on July 2, 1999
I was somewhat disappointed with this boxed set which I had been looking forward to playing. Although it has much of the music from the original three record set, which I have, and from the movie, plus much more, what it lacks is the real flavor of what Woodstock was. For some inexplicable reason, they left out almost all of the stage announcements and crowd noise which, for those who were there, those who saw the movie, or even for those who wished they were there, really defined the experience. Where was the "no rain" cheer, Chip Monk of the Hog Farm announcing "breakfast in bed for four hundred thousand" or Max Yasgur's greeting of praise for the the crowd? All that was a big part of Woodstock. To just have the music ignores the event itself. I'd recommend the remastered original instead.
on July 17, 2001
This one of the best examples of when there is something special, don't tinker with it. What made the original Woostock albums was the music,the humor and the stage announcements. The second LP was a respectable follow up for people who couldn't get enough. The box set lacks direction and must have been a quick job to make $$$$. They should have combined both original albums with bonus tracks and a good remastering or put out cd's of all unreleased tracks sticking with old formula of mixing in funny stage and audience comments. On the box set, you get full versions of songs that came out better edited. Some artists get more songs (Creedence, Airplane) playing substandard sets and others (Santana, Ten Years After, The Who, Melanie ) who were "On" that weekend, get only one tune. A couple stand out performances from the original albums are missing like "Wooden Ships", "Birthday Of The Rain" and the stage comments. The sound quality of all Woodstock releases has always been inadequate, lacking no midrange and it's worse here. The booklet is lousy. They should have checked out "Monterey" and done their homework. Stick with the old albums, unless your a die hard Woodstock collector.
on July 9, 1998
This is a good set but it does have some faults.
The mixes are not exactly brilliant. If you compare some of the tracks originally released on the 1970 WOODSTOCK LP you will find the earlier mixes far superior. Not only in terms of stereo but also in terms of overall sound. For example: "Joe Hill" is minus the backing instruments, "Going Up the Country" has a rather washed out lead guitar solo and some tracks, like Sly & the Family Stone's Medley, have problems with the overall mix (i.e. the wavering sound of the brass section). Whoever remixed these tracks did not desire clear definition of instruments. The classic 'orgasm' finale of "With a Little Help From My Friends" and the "Howitzer" finale of The Who are almost as muddy as the Festival site itself became. The bass is too low and the treble too flat.
The inclusion of previously released material seems to be a waste of space. Both the original Woodstock albums are still available (remastered too!) So why double up on the tracks contained in them? Why not release all new material?
Other than this, the set is worth it since it is the only way you can hear the chaos and madness that inspires such previously unreleased performances of Joplin, Creedence and The Band. The quality is not as bad as I make it out to be. (I guess I am too used to the classic stereo sound of the vinyl era.)
This was a landmark festival in terms of recording (8 track) and, as such, deserves to be heard.
Several CDs and DVDs are available that cover Woodstock. I still recall listening to the first vinyl album from Woodstock. I was impressed at the time, inadequate as that first recording was. There have been other attempts at capturing the Woodstock experience, each with their own successes and failures. I thought that a boxed set commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Woodstock would have been something that a fan of 60s cutting edge music would be a requirement for my collection. I was wrong.
This collection does offer the most music of any of the collections of which I am aware. However, this collection also removes some of the better songs from the earlier collections, and adds all new mistakes. My biggest complaint is in the flow of the music. The music is chronologically out of order, which makes this album more of an excerpt of Woodstock versus a representation of Woodstock. Second, Woodstock lasted for days, and someone decided that these four hours of music were how fans should remember Woodstock. I like much of the music on these CDs, but there is so much more and more that is better, and I feel short changed. There are a few more famous songs from the cutting edge artists, but how did Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (who I really like) get almost half a CD while other famous artists, such as The Who, get one song? Who picked this music?
I also recall that some of the previous Woodstock albums had more announcements and more talk on stage. This CD seems to have reduced that material as extraneous. I once thought the material was extraneous, but now, in my nearly old age, I find the extraneous material helps provide a better feel for the Woodstock experience.
I am also surprised that the sound was not more improved. I expected with improved technology there would be improved sound. The sound is better than the early Woodstock albums, but still not as good as I think it could be.
The 25th anniversary boxed set was an opportunity for someone to make a truly historic and meaningful music statement about Woodstock. Instead, someone seems to have picked artists that they may have thought were more popular or better remembered, and overlooked some of the more influential artists or songs. Opportunities such as this come along all too infrequently, and it is a shame that such an important opportunity was missed for this event. Wait for the next boxed set with six or eight CDs, with someone guiding that project with a vision of how to really represent Woodstock.
on May 23, 2008
From all the festivals organized during the late sixties this is the best covered from them all, both on audio and image. I personally love it and I am currently looking for more information about it. My main concern is the MUSIC performed at the event either on audio and / or video.
This 1994 version is a good effort because it gives us more music performed at the event and it is chronologically more accurate than previous releases, but it is still incomplete and some artists are still lost in the archives (Blood Sweat & Tears, Bert Sommer, and The Incredible String Band).
MESSAGE FOR THE RECORD COMPANY: ¡¡ Please release a definitive edition and help us to save some money !!
The booklet included in this box gives a lot of information and a string of photographs. Nevertheless I do not like it. That sort of archival look is definitely not for me I wish it had included more photos with better definition and graphics that actually can be read. (Is there any other shot of Johnny Winter performing at Woodstock rather than the one of Elliot Landy?)
Song by song analysis:
1. Handsome Johnny - 2. Freedom - Richie Havens
OK: first day (the acoustic day) and first artist. Havens performed at least 8 songs and he even created "Freedom" at Woodstock from the traditional "Motherless Child". There are at least two more songs filmed but not officially released (i.e. the beautiful High Flyin' Bird). Richie portion on the film is edited.
(OMITTED: Swami Satchidananda appearance on the stage. He is only seen on the film - brief passage)
3. The 'Fish' Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag - Country Joe McDonald
OK: day one and second artist. He performed at least 5 songs. There is an offcial but unreleased video of his performance.
4. Rainbows All Over Your Blues - 5. I Had a Dream - John B. Sebastian
OK: day one and the third artist to appear. His full set is on "Faithful Virtue" CD on RHINO Recs. That acoustic guitar is actually Tim Hardin's.
(OMITTED: Sweetwater, the first band ever to appear at Woodstock. They performed at least 8 songs. Only one of them was released on a RHINO label compilation of the band; the only known video of the band at Woodstock was available in a long deleted VHS )
(OMITTED: Bert Sommer. His manager was co - organizer of the Festival Artie Kornfeld and he performed 10 songs one of them (Jennifer) is shown on Woodstock Diary DVD. Another song (America) can be listened in Bert's site on Internet).
6. If I Were a Carpenter - Tim Hardin
We are still on day one and the only song officially available from his one hour set.
(OMITTED: Ravi Shankar. He briefly appears on Woodstock Diary DVD. His full set was available on vinyl records and CD. He actually performed in the pouring rain)
7. Beautiful People - Melanie
She jumped on stage instead of Incredible String Band because their manager Joe Boyd didn't allow them to perform while raining. Her entire set is officially available.
8. Coming into Los Angeles - 9. Walking Down the Line - Arlo Guthrie
Apparently he performed 4 songs. The complete live version of "Coming..." has not been released. There is an official unreleased video of part of his performance (including the almost "a capella" rendition to "Amazing Grace").
10. Joe Hill - 11. Sweet Sir Galahad - 12. Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man - Joan Baez
Joan headlined day one and she performed 8 songs most of them have been released.
(OMITTED: Quill. This is day two (progressive - psychedelic rock day) / first artist to appear. They are briefly shown on Woodstock Diary DVD. Their full set is unavailable)
(OMITTED: Incredible String Band. Here they are after refusing playing in the pouring rain on day one. They are briefly shown on Woodstock Diary DVD performing the beautiful "When you find out who you are". Their full set is unavailable)
13. Soul Sacrifice - Santana
This is day two 2 PM. Santana full performance is available on the CD re issue of their first album.
(OMITTED: Keef Hartley Band. They performed at least 6 songs all of them unavailable).
14. Blood of the Sun - 15. Theme For An Imaginary Western - Mountain
They are in the wrong order. They performed 13 songs after Canned Heat. L. West has released the band performance at Woodstock. It is said that "Theme..." was not performed at Woodstock.
1. Leaving this Town - 2. Going up The Country - Canned Heat
Four songs set. "Woodstock Boogie" is a long (14+ minutes) and strong track lost in the archives; once available and heavily edited on Woodstock II vinyl.
3. Commotion - 4. Green River - 5. 99 And A Half (Won't Do) - 6. I Put A Spell On You - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Part of their 11 songs set. It's said that John Fogerty didn't allow any CCR stuff were released. There are a couple of numbers more filmed but not officially released.
(OMITTED: Grateful Dead. They performed at least 4 songs all of them officially unavailable. There are at least two more songs filmed but not officially released. One of them a classic lenghty improvisation of the band)
7. Try - 8. Work Me Lord - 9. Ball & Chain - Janis Joplin
Part of her 10 songs set including two encores. Also there are a couple of tracks officially filmed but unreleased.
10. Medley: Dance To the Music/Music Lover/I Want To Take You Higher - Sly & the Family Stone
This set isn't complete and it's heavily edited. They performed over 50 minutes.
11. We're Not Gonna Take It - The Who
4 AM: a strong performance of 25 songs (not been officially released) REDUCED TO A COUPLE OF TUNES. They performed "Heaven and Hell"!!! and it's hidden somewhere. Even the Abbie Hofmann incident seems to be filmed or at least the moment just after the affair. By the way this is not "We're not gonna take it" this is "Summertime Blues". There is an unreleased video of his performance with time counter indicating an official recording (it's taken from the stage right camera; the same source used for the additional Hendrix material added to the definitive edition of his performance).
1. Volunteers - 2. Somebody to Love - 3. Saturday Afternoon/Won't You Try - 4. Uncle Sam Blues - 5. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
6 AM on day three. Almost complete set. One track "Plastic Fantastic Lover" is also available on J. A. Loves you Box Set.
6. Let's Go Get Stoned - 7. With A Little Help from My Friends - Joe Cocker
2 PM on day three. Part of his 9 songs set with the Grease Band. It is said the Grease Band performed a couple of numbers without Joe. On the film he announces "Just Like a Woman" to a stage announcer.
(OMITTED: The BIG storm. The complete performance won't be released)
8. Rock & Soul Music - Country Joe & the Fish
They were the first band that jumped on the dangerously wet stage after the storm.
9. I'm going Home - Ten Years After
Not even Alvin Lee knows exactly what they actually performed. They did 5 long numbers. Drums for this track were recorded later under the approval of Alvin Lee.
10. Long Black Veil - 11. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever - 12. The Weight - Band
They performed at least 11 songs.
(OMITTED: Blood Sweat and Tears. They performed at least 5 songs all of them unavailable except for the one shown on VHS - Laserdisc "Woodstock: the Lost Performances". There are at least three songs filmed but not officially released including the great Al Kooper BST era number "I'll love you more than you'll ever know")
13. Mean Town Blues - Johnny Winter
This is the only known track from his 9 songs performance. Nevertheless this is just a portion of the complete songs which lasts for 8+ minutes (drum beat and slide guitar solo intro. are missing).
1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - 2. Guinevere - 3. Marrakesh Express - 4. 4 + 20 - 5. Sea Of Madness - 6. Find the Cost of Freedom - Crosby Stills Nash
Their set was 10 songs for the acoustic set and 8 for the electric set. Some people say that N Young didn't allow to be filmed ... WRONG there is at least one acoustic song by him with S. Stills officially filmed.
7. Love March - Paul Butterfeild Blues Band
This is day four at 5 - 6 AM. Only two tracks from 5 songs set are available. "Drifting Blues" is also available.
8. At The Hop - Sha Na Na
A long and endless 8 - 9 songs set.
9. Voodoo Chile / Stepping Stone - 10. Star Spangled Banner - 11. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
This man really hooked me on a new audio dimension. Only 2 tracks have not been officially released "(Call me) Mastermind" and "Gipsy Woman" both with Larry Lee on vocals. Newer versions have lots of cuts erasing some odd moments like when a guy from the audience offers Jimi "Wanna get high?" and Jimi says "I got mine I got mine".
on April 17, 2004
this 25th Anniversary Box Set of such an important musical event is so poorly packaged . When I was 14 years old , my father made his first trip to the Usa ( 1970 ) , and he was nice enough to buy me two of my first Lp's . Woodstock and Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the Nite . Woodstock opened a new musical world for me . So , not listening to the reviews offered at Amazon ( big mistake , Again ) , I went ahead and ordered this excuse of a Box Set . Memory is a strong asset , and , yes , where are the announcements , the original sequence ( that could have been inserted with the new material ) , the Original art work ( who made this tasteless cd covers )??? , I did like what happened in 1969 , but who keeps this bulky booklets at hand when playing the music ??? , etc... The let downs are too many to count . So , I am going to have to order the original Woodstock and with it , make my own Cd's . Any way ....
on December 8, 2011
Woodstock - The 25th anniversary collection - three days of peace and music (box set): This set should have been made obsolete by the 40th anniversary "Yasger's Farm" box set, but there are sill a few key performance in this old set that were left out of the new box set. You will still need this old set in order to have a CD copy of 'Ten Years After' doing their landmark "I'm Goin' Home" performance.
on April 16, 2009
Upon the 25th anniversary of the legendary music and art festival, this box set was released, fooling all who purchased it by the use of some rare nuggets.
What this box set must be viewed as is not a sprawling, enthusiastic representation of the greatest cultural event ever, but instead must be seen as a strictly nugget-filled trinket that just happens to include tracks that were featured in the festival.
Here, you get never-before released recordings of Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Band, and many others. However, with these gems you must also suffer the misfortune of not hearing the stage announcements or the famous "rain" chant. Even some of the original, authentic crowd noises have been forced to reside with crowd noises that were clearly recorded somewhere else.
The Box Set succeeds in giving you a few handfulls of nuggets while simultaneously failing by taking away the spirit of the original recordings. Proceed with caution.
on June 19, 2001
This is a great collection of music. It has everything from the craziness of Jimi Hendrix, and the amplifier-killing version of the National Anthem, to the downright odd sound of 'Love March' by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, to the guitar-heavy sound of The Who. This is truly great music.
However, not everything is perfect. And that holds true with this set. I ask, along with a bunch of people, why only one song from 'The Who'? Why the greatest rock band only has one song is still beyond me.
But overall, a very good purchase.
on November 29, 2000
This festival was a landmark of the Vietnam protest movement. The box set is an improvement over the original CD sets that were released before it. For one, the remastering cleaned things up a little. Another thing is the packaging. The booklet contained with the set is a nice addition. And then there is the music. Ritchie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Country Joe and the Fish, CSN, and many more. But, the most amazing track is still Ten Years After. This set should be owned by anyone who claims to be a fan of Folk and Rock music.