In August 1969, 500,000 people gathered at a farm in upstate New York. What happened there was far more than just a concert. Woodstock tells the story of a legendary event that defined a ... See full summary »
Originally filmed in December 1968, "The Rock and Roll Circus" was originally intended to be released as a television special. The special was filmed over two nights and featured not only ... See full summary »
The Woodstock Diaries is an enthralling fly on the wall music documentary about the creation of Woodstock and rarely seen concert performances from the festival. Three one hour programmes ... See full summary »
An intimate look at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival held in Bethel, NY in 1969, from preparation through cleanup, with historic access to insiders, blistering concert footage, and portraits of the concertgoers; negative and positive aspects are shown, from drug use by performers to naked fans sliding in the mud, from the collapse of the fences by the unexpected hordes to the surreal arrival of National Guard helicopters with food and medical assistance for the impromptu city of 500,000.Written by
Dan Hartung <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Okay. Go ahead.
Sidney Westerfield, Local merchant:
My name is Sidney Westerfield. I'm the owner of this antique tavern, Mongaup Valley, New York State. I was here when this crowd really came. We expected 50,000 a day and there must have been a million. I, myself, was hungry for two days because I couldn't get any food! I couldn't go out to buy any food.
Sidney Westerfield, Local merchant:
I was eatin' cornflakes for two days. And the kids were wonderful. I had no kick. It was, "Sir, this" and "Sir, that" and "Thank you, this" and "Thank you, ...
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After the closing credits of the Director's Cut, Crosby, Stills and Nash are heard singing "Cost of Freedom". The visuals are of a still shot of the crowd of Woodstock, fading into a long list of names of various people, including performers who were at Woodstock, who have since died. The list of names ends with the following: Peace Music Ecology Liberty Community Democracy Alternatives Knowledge Altruism This is then followed by: Woodstock Generation 19**-20** R.I.P. it up Tear it up have a Ball See more »
A Director's Cut was released in 1994. This version includes Janis Joplin, and extra footage of Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix. It's 228? minutes, 6354? meters long, with remixed Dolby SR-D sound. See more »
This 'defining moment of a generation' has been over-romanticized to the point of parody. Woodstock changed nothing about American life or culture--the mythos surrounding it is just a nostalgia trip for aging hippies and guilty yuppies longing for the days before mandatory drug-testing. The notion that getting stoned and balling in the mud at a rock concert could qualify as a form of social or political activism is so ridiculous that it's almost contemptible.
Nevertheless, 'Woodstock' the movie is a gem for its numerous moments of brilliance on stage and the relatively innovative use of multiple sound-tracks and camera angles that paved the way first for similarly brilliant concert films like Scorsese's 'The Last Waltz.'
This film was largely responsible for the explosion in popularity of The Who's 'Tommy,' and it's easy to see why. Their renditions of the rock opera's high points, culminating with 'See Me Feel Me/Listening to You' in the early morning hours, are simply breathtaking. Ironically, the Who frequently slagged their performance at Woodstock and the hippie movement in general, and Townshend famously clobbered anti-establishment activist Abbie Hoffman with a blow to the head from his guitar after Hoffman tried to take the mike during their set (sadly, this legendary bit of rock lore was missed entirely by the film crew, who were changing reels between songs at the time). Their set's most serendipitous aspect--the sun breaking over the horizon during the instrumental climax of their final number--was a consequence of the group's holding up their performance for several hours, demanding to be paid in advance. They were also quite angry about having been unwittingly dosed with LSD, which had been added to basically every form of beverage--including ice-cubes--in the backstage area. They translate their frustration and anger into a manic energy unrivalled in the history of live rock.
Also perilously high on LSD was Santana, whose performance of 'Soul Sacrifice' became a defining moment for that incarnation of the group. Though Carlos Santana's guitar was always the focus of Santana, the film's sound editing and camera work dwell more on drummer Michael Shreve, a drop-dead brilliant jazz-trained percussionist who joined Santana while still in his teens. One could easily be persuaded that Shreve was the real genius of Santana from this performance.
Other star-making turns are here to be found: the first public appearance of Crosby, Stills, & Nash, delivering a stripped-down performance of 'Suite: Judy Blue-Eyes' supported only by Still's acoustic guitar and their legendary three-part harmonies, Joe Cocker refashioning the Beatles' 'With a Little Help From My Friends' from psychedelic pop into gut-wrenching soul, and the hugely underrated Richie Havens' acoustic folk introspection.
The snippets of dialogue and interviews date poorly, with the exception of a humorous turn by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who gives a quick running commentary as he rolls and displays a fat marijuana joint for the camera (the Dead refused permission to have their performance featured in the film).
Perhaps the most celebrated moment of the film is Jimi Hendrix's set with his new group, the Band of Gypsies, which features his virtuosic take on the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' Though the hippie rhetoric about the glorious counter-culture revolution of the sixties is tiresome (I find it somewhat telling that, due to weather, Hendrix's set was pushed back to the morning of the last day, and was missed by the majority of the filthy, soaked, and hung-over crowd), Hendrix (who, unbeknownst to many, was an Army paratrooper before he became a rock god) captures the confusion and fear aroused by the Vietnam War and the rift it inspired between American youth and the so-called establishment with stunning clarity. He also proves quite convincingly why he will never be equaled as a rock guitarist or an icon of cool.
Forget the hippie nonsense and get off on some of the highest-quality recordings and concert footage of the golden age of rock.
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