Tribute to Vietnam vets revisits music they loved
1969 revisits the music of the ’60s with a show at Vipers-Alley on March 29 in honor of Viet Nam veterans.
Woodstock Tribute to Vietnam Vets
Viper Alley, 275 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire
Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts 9 p.m., Friday, March 29
$10 general admission,
half-price for all Vets with ID
The seven-piece band 1969 rocks lots of tie die and fringe as it takes listeners back in a musical time machine to the psychedelic era. And on March 29, the Woodstock-themed performance takes on a special meaning as the cover band revisits the ’60s with fellow Chicagoland group, Classical Blast, in a tribute concert on National Vietnam Veterans Day at Viper Alley.
“The Vietnam era was fraught with complexities: the age of a horrible war, the age of Aquarius, age of the peace movement. It was also an era of fantastic — what has now become classic — rock music and huge outdoor music festivals,” said Barbara Weigand, of ArtsWarrior, an arts management company.
With much of the music from that time being a product of the war, the songs were how soldiers stayed connected to home. Bass player Jaimie Koppenhoefer recalled a previous show 1969 played in Elmhurst where a veteran requested “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by The Animals.
“That was the song that got them through. People lived through their music then,” Koppenhoefer said. “We’ll always get a Vietnam vet come up at shows and tell us how much that music really means to them.”
The Viper Alley concert, set in the 40th anniversary year of the American troops return from Vietnam, aims to evoke the same feelings music gave during that decade.
“We’re going to recreate a little piece of Woodstock as perhaps it should have been done the first time, as a homecoming celebration for those vets,” Weigand said. “We hope the healing force of music will sustain them and bring everyone in the community together to pay tribute to our local Vietnam vets. They deserve this kind of party.”
1969 and Classical Blast will cover musical legends Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin, Jefferson Airplane, Sly & the Family Stone, Joe Cocker, The Beatles and many other artists from the era.
Playing the classics true to form — with no backing tracks or laptops used on stage as in today’s popular music — is 1969’s highest priority.
“Everyone still remembers and loves that music no matter where we play. We have a lot of fun recreating that time period,” Koppenhoefer said.
Even stage costumes are of the era.
Nicknamed Lovechild, Koppenhoefer wears his vintage 1969 hat and multi-colored love beads he made as a child He said his band mates have no problem getting into character as they are also “natural hippies.”
Only 10 years old in 1969, Koppenhoefer was falling asleep on his mother’s lap under strobe lights at rock concerts. He’d see seven bands in a night at the original Kinetic Playground in Uptown, including the Moody Blues, The Who and The Band.
“That’s another reason why I live in the past; you used to live a good life back then,” he said. “Maybe it was a little dangerous or risky, but I’m proud of it.”
Moments like those with bands no longer around are what many Vietnam veterans missed out on, and what bands like 1969 enjoy bringing back.
“The show is for all veterans. We’re proud of all of them. But especially the Vietnam vets who weren’t necessarily recognized like they should have been back then,” Koppenhoefer said. “God bless you, welcome home and let’s rock.”