Costa Mesa, California (PressExposure) July 05, 2011 -- Woodstock was a pivotal event in music history. It brought together more than a half-million people to see 32 popular and emerging musicians. Forty-two years later it still resonates with a broad population, even those born after 1969. It connected people like no other event.
"The music of the era is undeniably timeless. The songs are not contrived but instead were culturally relevant and had meaning, "said Connie Early, lead vocalist for Woodstock and 1960's tribute band Aquarius.
Their fans include plenty of 18 to 24 year olds.
"Woodstock likely provides a backdrop for them to fantasize about a time when kids their age made a difference and changed the world forever," Early added.
A distinctive voice during the '60's may also have fantasized about changing the world: Janis Joplin. A blues influenced rock singer, Joplin cultivated a rebellious approach and liberating style to her music. Her untimely death, though tragic, encapsulated a perpetual human need for acceptance and love.
She "resonates with so many because every one of us can relate to her. She had a tough façade but was truly fragile, and in the end only wanted to be loved and accepted," Early said. "Don't we all?"
Early, who sings and dresses "Janis" during the Aquarius shows, shares more than a vocal impersonation with the late rock star.
"It's the liberating feeling of being onstage acting like someone who was larger than life that is empowering," she said.
Joplin could belt out songs in her intense stage performances that made you really feel she was sharing a piece of her heart.
And those who relate often impersonate.
But Early didn't choose Joplin. Joplin sort of chose her.
Early grew up in Ohio in a musical family, her mother a singer in a trio with two siblings: The Anderson Sisters. Early gravitated to a diverse combination of soul and blues rock performers including Aretha Franklin, Pat Benatar, the Jackson 5 to name a few. She sang in bands, mostly rock, off and on. But she was never really a Joplin fan, drawn more to singers that had powerful trained voices such as Ann Wilson from Heart and Benatar.
Early was self taught, disinterested in lessons from a young age, and sang along to records. Eventually she found her voice in a soulful and powerful style, and it was audiences who yelled out "SING JANIS! ", that got her thinking. When she later became a member of The Classic Rockers band, the leader also saw a similar Joplin quality and asked her if she would be willing to dress up in character.
Then the message was clear. SING JANIS!
Other members of the same band followed suit taking on the persona of Woodstock performers including guitarist and singer Gerald Davis, who does Jimi Hendrix, and yes... plays the guitar with his teeth.
Soon the band created a Summer of Love Show, which ultimately became Aquarius as it is known today.
The six member band recreates the actual vibe, sound and feel, including costume changes, of several rock legends from 1969's Woodstock including Early's Joplin and Davis's Hendrix. Other band members include Ron Olsson (lead vocals/guitar), Julie Dolan, (keyboard/vocals/harmonica), David Abercrombie (bass/vocals) and Brian Wood on drums.
Aquarius will perform at noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 10 during the 3rd Annual Woodstock Weekend at the Orange County Market Place in Costa Mesa.
Woodstock tributes on Saturday, July 9 include Woodstock Mud a four member San Diego area based band, performing a tribute to Crosby, Stills and Nash at noon followed at 2 p.m. with The Who Revue, a band which recreates the sounds, the look, and the energy of The Who including microphone twirling Roger Daltrey.
Woodstock Weekend concerts are included in admission, or free with a canned food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. The concerts are held in conjunction with the swap meet activity, which runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and held at the O.C. Fair and Event Center. Tie dye artists, free face painting and hippie stilt walkers will also be featured.
For more info call 949-723-6660.