Harvey Mandel’s participation at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was accidental. Playing at the Fillmore West, Canned Heat’s guitarist Henry Vestine suddenly left the group. Canned Heat asked Mandel to sit in for one half and Mike Bloomfield the other half (not bad replacements!).
Afterwards, the Heat offered Mandel the guitar spot. He accepted and before he knew it, he was on his was on his way to Bethel, NY.
As it turns out, it was Harvey’s third concert with Canned Heat — in front of half a million people at Woodstock no less! Canned Heat was one of the big winners of the three days of “peace, love and music“. They opened with the unstoppable ‘Going Up With The Country,’ with a magnificent solo by him, but it was when they played ‘Fried Hockey Boogie,’ from their album Boogie With Canned Heat, that it became clear that Mandel was the best guitarist who had ever played with the band. With Janis Joplinand Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick as exceptional witnesses at the back of the stage, Mandel launched into a scintillating solo. Harvey’s work on ‘On The Road Again’ is also magnificent with his black Fender Stratocaster in perfect dialogue with Wilson’s Les Paul. See for yourself:Canned Heat – On the Road Again live at Woodstock 1969: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6smtAY8dXSI