Summer of 1969, A Memoir: Part 2, Goodbye and Hello

A. Jay Adler
14 min readAug 21, 2019

Many songs seem emblematic or emotionally reminiscent of the 60s, but for me, none is more so than Goodbye and Hello, by Tim Buckley and Larry Becket, with its marriage of folk lyricism to Kurt Weill, Wiemar theatricality.

O the new children dance — — — I am young
All around the balloons — — — I will live

Did Arnie and I feel like new children sitting on the ground in the middle of a small outdoor stadium in Santa Barbara listening to Blind Faith? Probably not. We did have strong political views. I had canvassed Washington Square in Manhattan for Bobby Kennedy the year before, stood in line at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for hours to view his body, been strong-armed out of a Nixon campaign event at Madison Square Garden. But our reputations were as pot and acid heads, diggers of our own trips, not as serious politicos out to forge a new world. We were riding the wave for all it was worth, all ten toes hung from the lip of the board — we weren’t devoted to making the wave itself, and I’d sensed a slight undercurrent of grumbling when I was named to the Far Rockaway High School mobilization committee against the Vietnam War. Back across the country at Woodstock, history tells us they were feeling like new children at that moment, but Arnie and I didn’t know about that yet.

What the evening meant to us was a second chance to see Blind Faith after just having attended their Madison Square Garden concert in New York the month before, at the start of the only tour they would ever do before their early demise as a band. For Arnie especially, who had introduced me to the amplified, bluesy pleasures of Cream, to hear Clapton and Ginger Baker live yet again was a grand reward for the effort of getting there. So, certainly, we were in our rock groove when from out of the crowd of blankets and coolers and swaying bodies wandered woozily a pretty teenage girl, probably my age, blonde and lithe and completely naked, who proceeded to drop quite literally into both our laps.

It was instantly clear that the girl was on acid. She didn’t seem to be having a bad trip, but she was completely gone — incoherent, if happy enough, and unconscious of any intention or volition. Arnie and l both, considerably nonplussed, looked and called around, but we were unable…

A. Jay Adler

Professor of English, writer, roper of stars