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December 02, 2016
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Woodstock, legends and all that jazz

TRR photos by Jonathan Fox Family Stone legend Cynthia Robinson, left, introduces new generations Paul and Evan Byrne to the sounds of the ‘60s at Bethel Woods.

“Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime” are but a few of this group’s mega-hits and the preview performance at the gallery conjured up images of hippies, peace signs and hitchhiking to Yasgur’s farm back in the day. Touted as the first “integrated, multi-gendered” group, the Family Stone’s many hits still sounded fresh and relevant when they hit the pavillion stage the next night, joining fellow Hall of Fame inductees Blood, Sweat & Tears in a tribute to the Woodstock generation.

With a slew of chart-toppers in their repertoire, BS&T can still rock the house and I closed my eyes as they performed

originals and covers like “Spinning Wheel,” “You Make Me So Very Happy” and the prophetic “And When I Die,” which gave me pause. Best known for their unique blend of rock, jazz and pop, these guys put on a show that rivaled the “old days” with vitality, exuberance and showmanship and for a brief, shining moment, I was young again.

When I opened my eyes and saw Tommy James and the Shondells on stage, my reverie came crashing to a halt. Although The Shondells were a smash in the mid ‘60’s and already a hit before I started buying albums, songs like “Hanky Panky” and “Crimson and Clover,” although legendary, echoed the earlier sound of the ‘50s and ultimately gave way to the beat of a different drum.

To be honest, groups like The Shondells were somewhat shut out as a new groove began to take hold; and although there was not a gray hair in sight on stage, I had to admit that even my “inner child’ has wrinkles. The decades were no longer as blurred as I would have liked and suddenly, I felt like a dinosaur, recalling what it was like listening to a (fossil) record on the gramophone. As I reach for my walker and place the bifocals on my nose, I can’t help but think that age may be “just a number” but there are days when I have trouble counting that high.