Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the Shea Stadium Festival for Peace concert.
The concert was held on August 6, 1970, 25 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
To recognize the anniversary, organizers staged a 12–hour anti-war concert at Shea Stadium. Oddly, very little exists online or in literature about this show. There was no concert film and I have never seen any concert footage from the Shea Peace Festival.
Some of the hottest acts of 1970 appeared at the gig, including:
- Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Janis Joplin (surprise guest)
- Jimi Jendrix (possibly)
- Johnny Winter
- Paul Simon
- The James Gang
and many more.
The show began at 10:00 AM and ended by 11:00 PM that night. YouTube was not there to archive the proceedings (what did people do with all their cell phone video back in 1970?) but I did find this eyewitness account from a discussion board:
i was 17 and stood on line from the night before with my then boyfriend (now husband)
as there wasn’t assigned seating and we wanted good seats… we sat just over the mets’ dugout, they were some of the best seats on the house ….. the show was magical …. the variety
of acts and music ….. bands just showing up and playing (like janis)….. all for the price of about $16.00 for 12 hours of music … peter yarrow opened the show and ccr closed the show …..i remember most of the performers (not in any particular order).. peter yarrow, pacific gas & electric, tom paxton,dionne warwick, johnny winter, the original cast of hair, ccr (i also remember the music stopping because the tiers were rocking up & down), paul simon, james gang, poco, 10 wheel drive, al kooper, richie havens, sha-na-na, miles davis, the young rascals, stepphenwolf,janis joplin (she was NOT a scheduled performer — she was a surprise guest — i remember her performance like i saw her yesterday ……she did “ball & chain”, “summertime”, “turtle blues” and “piece of my heart”, all while consuming a bottle of southern comfort) AND I DO NOT REMEMBER SEEING OR HEARING JIMI HENDRIX or otherwise (i would really like to know where it comes from that he was there)it is only recently that i have even heard any references to this show ….. for a long time only archivists and members of the audience had a vague memory of it….
Here is Poco’s set list from that night. By their own accounts, Poco rocked:
- Pickin' Up the Pieces
- Just in Case it Happens
- Grand Junction
- Consequently So Long
- Don't Let it Pass By
- Nobody's Fool
- El Tonto de Nadie, Regresssa
As the eyewitness account above mentions, Jimi Hendrix may or may not have been there. Such was the state of collective consciousness in 1970 that no one can confirm the presence of rock’s greatest guitarist at a major concert event.
Janis Joplin did make a surprise appearance. She was in New York and had just filmed a Dick Cavett TV appearance with her band Full-Tilt Boogie.
Sadly, this was one of Joplin’s last appearances. Less than two months after rocking Shea, Janis Joplin was dead. So was Jimi Hendrix. You would think their sets would be memorialized in film or record, at least for the fact that it was among the last earthly gigs for these performers. But the show is largely forgotten. Leading Loge13 to believe that the music might not have been very good that day.
Apparently, even people who were at the concert didn't remember it. I did a little digging and can't yet confirm that Hendrix was at the Shea Concert For Peace. The source of the rumor may be the Mets Web site. They have a short history of Shea and mention that Hendrix and Joplin both made "little known" appearances at Shea. We'll keep looking.
Indeed, many people were pretty buzzed so fuzzy memories would be common. I was quite young so still "un-buzzed". No Hendrix, but a young Tina Turner certainly made an impression in the binoculars on a 12 yr old boy!
The biggest confusion about Jimi stems from the fact that he played at the earlier Winter Festival for Peace at MSG but could not make the much larger Summer Fest.
Many of the biggest rock acts of the era were there and Joplin was not truly a surprise guest as she announced she'd perform on The Dick Cavett show a few nights before the show.
The choosing of the date was no coincidence: Peter Yarrow (of P,P&Mary) produced both shows and the proceeds were used to finance Anti-War political candidates.
The show did go on for 13 hrs and finished late at about 11:30pm: anyone who doesn't remember probably left early. And yes - during CCR's performance, the first tier was bouncing up and down so much they stopped playing and asked the people to sit down. I know this because I was in the first row btwn Home-3rd and a bit scared at the time!
No one has done much to preserve the memory of this truly historic show and piece of SHEA history!!! (thanks to KINGMAN tho)
Any one ANY more info PLEASE contact me at bebopnjazz(at)gmail(dot)com.
Sorry, I thought the email would post - it is
Kingman: if you have the email addresses for these posters, pls fwd mine to them so I might get more info for my article (especially Louis Grignon).
Thanks to all.
BeBoppnJazz- I was there - we arrived around 11 - I remember early in the day: Havens, I'm petty sure Joan Baez made an appearance, 10 Wheel Drive did their hit "Are you Ready?" and had everyone up bopping in unison--- so hard the stadium actually "bounced" and for a moment I worried it would self destruct! ( I was standing on the brass rails between sections!)Fritz, Mike and Manny and me made it all the way to the end- I remember almost falling off the upper level, after going up there to ignite an organic substance: far left field, top row, furthest end seat (chosen just because!)and on my way down hit the rail kind of hard and almost flew 60 feet down to my seat! :) It truly was one of the best days of music ever- Creedence, The James Gang, Janis and Steppinwolf were in peak form and made the night. Janis had her hair dyed like the flag! it was a day to remember and am so amazed it is nearly forgotten. NO FILM, NO RECORDINGS? At the time we said it was our Woodstock, all neatly packed into 1 day, no mud, no cars! The subway delivered us to and from(at 14 the summer before, according to my parents, I wasn't "heading up the country"!)