It was 1969. The new GTO, the Chevelle SS and the Camaro had all arrived. They could shoot to 60 mph in seconds. It was also the year of Woodstock…where Alvin Lee did just that—he thrust into full power, the minute he took the stage, with his eminent rendering of “I’m Going Home.” It wasn’t just a performance…it was an event, an experience. Perhaps unbeknownst to all who were there, it was the making of rock history.
Lee’s performance has been called “an intense nod to vintage blues.” That it was. But that’s like calling the GTO just “a cool car.” It’s been said “he tore it up.” He did tear it up. But that would be like saying the Chevelle SS was “cute” and “speedy.” An understatement, to be sure. This was a drag-strip, turbo-charged, never-to-be-forgotten, monster of a performance.
Alvin Lee took the stage and shredded everything that came before him…all the while, maintaining a keen attention to detail with an impeccable elegance. Lee’s performance that night was tasty to the point of decadence. It was dirty, it was mean, it was fast, it was sexy. It was euphoric.
So, yeah, “he tore it up.” He flogged his Gibson into submission, along with the peace sign decal, and the pretty little flower sticker. And in this virtuoso of a performance—all in an homage to American blues rock—he included a rocket launch of a guitar solo, executed with unshakeable, bad ass attitude.
Paul Evens, of Rolling Stone, saw it then, when he said this about Lee’s performance: “Charisma and blind speed made guitarist Alvin Lee a standout at Woodstock”
Hall of Fame—
It has been duly noted that “their performance quadrupled their fan base.” So, How can it be that Ten Years After have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame? The Jets made the Hall of Fame. Joe Namath, one icon, made it to the Hall of Fame from one performance. Alvin Lee arguably had a better performance. And yet, he’s not in the Hall of Fame. Who’s asleep at the wheel? Come on, Hall of Fame induction committee…wake up!