The Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas, causing me to reflect on the one time I saw him in concert - at the infamous Woodstock '99. Here's what I wrote in my review.
We found a spot on the vast lawn in front of the west stage and listened to the promoters and Wavy Gravy kick-off the festival. Then it was time for James Brown. Actually, it was time for James Brown's band to play a few songs, then for the band to introduce some broad who sang a few songs, and just when we were really getting annoyed, the Godfather of Soul stopped teasing us and appeared. The crowd was pretty indifferent, as James and his large band played their hits including "I Feel Good," "Sex Machine," and my personal favorite from the cold war classic Rocky IV, the anthem that inspired Rock to kick Ivan Drago's communist ass: "Living in America." The crowd did go nuts when James sang "Foxy Lady," the first of many nods to Hendrix and the original Woodstock legends by various bands throughout the weekend.
Sugar Ray was supposed to be up next, but had cancelled. Some chick behind me said, "I can't believe they would try to replace Sugar Ray with James Brown and think we'd be okay with it. That just sucks, man!" She would not be the last disgruntled and clueless customer.
Read the full review of Woodstock 99 here.
Learn more about James Brown's legacy.