Music's Greatest Month

Whatever other troubles the month brought, May 1970 was the greatest month ever for live rock in Madison.

Friday the first, it was Sly and the Family Stone at the Coliseum, with local favorite Luther Allison to open. Allison brought his blistering blues to a crowd of about three thousand, but there were equipment problems and a headliner who was a head case. Sly didn’t start till almost midnight, and was done before one.

“I can’t do no more, man,” he says after his short set.Yes, We’re Experienced: Jimi Hendrix takes the stage—and a stand—with his mindblowing mixture of vocals and electric guitar.

Next night, same place, Jimi Hendrix electrified a crowd of five thousand. With a dedication to “all the soldiers in Madison and Cam-BO-dia,” Hendrix had the crowd throw both peace signs and fists in the air as he fires off a scorching “Star Spangled Banner.” Add a psychedelically sexy “Foxy Lady,” and this was Madison’s best rock concert to date. “This is a pretty good band,” Hendrix rightly observed as promoter Ken Adamany drove the group to its next gig in Minneapolis. Less than five months later, Hendrix died in a girlfriend’s basement flat in London.

Also at the Coliseum that month: Steppenwolf (opening act Country Joe and the Fish was a no-show) and Chicago.

The Woodstock/Hall of Fame triptych came to campus on the 23rd, when Jefferson Airplane took a Field House crowd of eight thousand to some place beyond music. It was the Airplane’s musical ode to revolution, “Volunteers of America,” that blared as the Kroger store burned earlier this month. Tonight, thousands of fists beat the air and chairs are tossed aside as it opened and closed the intense two-hour show.

Then the night passed into urban legend, when guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Cassidy came to the Nitty Gritty, and played the blues with Luther Allison till early in the morning.

HOT FLICKS: Nine theaters fed a thriving Madison movie scene.

 

The Month in Movies

May 1970 was a golden month for movies in Madison. They weren’t all first-run, but they were almost all first-rate (or X-rated).

True Grit w/ Sterile Cukcoo
June 69 BADGER
   
Fanny Hill w/ Teenage Mother (X)
1968, 1967 BIG SKY DRIVE-IN
   
Johnny Cash
March 69 CINEMA

The Boys in the Band
Mar 70 CINEMA
   
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Mar 69 ESQUIRE
   
Romeo & Juliet w/ Goodbye Columbus
Mar 68, Nov 69 ESQUIRE
   
Woodstock
Mar 70 ESQUIRE
   
Fantasia
1940 HILLDALE

Hello Dolly
Dec 69 HILLDALE
   
Funny Girl
Sep 68 HILLDALE

Zabriskie Point
Feb 70 MAJESTIC
   
Without a Stitch (X)
Jan 69 MAJESTIC
   
Bloody Mamma
Mar 70 ORPHEUM
   
Let It Be
May 13 ORPHEUM
   
A Man Called Horse
Apr 70 ORPHEUM
   
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Sept 69 STAGE DOOR
   
Women in Love
Mar 70 STAGE DOOR

MASH
Jan 70
   
           

 

Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print