Saturday, August 15, 2009
Sullivan's FarmTrue, it was Gilbert and Sullivan rather than Jimi and Janis. And, true, we only had 5000 as opposed to 500,000. But we had emergency vehicles. And we were a gathering. And you could feel the energy.
I was trying to picture what 470,000 looked like. It would be slightly less than 100 times more than the audience we had at the Redlands Bowl tonight. 100 times bigger than this WPA-era amphitheater and all its surrounding grassy hillsides was holding. That's... big. But it was also sort of kind of conceivable as well.
I watched and ran the show from the lighting and sound area in the midst of the audience. Doubt there were many geriatrics moving up the aisles on their walkers at Woodstock, but there were plenty of kids at the Bowl tonight... conked out on their parent's chests, or against each other like floppy, deeply peaceful bookends.
Some time during Act II we saw a pair of red flashing lights coming slowly up the side street. I realized that a gathering even 1% as large as Woodstock was still big enough to host its own medical emergencies, create its own microcosm of community.
So I got a little thrill. When I mentioned that we were a little Woodstock over the headsets (not really hoping anyone would actually get it, but just saying it out loud because I was so tickled with the notion), one of the crew members (all of whom were born after our current set was built) (no lie) asked if I had been there. I snorted in huge derision and mock affrontery. Hellooo. I was, like, TWELVE at the time. What did they take me for, anyway?
And then I realized... wow. I really am kind of old. Most of my commentary this show has started with comments like "you know, I was there when they built the 210 freeway." "You know, I've been with this company from before they had computerized lighting boards." "You know, when I started Word Processing we used 7 inch floppies. Nope, not 5 1/4. Nope, not 3 1/2. Nope you wouldn't have seen these computers in your parent's living room when you were a toddler because this was before there were even PCs!"
That's been how it's been the past few days. Then there's this Woodstock moment with the flashing lights. And I saw that I had been graced with a little tiny postcard from the universe. See, it said on the back in a messy scrawl. Here you go. It's the best we could do on short notice, but here's a little message -- the balmy summer night, the crowd of humanity sharing the same music and food and weather -- the moments of hope are not yet over. For you, or for the world. There will be other grace notes of intersection, both big and small, when people come together and have an experience laced together by community and music. It happens far more frequently than you'd imagine, and it's magic when it does.
So take heart, fair days will shine... take heart, we are still stardust and we are still golden. We are closer these days than we have been for awhile, but we are still very far away from that idyllic garden we all were so eager to find. We'll get ourselves back to it someday. And in the meantime we'll find ourselves a song and a celebration and set our souls free free free.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 1:11 AM 1 comments