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‘Women of Woodstock’ soars on Jefferson Airplane hits
Monday, 04 December 2017 23:56

HENDERSONVILLE — “August 1969: The Women of Woodstock” provided an interesting examination and salute to the outstanding female singers at the Woodstock Music Festival during a tribute show Oct. 27 at Flat Rock Playhouse’s downtown Hendersonville venue.

The show, which ran from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4, drew 112 people on Oct. 27.

“From the Greenwich Village folk scene to the psychedelic height of Haight-Ashbury, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Melanie and Grace Slick sang songs of love, heartache and social injustice,” the FRP noted. “It seems almost pre-destined that they would come together on a dairy farm in upstate New York for ‘three days of peace and music’ and transform a generation.”

The two-hour show — split into two sets — finished with a stirring rendition of Melanie’s “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” prompting a standing ovation with the audience cheering for more. 

After a minute or two, the singers and band, never having left the stage, launched into an encore — Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 unforgettable classic “Somebody to Love,” arguably the best performance of the night.

Yet, “Somebody to Love” was closely rivaled by an earlier, dead-on cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” another 1967 classic, which closed the first set with a definitive psychedelic bang.

After the encore, the crowd again stood to cheer for more music, but, this time, the lights were turned up and — amidst the purple haze — it was clearly over.

The show, of course, paid homage to the female singers at the grooviest event in music history, the Woodstock Music Festival, which was billed as “three days of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll.” 

The Woodstock festival , which did not actually happen as originally envisioned in Woodstock, N.Y., was held Aug. 15-17, 1969 on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel in upstate New York. Close to half a million people — mostly described as young “hippies” — attended the event.

At the gathering, a number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War, a sentiment that was enthusiastically shared by the vast majority of the audience. Later, the term “Woodstock Nation” would be used as a general term to describe the youth counterculture of the 1960s.

At the Hendersonville show, the look and feel of the hippie era was replicated with four people lounging on bean-bag chairs in front of low tables, with wine glasses — all positioned in front of the stage, as the show began.

Besides the two Jefferson Airplane numbers, the show’s highlights included renditions of  “Joe Hill,” sung by Baez; and “Beautiful People” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” sung by Melanie; and Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” “Ball and Chain” and “Summertime.”

The show featured three female singers, including Shaleah Adkisson, Melissa Hammans and Maddy Wyatt. Adkisson was —by far — the standout vocalist. However, the threesome, sometimes aided by pianist Amy Jones, provided some gorgeous vocal harmonies.

Besides Jones, who served as music director, pianist and backup vocalist, the talented band included Tucker Warwick, bassist; Bill Altman, guitarist; Paul Babelay, drummer; and Chris Imhoff, trumpeter.

Upcoming FRP shows include “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and continuing at various times through Dec. 17 at the downtown Hendersonville venue; and the “Christmas Spectacular” at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and continuing at various times through Dec 22 at the mainstage in Flat Rock.

— Review by John North, Daily Planet



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