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80,000 Jam Roosevelt Track for Summer Rock Finale Print-ready version

by John Rockwell
New York Times
September 9, 1974

WESTBURY, L. I., Sept. 8 – The New York area’s rock ‘n’ roll summer cam to an ebullient end today at a 10-hour four-act extravaganza at the Roosevelt Raceway here. The 80,000 who attended made the event the area’s largest rock concert of the summer. And for the acts involved – Crosby, Still, Nash and Young; Joni Mitchell; the Beach Boys and Jesse Colin Young – it was an end, too; the end of a long and arduous season of touring.

Miss Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, actually, are going to England for a single concert at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday, and will begin their vacations after that; the Beach Boys started a two-month layoff today.

“Everybody’s getting along great,” said David Crosby of his group, which has been famed for its periodic tensions. Crosby, Stills, hadn’t played together for four years before their reunion this summer.

“We seem to have a two-month half-life, and then it blows,” Mr. Crosby said, smiling, this afternoon as he waited during Miss Mitchell’s set for Crosby, Stills to go. “Actually there are no hard feelings now. We just want to take a well-deserved rest, and then we’ll go into the studio in November and record an album.”

Eliot Roberts, manager for both Crosby, Stills and Miss Mitchell, said he hoped the group could play some dates in Los Angeles at that time: a planned Los Angeles-area concert, at the Ontario Motor Speedway, was first postponed and then canceled. Excessive heat, rumors of lagging tickets sales, and the group’s reluctance to play before crowds larger than 70,000 to 80,000 have been variously offered as the reason for the cancellation. “For me and I’m only one of four, remember – the best concerts on the tour have been the indoor ones, especially the at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island,” Mr. Crosby said. We can get ‘em off harder indoors, with the acoustic part of our set. But then again, in Atlantic City, the crowd stood outdoors in the rain for six hours, and sang along with us more than anywhere else on the tour.”

Like Mr. Crosby, Miss Mitchell was also apparently looking forward to rest and relaxation. Mr. Roberts said that although Miss Mitchell – who had not toured extensively before this year – had enjoyed her work on the road, that tour appearances “definitely lose their spontaneity after a while” for her. “I’m sure she’s happy it’s coming to the close,” Mr. Roberts added.

Mike Love of the Beach Boys, on the other hand, said that his group enjoyed outdoor concerts more than the indoor variety. “We’re an outdoor kind of group,” Mr. Love said. “Outdoors brings good vibrations.”

All four acts are associated with California rock and its post-sixties image of inner peace and outer pleasures – the perfect musical complement for a balmy late summer day like today. Certainly Mr. Love’s “good vibrations” seems plentifully in evidence among the crowd.

People had begun to fill up the Raceway early in the morning, and by late this morning were packed tightly into the muddy midfield area. Bill Graham, the San Francisco promoter who is one of the producers of the event, said that “the raid fouled up the logistics of our preparations, but it’s beautiful today, and that’s what counts.”

Chief Edward F. Curran of the Nassau County police reported no serious incidents as of late afternoon today. “It’s been a very well-behaved, orderly crowd,” he said.

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Added to Library on April 23, 2002. (11638)


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waterlilys on

It was Sept 8, 1974 a month after Nixon resigned. It was a really hot steamy day, enormous crowd, it was jam packed. A lot of us spread out on the middle grassy section had thoughts of how it must have been somewhat like this at Yasgur's farm 6 yrs before. The music, the vibe, the smell of grass pervaded your senses all day - it was fantastic. It was in fact, our Woodstock.

CSN&Y played for almost four hours! Joni Mitchell joined with them along with her segment. They were great, they did not disappoint. The Beach Boys, Jesse Colin Young played earlier.

I'll never forget the announcement overhead by Crosby that Pres Gerald Ford had pardoned Richard Nixon a low rumble of "boo" spread through the crowd. We knew then "I'm not a crook" Tricky Dick would never come to justice. It made thier playing of "Ohio" all the more poignant. This day epitomized my memories of that time... the politics, the war, the counterculture, and oh the music... all came together in that mass of humanity that warm summer evening. I'll never forget it.

I was 22.