My whole life, I've been hearing about what a swell time all the hippies had at Woodstock in 1969. I should have been a little skeptical, but I wasn't. I'm stupid. I believe everything everybody says.
For instance, one of the parking attendants at Woodstock '99 gave me and another writer the wrong instructions and we wound up walking, like, 90 miles to the entrance, even though we had media passes and could have parked two feet away. I mean, I enjoy walking and all, just not 90 miles. Especially, when it's, like, 200 degrees out. It was so hot, as a matter of fact, that a lot of girls starting taking their tops off which may or may not be a good thing, if you know what I mean.
While we were walking, some girl asked me if I wanted to buy some "gel tabs." What are these things? Boy, it seems like they come up with new drugs everyday. I told her I wasn't in the mood right then. I mean, I didn't want to be rude or anything.
When we finally got to one of the stages, this band Buckcherry was playing. They're these super cool guys that play some really awesome rock and roll. They blew me away. Really, they did. The lead singer has these tattoos all over his body and the guitar player's hair is about 19 different colors. Anyway, after hearing them I felt a little better.
When the set was through, I had to go to the bathroom so I went into one of those Porta-Sans. Forget about it. You never saw anything so disgusting in your life. I mean, think of the most disgusting thing you've ever seen and multiply it by a thousand and that's what it was like. I could hardly go.
I have to say one thing about old Woodstock '99, they did have some super cool bands playing. We spent hours trying to find our car to bring it back to the media parking lot which was a big pain in the butt but in-between we caught snippets of Offspring, DMX, Sheryl Crow, Korn, Insane Clown Posse, and George Clinton & Parliment/Funkadelic. I really mean it. They had some terrific bands at Woodstock '99.
I was kinda depressed when I left for my hotel, though. I mean all these kids paid 150 dollars and they were lying on the ground, filled up with overpriced junk food ($6 for a slice of pizza, $4 for a can of soda), and covered with dirt and stuff. I'm not saying they didn't enjoy it. It was just kind of sad that's all. I guess it's just me. I get sad about the weirdest things.
The next day was even hotter. I mean, take the hottest day you can remember and times it by, like, 200. That's how hot it was. They kept telling people to keep drinking water in-between taking drugs, which, I guess, might have been a good thing.
Anyway, we went over to the press tent to listen to Micky Hart the guy who played drums for the Grateful Dead who was giving a conference. Somebody told him that they thought Woodstock '99 must really suck in comparison to the original deal. Micky answered that Woodstock '69 "was not all it was cracked up to be." He said that the original festival "was commercial, too" and that there were problems with the stage and sound. I thought that was a pretty good answer on old Micky's part.
They had this one area, by the way, the Emerging Artists Stage, that I liked a whole lot. They had some terrific bands there. Really, they did. Two that I liked were the Stepmothers and this girl Bijou Phillips who lifted her shirt up at the end of her set and shook her breasts for a few seconds. I wonder if eating "gel tabs" makes you do stuff like that.
Verne Troyer, the guy who played Mini-Me in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me got up on stage in between Dave Matthews and Alanis. He said he was busy getting drunk and he was currently on his third Budweiser. Sounds like he's really living the good life, old Mini-Me. It made me laugh, but then it got me a little depressed, thinking about old Mini-Me celebrating his 15 minutes of fame by sloshing down beer at Woodstock '99. Like it's champagne at the Taj Mahal, or something.
Then, I started thinking about all the kids at the festival again. I saw quite a few lying around in the mud, on the cement, looking really dazed. They didn't look like they were going through one of the healthier moments in their lives, if you know what I mean. I don't think it was from the gel tabs either. I think it was from a combo of heat prostration, dehydration, and three days of Woodstock's smorgasboard of expensive fried food.
I heard somewhere that old Woodstock '99 stands to net, like, 90 billion dollars or something from the festival. All I can say is, if there's a Woodstock 2000 (which I doubt in light of the ensuing riots that closed the festival late Sunday night), maybe somebody somewhere can sink a few more pennies into taking care of these kids. If a body could catch a body coming through the rye, God, what a nice world it would be.
More Woodstock '99 Photos
More on the Riots
Interview with Buckcherry