Posterity may regard as the highlight of Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 documentary Woodstock not the health warning about the brown acid, but the spectacle of Sha Na Na doing “At the Hop.” This crew, at the preeminent ’60s event, surrounded by wobbly idols and dazed wielders of the zeitgeist, were shamanistically retro. Sha Na Na channeled the ’50s by overdoing them, performing cover versions—as George Leonard, the band’s brain, tells Reynolds—at “twice the speed of the originals: I insisted we do the music the way it was remembered instead of the way it was.” The singers wore gold lamé; they bopped and jived absurdly, like celebrants of a forgotten rite. They, not Jefferson Airplane, were the future, by which I mean, of course, the past. The irony that their early-morning set came right before Jimi Hendrix “immolating”—Reynolds’s word—“The Star-Spangled Banner” is almost too exquisite to bear.
From James Parker, here is much more.