WOODSTOCK: At 50 - The Who

Woodstock, the most famous music festival of all time, took place 50 years ago this week, August 15th to the 18th, 1969, in Bethel, New York.

The Who were one of the biggest acts signed to perform at the festival, but Pete Townshend wasn't keen. He says he was "held hostage" by his booking agent Frank Barsalona and festival production director John Morris until he finally said yes, agreeing to a fee of $12,500.

Originally scheduled to perform on Saturday night, August 16th, they didn't go on until 5:00 o'clock Sunday morning. They did a selection of songs off the newly released Tommy, reaching the album finale of "See Me, Feel Me" just as the sun came up at 6:05 a.m.

Roger Daltrey tells The New York Timest that their performance was among their worst. "It was a particularly hard one for me because of the state of the equipment. It was all breaking down. I’m standing in the middle of the stage with enormous Marshall 100-watt amps blasting my ears behind me. [Keith]Moon on the drums in the middle. I could barely hear what I was singing."

Townshend has said he hated it, but has also said it was career-defining.

Pete Townshend on The Who playing Woodstock:

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The Who's performance was briefly interrupted when radical rabble-rouser Abbie Hoffman jumped on stage to rant about the imprisonment of fellow radical John Sinclair. Townshend knocked Hoffman down with his guitar.

The Who's set at Woodstock:

  1. Heaven and Hell
  2. I Can’t Explain
  3. It’s a Boy
  4. 1921
  5. Amazing Journey
  6. Sparks
  7. Eyesight to the Blind (The Hawker)
  8. Christmas
  9. Acid Queen
  10. Pinball Wizard
  11. Do You Think It’s Alright?
  12. Fiddle About
  13. There’s a Doctor
  14. Go to the Mirror
  15. Smash the Mirror
  16. I’m Free
  17. Tommy’s Holiday Camp
  18. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  19. See Me, Feel Me
  20. Summertime Blues
  21. Shakin’ All Over
  22. My Generation
  23. Naked Eye

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