When Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon took LSD and delivered a monster performance at Woodstock
Woodstock 1994 was a commercialised festival aimed at commemorating the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival of 1969—but it lacked the authenticity that the original had previously boasted. However, the scene of Jimi Hendrix’s exploits 25 years earlier was not repeated with the ’94 event harming the reputation of the iconic one-off event more than enhancing it. That said, one highlight of the chaotic event was Blind Melon’s mindbending LSD infused performance.
The 1994 concert was scheduled for the weekend of August 13–14, with the third day then being added due to demand which welcomed the likes of Bob Dylan and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Much like the original Woodstock, the weekend was blemished by disastrous weather but that’s one of the few similarities the two shared.
On the first day of the event, Jackyl lead singer Jesse James Dupree stole the show for the wrong reasons when he bizarrely lit a stool on fire in the centre of the stage and started using a chain saw to cut it up. He then pulled out a rifle and started shooting it in the air but cut his hand or finger, which started bleeding heavily and as he wiped his forehead a streak of blood was left across his head. Aphex Twin’s set was then stopped halfway through because he signed a fake name on his contract which meant that his appearance was void and he was abruptly disconnected
The celebratory event took place on Winston Farm, just west of Saugerties, New York, about 100 miles north of New York City and a mere 70 miles from the original 1969 festival site near Bethel.
Following the success of their eponymous debut in 1992, Blind Melon succumbed to the familiar tale of falling into the debauchery which comes hand in hand with rock ‘n’ roll riches. Their set on the main stage on day two at Woodstock would mark the band at the peak of their powers as they delivered a performance that would have even stood out in ’69.
Frontman Shannon Hoon had struggled with addiction and that would tragically be the cause of his death little more than a year later, a time when he died of a heart attack after overdosing on cocaine. He was clearly tripping off LSD during the performance at Woodstock even though the band played super early in the day which was no deterrent for him.
For Blind Melon’s exhilarating set, Hoon opted to wear his girlfriend’s white dress which was quite the statement back in ’94, a time when society was no way near as progressive as it is today and signified the sort of accepting character that he was.
The band had such a sudden rise and an even quicker downfall following Hoon’s sudden death which came not long after their ill-fated 1995 sophomore album Soup, a project which didn’t quite land commercially in the same way their debut did. Their set at Woodstock was their crowning moment and arguably the highest point of their short career which was marred by travesty.
Check out their epic performance of ‘No Rain’, below.