Which way was the swastika oriented? There is a negative and a positive Swastika.I caught "Woodstock -- 3 Days of Peace and Music (The Director's Cut)" on TV last night, just as I was about to go to bed. Damn. I made a cup of coffee and stayed up until 4 am to watch the show.
One thing that really stuck out, in retrospect, was that distortion as we know it today didn't really exist in 1970. Almost everyone was playing tube amps, and almost everyone's tone was what we would consider "clean" today.
I guess this really shouldn't come as a surprise, as in 1970 we weren't living in the era of cascaded gain guitar amps. They hadn't been invented yet. Amp designers were still trying to build amps that were as powerful and as clean as possible. At most, we had guitarists with high output pickups overdriving the input stages of "clean" amps, and multiple stacks of high wattage "clean" heads being used to drive multiple stacks. Stompboxes were in their infancy then. All that existed were a few transistor based devices, like the FuzzFace. For the most part the distortion generated by amps came from power tube distortion and speaker distortion.
I made a point of spotting as much gear as I could watching the video.
The guitar rigs consisted primarily of SF Fenders, Marshalls and an occasional Ampeg, HiWatt or Sunn. For the large part, guitar tones were pretty clean and articulate compared to what we're used to today.
The Who's backline consisted of multiple HiWatt stacks, and Townshend's tone was pretty loud & clean at Woodstock, compared to where it would be later in the 70s. Hendrix used 3 full stacks of Marshalls and his amp tone was pretty clean with the pedals turned off. The Airplane used a monstrous number of Fender amps, almost all SilverFace, with a couple of BF heads, and their tone was clean. The dirtiest guitar tone at the show came from Santana, who was playing a P-90 equipped SG straight into a solid-state Gallein amplifier. It sounded like a distorted transistor amplifier. Santana mentioned in other interviews that he also used to do the Ray Davies trick of slashing his speaker cones to make them distort. (Personally, I thought that Santana's tone wasn't his best.)
The bass rigs were dominated by Acoustic, with a few Ampegs, Sunns and a lot of SF Fenders. The most distorted tones ended up coming of the Sunn stacks being used by Sly & the Family Stone.
What struck me as odd was that it was very difficult to spot BF Fender amps on stage at Woodstock. In 1970 the BF amps just weren't there. I did spot two BF heads (Bandmasters?) in use by the Airplane, sitting on the top of a stack of SF combos and SF heads that were being used to drive external cabinets. The SF Fender amps were predominant. Super Reverbs were common and the SF Dual Showman was very easy to spot throughout the show.
It seemed evident that all of the different acts were bringing in their own gear, as the gear setup changed with each performance. It looked like the bands weren't just using the promoter's backline. I'm at a loss to explain why there were so few BF amps out there, but it was clear that the SF Fenders were ubiquitous and the BF Fenders were not.
Another thing that struck me as different was that in the 1970s there was tolerance of symbols that are now totally untolerated, and stigmatized as expressions of hate today. Time and political pressures have changed our perceptions. After WWII it was not uncommon for Americans to wear German war artifacts; it was common among the people of the Allied nations to wear medals and other symbols that had previously belonged to their defeated foes. As a youngster I remember buying used German militaria at military surplus stores in the 1970s. Back then it was considered cool (and common) to own such a piece of history. Bikers commonly wore German helmets, painted the Iron Cross on their bike, etc. At Woodstock the Airplane's guitarist wore a large swastika pendant around his neck as he performed. How times have changed... these symbols that used to be thought of as nothing more than war relics, or expressions of alternativism and anti-establishment thinking, have been stigmatized to the point that today anyone caught bearing a swastika would be attacked by the politically correct crowd and accused of being a Nazi.
There were many scenes involving public nudity, which was common at Woodstock. There were scenes involving people bathing, couples taking off their clothes and bedding down in the tall grass, etc, which is why the movie got an R rating. One scene struck me as being far more odd than all of the others -- during the Santana segment there was footage of a naked man standing in the crowd, cradling a sheep in his arms like a baby.
Amp technology has changed a lot in the past 50 years.
The symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000-year-old history | Ancient Origins