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A Tribute To Woodstock – Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, “Joni Mitchell” – and Taking Woodstock

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I was born late for Woodstock, and came late to “A Tribute To Woodstock,” a series of four free concerts featuring the music and the performers of the granddaddy of music festivals on its 40th anniversary. It was raining when I arrived at Castle Clinton — just like Woodstock, but without the mud — and there was Richie Havens singing “Here Comes The Sun.” The rain stopped shortly afterwards!
A woman in the front row started punching her husband in ecstasy. Her name, I learned later, is Renee Rubin, and 40 years ago, newly married, the two of them went to Woodstock, and she remembers Havens there singing “Here Comes The Sun” and “Freedom.”
Has he changed?
“He’s mellower,” she said. And the venues where he performs are more intimate — which is what she prefers.
The Havens concert, and the one “in tribute” to Sly and The Family Stone have come and gone. Coming up on Thursday, July 30th is Arlo Guthrie. The following Thursday, August 6th, John Kelly sings the Joni Mitchell songbook. John Kelly appeared at the first Wigstock — an East Village spoof/homage in drag to Woodstock — as Joni Mitchell, and now performs songs from throughout her career.
The series, officially called “Four Nights of Peace, Love & Music: A Tribute to Woodstock” is part of the River to River Festival, a summer-long festival in many different venues downtown.
All the concerts are free. Show up at Castle Clinton — gateway to America (where immigrants were processed in the nineteenth century and where tourists now get their tickets to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island) — at 5 p.m. on the day of the performance. The concerts are at 7 p.m.
woodstocktakingwoodstockposterAt the end of the Richie Havens concert, somebody was handing out a psychedelic poster that turned out to be an ad for a new movie, scheduled to be shown at the end of August, written by James Schamus and directed by Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Sense and Sensibility”) called “Taking Woodstock”. It is based on the true story of Elliot Tiber, who had a hand in creating the original “3 days of Peace & Music in White Lake.” It also features a score of 1960’s music from The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and Country Joe and the Fish – “plus a new recording of “Freedom” from Richie Havens.”

Click here for other free concerts this summer in New York City.