Tag Archives: Atlantic City Pop Festival

Atlantic City Rocked

Exactly 47 years ago my buddy Mike Williamson and I were in Atlantic City to experience the glorious and highly-underrated three-day Atlantic City Pop Festival.

It took place on August 1, 2, and 3, 1969, and we got there a few days early, hung around the boardwalk, smoked dope, and then decided to find a ride to the racetrack 12 miles away, where the big show was about to begin.

Imagine that. A huge, honkin’ rock and rock extravaganza, one of the greatest in rock and roll history, and one that most have never heard of.

I feel it’s kind of my mission to keep it alive.

I didn’t even bring a sleeping bag for some reason, and slept for a few hours every night for a week on hard ground, with my jean jacket as a lousy pillow. But it didn’t matter. I was there for the music and friends and vibes and chicks and drugs. And Orillians are tough bastards anyway.

Janis Joplin was there, and so was Creedence Clearwater, Santana, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, Mothers of Invention, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, and a whack of others. About 30 bands in all, with guitars soaring.

Guitars soaring except for Joni Mitchell, who left crying half-way through her set because no one was listening to her quiet and dignified set.

Skip Prokop of the Toronto-based Paupers told everyone that if they were about to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, they could just come to Canada, where there’s plenty of room.

I met a girl there from Washington D.C. and the plan was for me to go home with her and then on to Woodstock, but it never happened. I was probably too tired and hungry, and most importantly, I had a ride home lined up. She was cute though.

Back in Orillia I began planning on Woodstock, but a night or two before I was going to go, me and four of my  buddies met a guy in the park who was drunk, leaving his wife, and driving to Vancouver the next morning. So that next morning we all piled into his car and went to Vancouver instead.

I missed going to Woodstock, which I feel bad about, but at least I have Atlantic City, with this kick-ass lineup.

Atlantic City

Below: A couple of years ago, one of the guys we got a ride home with, Brad Emmons (that’s him with the cigarette in his mouth), sent me some Atlantic City photos that I didn’t know existed. I’m on the far left, and Mike is next to me with the yellow and black striped shirt.

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Below, taken from behind the stage, B.B. King doing his thing,

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Here’s To You, Historic Habs

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I saw the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1966, and Janis and Zappa in Atlantic City in ’69.

I saw Led Zeppelin in Vancouver in ’73, and Evel Knievel sail over 13 Mack trucks on his motorcycle at the CNE in ’74.

NOn my TV in Orillia I saw the Kennedy assassination in ’63, and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in ’69.

And from my couch in Powell River in 2016, I saw the Montreal Canadiens have their lousiest season in 75 years.

The historic Habs.

Something to tell my grandchildren.

And their fifth loss in a row (forget the overall loss tally) was against the Boston Bruins, with good old Brad Marchand scoring one of four Bruins goals as his team rolled over the hometown Habs 4-1.

It’s the Twilight Zone, baby.

It was last year when Marc Bergevin gave Michel Therrien a four year contract extension that kicked in this season, at $2 million per, and which takes him to 2019.

This was the report at the time;

Montreal re-signed Michel Therrien to a four-year contract extension Saturday, two weeks after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It really shows the stability that [general manager] Marc Bergevin and [owner] Geoff Molson want to establish with the Canadiens,” said Therrien on a conference call. “We’ve progressed a lot over the past two years and we want to continue to progress. It’s a sign of confidence.”

Continue to progress. Yes indeed.

Oh, you like Michel Therrien and argue that it’s not his fault this team is on the fast track into the depths of hell? Do you think getting Jonathan Drouin is the answer instead?

I don’t want my historic times tampered with. So lose boys. And then charge fans for your autograph on your days off.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 39-24, with their lone goal coming from d-man Mark Barberio. The sharpshooters are still on their extended lunch break.

Next up – Habs in Toronto on Saturday. Imagine.

Found Photos From Summer of ’69

As we await the Canadiens-Ducks close encounter of the second time (Habs lost 2-1 in Montreal on Dec. 18th), I thought I’d show some photos of the Atlantic City Pop Festival, the amazing 3-day event I was at in the summer of 1969, just a couple of weeks before Woodstock.

They were sent to me by another Orillian who was there, and until I saw these, I had no idea there were any personal pictures from that mighty festival that featured some of the world’s greatest rock acts, with about 150,000 people in attendance.

That’s me standing on the far left, and the fellow sitting next to me with the black and yellow shirt is Mike Williamson, whose comments you see here often.

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Below, taken from behind the stage, B.B. King doing his thing,

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No idea who the band is.

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Again, no idea.

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And the lineup, as good as it gets.

Atlantic City

What A Festival

43 years ago exactly, Mike Williamson and I made our way to the Atlantic City Pop Festival to take in the big three-day event which was held two weeks before Woodstock and was, up until that time, the largest three-day rock festival ever held. We met up with Hobo, whom you might recognize from these pages, so there were at least three big Habs fans in the crowd of 150,000.

There were other Orillians there as well, and we managed to grab a ride back home with some of them in their Volkswagen van.

We paid 15 bucks for our tickets, and readers of a certain age should recognize most or all of the lineup which included Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater and a whack of others. (Although Sweet Stavin Chain on the first day doesn’t ring a bell).

I met a girl there from Washington D.C. and the plan was for me to go home with her and then on to Woodstock, but it never happened. I think I was too tired and hungry for any new adventure, and a ride home with friends seemed perfect. Plus I barely knew her.

Atlantic City

Meeting Up With An Old Buddy

Yours truly on the left, with my old buddy Mike Williamson looking mighty fine in his Habs shirt.

In Ontario last spring we got together with our wives and shared some laughs and old and new stories. It was great. The whole trip was great. Seeing so many old friends was fantastic.

Mike and I go way back to our teen years in Orillia, and he and I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival together, something that I’m very proud of doing. Mike is also a lifelong Habs fan, and maybe it was that more than anything else which cemented our friendship in the first place.

 

Shoot Out In Windy City

It was 6-5 Hawks with five minutes to go when I left the house and went on a massive several-mile walk to see my buddy play drums with the Blues Busters at a watering hole in the nearby Historic Townsite of Powell River. So at this writing, I don’t even know how the game ended up.

All I know is, Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, who stoned the Habs with three shutouts in that series, was pulled in the second period of this game one when the Hawks scored the fifth time, and Antti Niemi in goal for Chicago wasn’t any better.

It’s slightly difficult for me to babble on about teams other than the Habs because frankly, I have no affection for any team in the league and I don’t think I’ve ever chosen one over another in a playoff battle that the Habs weren’t part of.

I don’t care at all that Chicago is an original six team. Hell, when the Hawks beat Montreal in 1961 I could barely stand it and wished Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Ken Wharram, Pierre Pilote and the rest would just go away and never come back.

And the Flyers? The only thing that makes me smile about Philadelphia is the time Mike Williamson and I, on our way to the Atlantic City Pop Festival in 1969, climbed an outside set of stairs at Philadelphia City Hall and smoked a joint at the top. Otherwise, forget about it. Everyone from the sign man to Kate Smith to the original Broad St. Bullies and Sylvester Stallone.

Whoever wins, fine. Wouldn’t mind seeing some good fights, though.

Boys Will Be Boys. Sticks Landing On Heads And All That

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There’s nothing like some good, honest hockey violence to stir the soul and piss off the peaceniks.

The picture above shows just another in the ongoing saga of one of the nastiest, meanest hockey feuds in history that began in New York and carried on for years, with this one being in Toronto. It involved the Canadiens’ Ken Reardon and the Rangers and then Leafs’ Cal Gardner, and even carried on for years after. If you’re not crazy about fighting, you might want to go to another one of my posts like when I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival or something equally serene. Because this post isn’t for you.

The Habs were in New York, and with about thirty seconds left in the game, Gardner crosschecked Reardon in the mouth and Reardon lost a couple of teeth and was cut on the lip for about twenty stitches. Emile Bouchard hit Brian Hextall over the head with his stick and Hextall and Bouchard proceeded to pound each other a bunch of times. Then Reardon said some bad words and some guy sitting behind the bench yelled that he shouldn’t swear because his girlfriend was with him, so Rocket Richard hit the fan over the head with his stick and blood was all over the place.

Reardon was not impressed with what Gardner had done to his Hollywood good looks and told a reporter that before he quit hockey he was going to get Gardner. And  although he swore it was an accident, he later on “accidentally” broke Gardner’s jaw on both sides in Montreal after Gardner had been traded to the Leafs.

The feud and the fights continued for years. In the above photo, the two lovebirds show some little playfulness at Maple Leaf Gardens. That’s Leaf captain Ted Kennedy on the left and Montreal’s Doug Harvey on the right along with the combatants, and the referee is Bill Chadwick, who just recently passed away.

Ken Reardon went on to become Frank Selke’s right-hand man in Montreal’s front office. Gal Gardner eventually retired from pro hockey in 1961 and played senior hockey in Orillia for awhile. I remember seeing him play when I was a kid. If I had known then that Gardner wasn’t very nice to a Montreal Canadien player, I might have thrown a hot dog at him.

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We Interrupt This Habs Blog To Bring You A Special Message

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Exactly 40 years ago today, my buddy Mike and I were in Atlantic City to experience the glorious and highly-underrated three-day Atlantic City Pop Festival. It was August 1,2, and 3, 1969, and we got there a few days early, hung around the boardwalk, smoked dope, and then decided to find a ride to the racetrack 12 miles away, where the big show was about to begin.

Everyone, whether they know it or not, knows the music of many of the bands who were there. Any time you’ve ever heard classic rock at weddings and bars, on TV or movie soundtracks, or wherever your travels have taken you, then you’ve heard bands from this festival that compares favourably with Woodstock which happened two weeks later. Only Atlantic City didn’t have rain and mud.

And the lineup:

Janis Joplin was there, as were Creedence Clearwater, Santana, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, Mothers of Invention, Moody Blues, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Johnny Winter etc, etc. About 30 bands in all. (Joni Mitchell left crying half-way through her set because no one was listening, and Skip Prokop of the Toronto-based Paupers told everyone that if they were about to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, just come to Canada, there’s plenty of room.

I didn’t even bring a sleeping bag for some reason, and slept for a few hours every night for a week on hard ground, with my jean jacket as a lousy pillow. But it didn’t matter. I was there for the music and friends and vibes and chicks and drugs.

I would’ve liked to have been at some of the other festivals. People talk about Woodstock, and soon the 40th anniversary of the historical event that defines a generation of baby boomers who had had enough of formality, politicians and the man, and spread the message of love, drugs, body odour, laziness, ego-tripping, social ladders to climb, and many low-lifes.

And Monterey in 1967  at the fairground, where Janis, the Who, and Jimi Hendrix broke big in North America like a tornado hitting a corn field. After Jimi lit his guitar on fire, the Who smash their guitars and amps, and Janis wail like a banshee with the blues, music took on a whole different meaning after that. All of sudden, things began to get serious. No more Herman’s Hermits. This was the real thing.

People recall the Isle of Wight, and John Lennon’s ‘Live Peace in Toronto’, and here and there and everywhere. But no one talks about Atlantic City. The lineup was as good as Woodstock, there were only 125,000 folks there instead of half a million, and it didn’t rain like Woodstock, where people played in ther mud. And going to the bathroom at Woodstock meant going anywhere. Must’ve been tough to impress the chicks when you’re squatting with your pants down.

So I’m using my Habs blog to tell as many people who read this that Atlantic City was a historic event in its own right, and when you hear soon that Woodstock is celebrating it’s 40th birthday, please keep in mind that the one Mike and I were at in Atlantic City, two weeks before Woodstock, deserves a place in history books too.

That's me on the left in white, about a year after Atlantic City. I'm with another buddy, Frank. I wish I had a picture of Mike from this time but I don't. Poor hippies didn't have cameras.
That's me on the left in white, about a year after Atlantic City. I'm with another buddy, Frank. I wish I had a picture of Mike from this time but I don't. Poor hippies didn't have cameras.

You Want Drama In Your Life? Just Follow The Habs, You’ll Get Lots. Montreal Wins Game One In Overtime.

 

 GAME ONE

 

 

PRE-GAME OBSERVATIONS:

Here’s what I know about the city of Philadephia:

City Hall in Philadelphia, if it’s still in the same place as it was in 1969, has stairs up to the top where you can look out over the street and smoke a joint. That’s what Mike and I did on our way to the Atlantic City Pop Festival way back then. 

WC Fields’ proposed epitaph was “All thing’s considered, I’d rather be living in Philadelphia.” Sounds a lot like Daniel Briere. Except Fields was talking about dying.

Philadephia is the home of legendary hockey players – Dave Schult, Don Saleski, Bob Kelly, Moose Dupont, Steve Downie, and the guy who broke ankles better than anybody in the game, Bobby Clarke.

“Rocky” was filmed in Philadelphia. The movie included quite a few shots of the some of the nicer parts of the city. A meat slaughterhouse, guys out on the street, freezing, and standing around fires burning in tin cans, singing a capello, Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) lovely bungalow and neighbourhood, and a sweaty old gym.

Philadephia is the home of the Philadephia Phillies mascot, the Philly Phanatic. You’ve probably seen him. You know, the creature with the ridiculously long nose, extended neck, and gangly, weird body. 

And there’s absolutely no truth to the rumour that the Phanatic was actually Don Saleski in the off-season. The Phanatic was apparently quite upset about these allegations. “There’s no way I look as silly as Don Saleski,” stated the creature. 

POST-GAME OBSERVATIONS:

Two games were played tonight. The one Bob Cole saw, which was Philadelphia all over Montreal most of the game. And the one the rest of us saw, which was a couple of posts hit by Montreal, a penalty shot, a shorthanded goal by Kovalev, a couple of comebacks, overtime, a dramatic goal by ultimate warrior Tom Kostopoulos, and a pretty tip-in by Patrice Brisebois, which was, unfortunately, into his own net.

It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t what Bob Cole saw either. It was a lip-smacking 4-3 overtime win for the Canadiens. A late comeback, and then the Kostopoulos goal 48 seconds into the extra period.

Yes, that Tom Kostopoulos, the one fans pooh-poohed when he came over from Los Angeles. Everybody wanted a star like Vincent Lecavalier or Daniel Briere, but had to settle for a plumber these fans labelled Krustyopolos, and everyone wanted to lynch Bob Gainey for this lacklustre signing.

And then some guy on some French TV show used profanity when describing Kostopoulos, and said a French player should be playing, not Kostopoulos. Thankfully, the guy was later fired for his rude and tasteless comments.

Tom Kostopoulos is as important as any player on the Montreal Canadiens. Every great team has had players like him in defining roles. 

Game one’s in the books. That’s five wins down, eleven to go

 Game notes:

About those two kids dressed in their Habs uniforms, holding flags and skating around the Bell Centre at the beginning.  HOW THE HELL DID THEY GET THIS GIG?

I need to do this. Can an old guy do this too? If Club de Hockey Canadien needs to be paid, I’ll sell the house. Please call. I can be there in twelve hours.

 

 

 

Mike Has A Great Chair And Shorter Hair Than Before

They don’t get any better than Mike. We’ve been friends for 40 years, and have fought  the good wars together. Those crazy sixties wars. Those times when sex and drugs and rock and rock were as much a part of our lives as waking up. And it was a time when the team we loved took a back seat for a few years while we spent some serious time on the edge.

Mike was involved in the 1960’s movement as much as anyone. He wore his black hair long, crashed where he could, never shyed away from a good party, and ingested a few things he probably shouldn’t have. These were unsettling times, but he and I got through it, and later on he found himself a nice cool chick who he’s still with today. 

But even though we put the Habs on the backburner for a few years in the late ’60’s, it didn’t mean we gave up or forgot. Not me, and not Mike. He follows the Habs closely, has for more than fifty years, and he knows the game and his team and is pissed off when they lose. You’ll see this by his comments he throws in often.

No one is prouder to own a Montreal Forum chair than Mike. And it’s not just any chair. It’s the one he sat in in his only visit to the Forum, in the late 1970’s.

Here’s a photo of Mike’s chair, and the Bud hat signed by Le Gros Bill, Jean Beliveau. And yes, the spelling of Micheal on the chair is the way it’s spelled.

Mike may have been a mover and shaker during the hippie movement, but you can’t keep a good Habs fan down. And even though he lives in Toronto and has for decades, don’t even think about talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs with him. He can’t stand them, even though they’re just down the road. Are you listening, Ottawa fans-who-used-to-be-Habs-fans?

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