Cocker begins singing "With a Little Help from my Friends".  I am distracted from my iScreens to the biggest screen in the house. There are close-ups of a young Joe Cocker doing the signature Cocker moves.  Odd choice of style then, and still is today.

I say, "Look, Sandi it's Cocker." 
Her attention is elsewhere and she says, "Who?"
"Joe Cocker" 
She looks up for a second or two. "It doesn't look like him." 
I say, "It's Woodstock. He was younger."
"He was at Woodstock?"
"He was one of the headliners."
She thinks for a moment. "Wow. That's something. I didn't know that about him. He's done everything. What a career. "
Her knowledge of Joe Cocker's career is not something I knew about my wife.
She watches a little longer. "Is that him singing or is he lip syncing it?"
"That's him. It was recorded live at Woodstock. That was one of his hit records."
"He recorded that? "
"Of course,  it's a Beatles song you know. "
"Oh I knew that but I thought some other guy recorded that version. The guy with the raspy voice. The guy who sang "Wrote me Letter."
"Joe Cocker. "
"Right. Joe Cocker."
"And there he is on the screen singing."
"Wait a minute that's Joe Cocker?"
"That's who we're talking about. That's him."
"Well I know that's Joe Cocker, You told me it was Phil."
"Proctor. You said that was Phil Proctor."
It takes me a second.
Realizing the error I say, "Cocker.  Joe Cocker. Not Phil Proctor."
"Well that makes a lot more sense." She looked down and continued to play Words with Friends.

Now least we dismiss this conversation as just a miscommunication here is the complicated backstory to that conversation.*

Phil Proctor  is someone who logically and realistically could have been on the Woodstock Stage. In the late sixties early seventies, Phil Procter was a member of the Fire Sign Theater which was the voice of comedy counter culture to that Woodstock generation.   Sandi and I met Phil Proctor and Melinda many years ago and have been friends ever since. Since Phil is not such an unusual name, there were even two Guys named Phil in the Firesign Theater,  we simply  call our Phil, "Proctor. " 
Phil has acted in literally every medium of entertainment ever created.  We never know where we will see him next, and it is not surprising to see him in obscure and interesting programs.  I am always turning to Sandi and saying, "That's Proctor" when I hear his voice on the radio or see him in a guest role on television. 
In our decades of marriage I have said to Sandi many times, "Look it's Proctor," and only once have I said, "Look it's Cocker." It was not that far of a stretch to get confused. 
As you were,

*Note: Sandi told me that if I was going to write about this, I had to explain the back story or it came off as just a silly mistake.  


P. Grecian said...

A friend wanted me to go to Woodstock with him...but my son Alex had been born only a week earlier, and I thought maybe I should stay home.
Love both Cocker and Proctor.
Got quite a bit of Cocker's music...but, unfortunately, it's on LP, and I can't play it. Need to get it again on the format du jour.
Got lots of Firesign Theatre as well. Same deal.
I get by with a little help from my friends, and we are all bozos on this bus.
So it goes.

Bob Baker said...

You know Phil Proctor?? Ralph Spoilsport?? I'm beyond impressed. When I was in college, he and the other members of Firesign Theater were Comedy Gods at whose feet I worshiped. I could recite all their albums (with voices) by heart. Still quote Nick Danger regularly. I helped bring Firesign to Princeton to perform live--what a show!!

Phil G--all available in iTunes and CD. And Firesign is just as good as you remember it.

P. Grecian said...

You're right, Bob. I need to re-get those. I've just been sittin' in my office, reading my name on the door...naicerG lihP.