Customer Review

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A piece of history, 19 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Woodstock: The Director's Cut [1969] [DVD] (DVD)
Everyone has their own ideas about Woodstock: the high-point of a golden age of optimism, a chaotic, badly organized mess, an uneven mixture of performers and performances, a clash between the conservative townspeople and a vast invasion of hippies, a religious experience... the list goes on. This movie does an excellent job at capturing all these aspects (and others) of the event, sometimes using multiple images to represent more than one of them simultaneously. The intermingling of the performances with other scenes creates a well-rounded picture, and makes this much more than just a concert film. Sometimes the juxtaposition is magical - one of my favourite moments is, while one camera is showing Carlos Santana as he grimaces his way through a characteristically melodic guitar solo, another is focussed on a girl in the audience as she responds to - it seems - each and every note.

There are other buried treasures in here as well - for example, I'd never realised how beautiful Grace Slick was (probably because I'd heard so many tales about her unpleasant personality) or, for that matter, how much Janis Joplin reminded me of Ozzy Osbourne in his earlier days. To be sure, some of the music is more dispensible than others (and some of the performances have clearly been cleaned up - or completely overdubbed - after the event): I could never see the point of Sha Na Na, and I still find myself nodding off during Ten Years After's "Going Home" (sure, Alvin Lee's a fantastic guitarist, but he seems to spend 90% of the song not playing it). But they're more than made up for by the magic: Country Joe getting the crowd on its feet with his impromptu "Fixin' To Die Rag", Pete Townshend swaggering through "Summertime Blues", Joe Cocker's catarthic "Little Help From My Friends" and Hendrix's appearance right at the end, as if just descended from a spacecraft: "I see that we meet again, hmmmm...".
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Jun 2011 06:43:39 BDT
M. Dyer says:
Interestingly I saw Carlos Santana talk about his life and music on TV the other night and he said the reason he was grimacing was that he was so high on LSD during that performance that he felt his guitar was like a snake wriggling around and he was concentrating really hard to keep playing in time.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2011 16:08:46 BDT
Many thanks indeed for that insight which, though interesting, is probably not very surprising given the time and place. Since his grimace and wince has remained intact for the duration of his career, has he been high on LSD ever since then? I think we should be told. ;-)
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