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View Full Version : Woodstock: Ultimate Collectors' Edition on Blu-Ray!



Steve P.
03-20-2009, 06:09 PM
The specs for this (and the packaging) look pretty awesome. I've also heard that places like Target and Amazon will be offering their own exclusive bonus video material, kinda like what Kiss did. I *hate* it when they do that! Still, this might be the BD of the year for me:

http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6643496.html?desc=topstory

Disc One

· Film (Director’s Cut), Part 1 128:38 min

· The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock



Disc Two

· Film (Director’s Cut), Part 2 95:34 min



Disc Three

· Woodstock: Untold Stories 18 Performances as never before seen

· Woodstock: From Festival to Feature Interviews of the sights and sounds of the 3 day event, from concert goers, promoters, crew and musicians


FULL DESCRIPTION OF 18 BONUS PERFORMANCES

· Joan Baez “One Day at a Time”

· Country Joe McDonald “Flying High”

· Santana “Evil Ways”

· Canned Heat “I’m Her Man” and “On the Road Again”

· Mountain “Beside the Sea” and “Southbound Train”

· Grateful Dead “Turn On Your Love Light”

· Creedence Clearwater Revival “Born on the Bayou”, “I’ve Put a Spell on You” and

“Keep on Chooglin’”

· The Who “We’re Not Going To Take It” and “My Generation”

· Jefferson Airplane “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds”

· Joe Cocker “Something’s Coming On”

· Johnny Winter “Mean Town Blues”

· Paul Butterfield “Morning Sunrise”

· Sha Na Na “Teen Angel”

mark t
03-20-2009, 08:29 PM
Shit, the CCR performances made it on? I might have to get it just for that!

Eric B
03-20-2009, 10:33 PM
I pre-ordered this at amazon for just under 50 bones. I'm cutting way back on the movie buying until I'm out of debt, but I'm making an exception for Woodstock on Blu-ray. I skipped the DVD that came out all those years ago. Before the advent of DVD, I watched Woodstock so much that I needed a long break. The bonus disc sealed the deal. I wonder what's on it; hope it's good.

Jeffrey Allen Rydell
03-21-2009, 02:32 AM
This is welcome, but temper expectations - it's primarily a 16mm production, and will benefit mainly from the fresh mastering of elements, as well as the improved compression of HD. The jump in resolution won't be itself all that dramatic.

Now the positive spin on that is, it'll likely never look better outside of an answer print.

Phil D
03-21-2009, 05:10 AM
Seen it more than Charleton Heston?

Eric B
03-21-2009, 08:40 AM
Of all the movies to get stuck with, huh? If I were him I woulda been searching the city for something else to watch. But I guess that's not what "The Omega Man" was about.:)

I don't expect video miracles from the Blu-ray of "Woodstock." What I'm looking forward to most is the performances I haven't seen; I'm only familiar with the theatrical cut. That and, hopefully, newly remixed uncompressed audio. I do find the packaging to be a little on the gaudy side. Fringes? Wonder if it will come with an old roach clip, too.:p

Steve R
03-21-2009, 11:51 AM
The Criterion of Monteray Pop was outstanding. The audio was striking for a film of that era. Hopefully the audio on this one will be, too

No Band footage :(

But we get the Dead :D

Bill Pissott
03-21-2009, 12:12 PM
Unfortunately, WOODSTOCK is not one of The Dead's shining moments. Clips of that performance have been circulating for some time now.

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Bob and Jerry talk about it on Letterman:

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Steve P.
03-21-2009, 12:54 PM
True dat Bill, but Woodstock and The Grateful Dead go together like peanut butter and chocolate! :D

There's a *bunch* of footage that won't be used of course either down to rights or the artists just not wanting their stuff out there. It's a little bit of a miracle that any CCR footage is being used at all so I'm generally pretty happy with what we're going to be getting.

Bill Pissott
03-21-2009, 01:27 PM
Agreed Steve. Good or bad, any footage of the GD is something I'll watch :)

Steve P.
06-13-2009, 09:19 AM
My copy of Woodstock arrived from Amazon early this week. The packaging is kind of cool but kind of ridiculous too! You get an iron-on Woodstock patch attached to the fringe jacket. Pull the packaging out of the jacket and you find a mini reproduction of the Life Magazine Woodstock Special Edition, a paperweight type thingy you can move up and down to see three different pictures, a reproduction of a Woodstock ticket, a bunch of different hand scrawled messages from attendees looking for loved ones and if my eyes aren't deceiving me, a free pass to the Woodstock Museum. Whew! And oh yeah, buried in all this stuff are a couple of Blu-Ray discs.

The Target version has its own packaging which I'm told is much worse because it's in a big cylindrical tambourine shaped box, making it harder to store. It also has it's own exclusive bonus content as does the Amazon version.

I started watching the movie last night. I should mention that this set (and the standard def set) include the director's cut and not the theatrical version. At nearly 4 hours, it's too much for me take in one sitting. I watched about half of it. I must say, I'm really impressed! Don't expect it to look as good as "Batman: The Dark Knight". But given the source material, the conditions under which the festival was filmed and other such factors, this is as good as it's likely to get. There didn't appear to be much DNR that I could detect, which is nice. It looks like a film ought to. The audio portion is very good too. This is the same director approved audio 5.1 remix that appeared in the 90s version. There's been a wee bit of controversy because apparently Carlos Santana re-recorded portions of his guitar solo and a couple of other "enhancements". I don't notice them at all. Having said that, I do wish that there was a PCM track of the original stereo mix. But I guess we can't have everything!

While I still have nearly 2 hours of the main feature to watch as well as oodles of bonus material, so far this is great stuff.

Keith B.
06-24-2009, 08:48 AM
Phil Lesh wrote in his book that the Dead's Woodstock performance was pretty bad due to sound issues.

Disappointed that no bonus footage of The Band is in the set. From what I understand they resented being filmed and kept their backs to the cameras.

Maybe I can finally collect my bet with a friend, who keeps swearing to God that Bob Dylan played the original Woodstock no matter how much hard evidence I show him that proves otherwise.

Gary Miller
06-29-2009, 03:57 PM
My copy of Woodstock arrived from Amazon early this week. The packaging is kind of cool but kind of ridiculous too! You get an iron-on Woodstock patch attached to the fringe jacket. Pull the packaging out of the jacket and you find a mini reproduction of the Life Magazine Woodstock Special Edition, a paperweight type thingy you can move up and down to see three different pictures, a reproduction of a Woodstock ticket, a bunch of different hand scrawled messages from attendees looking for loved ones and if my eyes aren't deceiving me, a free pass to the Woodstock Museum. Whew! And oh yeah, buried in all this stuff are a couple of Blu-Ray discs.


I started watching the movie last night. I should mention that this set (and the standard def set) include the director's cut and not the theatrical version. At nearly 4 hours, it's too much for me take in one sitting. I watched about half of it. I must say, I'm really impressed! Don't expect it to look as good as "Batman: The Dark Knight". But given the source material, the conditions under which the festival was filmed and other such factors, this is as good as it's likely to get. There didn't appear to be much DNR that I could detect, which is nice. It looks like a film ought to. The audio portion is very good too. This is the same director approved audio 5.1 remix that appeared in the 90s version.
While I still have nearly 2 hours of the main feature to watch as well as oodles of bonus material, so far this is great stuff.

My thoughts exactly.

I made the mistake of pulling the fringed box out of the plastic cover. It was pretty frustrating getting it back in without creasing or folding the fringes. I wish they chose a more practical period fashion statement (like a tie dyed shirt).

As an aging baby boomer that attended Woodstock (honest!)* nothing committed to celluloid has ever made my eyes water more with nostalgic wistfulness. I only wish another 4 hours surfaces someday. Admittedly, I enjoy the background stuff probably more then many of the performances now.

My random thoughts about the Woodstock box:

One online critic praised the transfer for staying within the 2:35 frame. I have mixed feelings about that. (If I had a true 2:35 screen and front projector, I'd feel differently). The aspect ratio shifts are less distracting this way, but the trade-off is reduced impact for the scenes, which are numerous, that are simultaneously letter and pillar boxed for this edition.

While I have no regrets about purchasing this disc, (it was an automatic for me) the extras, aside from the two disc content, are mainly a lot of fluff. I wouldn't argue that this box is a good value, as I would have been happier paying half the price for the disc set alone. In other words, there's really about $30.00 worth of nonsense here. (I like the Life magazine re-print, but it's paper value is pennies, not dollars).


* I was 16 years old and hitched to Woodstock from Ithaca, New York, with my buddy of middle eastern descent, named A-Rab. I can't remember A-Rab's real name,(although I'm sure it wasn't A-Rab) but he accepted the handle good-naturedly, without politically correct grumbling...a different time for sure.

For some reason (probably because we were 16 year old idiots) we left late at night, stayed at a flophouse in Binghamton, that could have as well been the hotel in "Big". I do remember being awake all night though. (These were very seedy and spooky accommodations...I was probably waiting for the Boogeyman to blow down the door). Early the next morning, we hitched the rest of the way to Woodstock.

I don't remember how many rides were required, or even the stranger's car we were in, but I do remember the gridlocked road pretty well. There was a boisterous character that rolled opened the back door of a Budweiser truck which was stuck directly in front of us (exactly why that door was not locked is still a mystery I can't solve). He started to cordially distribute cartons of Bud until the irate driver glanced at his side view mirror, and got wise. In a cursing, furious rage, he chased the beer-beverage Robin Hood down the road. The driver returned to the truck in a huff, and then locked the back gate to his truck.

When the documentary was first released, I recall laughing out loud when the character now known as WavyGravy (with the cartoonish cowboy hat) showed up on screen. I wouldn't swear to it, especially after all these years, but I believed that was our convivial host at the Budweiser truck.


Later, we got close enough to hear music and see the stage, but I might as well been on an airplane. It was "folk day", and at the time, I was a real folkie. I could hear music (Richie Havens, I think) off in the distance. I got to hear Tim Hardin as well (I was a fan of his at the time), but never got close enough to actually see anything on stage.

I don't think A-Rab and I had tickets (as if that would have mattered...doh!!). I was also bone tired. I really don't remember my lame- brained reasoning at the time, but before dark, to my eternal regret and shame, A-Rab and I hitched back from whence we came.

Although it was a long time ago, I probably still deserve some punishment for leaving-the-scene of a near biblical event. If the mods ban me here for my long ago stupidity, I won't be happy...but I'll understand.

Steve R
06-29-2009, 04:41 PM
Gary, Nice memory.

Haven't got it yet, but feel the same way about the chatchkas. just gimme the discs and as much extra footage as you can.

What's your opinion of the extra footage? and the more recent interview stuff?
I'm very interested in the Dead footage and Creedence but that's a lot more moollah, mostly for stuff I don't care for..so how's the extra footage?

Steve

Gary Miller
06-29-2009, 11:47 PM
Gary, Nice memory.



I'm very interested in the Dead footage and Creedence but that's a lot more moollah, mostly for stuff I don't care for..so how's the extra footage?

Steve

I haven't really begun to fully pick apart the extras yet, but what I've seen is like finding buried treasure.

Some random thoughts so far:

-I had forgotten that Creedence was even at Woodstock. I've always been a fan, but at the time they were considered very commercial and "AM". (One component of the cultural revolution was a rejection of AM Top 40 hit radio, in favor of album oriented Rock on the relatively new FM band). CCR might have been a victim of their own success on the "singles" chart. In any case, they clearly chose the bluesiest songs in their repertoire for Woodstock. Perhaps I had low expectations, but was amazed by the quality of their performance here. The film and audio is in great shape too.

-From today's perspective, it's hard to imagine that Ravi Shankar made the final cut, but CCR, the Dead and The Band (for whatever reasons) did not.

-I loved early Who, but the Tommy rock opera appeal was lost on me at the time (I was a minority of one among my friends on this, who considered it a masterpiece). For myself though, it was great to hear and see the energized performance of My Generation on the extras disc. As a 1965 hit, it was probably considered old hat in 1969 and left on the movie's cutting room floor. Still, I think it holds up better today then the Tommy score, which was all the rage in 1969.

-Now 70 years old, it's easy to forget how sultry and sexy Grace Slick was at the time. Volunteers is another song that's conspiculously missing from the original Woodstock movie cut.

-I haven't watched enough of the new interviews yet to form much of an opinion. I was pleasantly surprised to see organizer Michael Lang looking almost identical to his 24 year old 1969 self..just a little more wrinkled.

-Unfortunately, unless I missed it here, footage of The Band is still M.I.A.

Navigating the extras disc seems a little confusing so far, but that's really my only nitpick.

Gary Miller
07-02-2009, 11:48 AM
I've watched the entire bonus disc now. It really was not as confusing as my first impression. The only aspect that was a little unnecessary and misleading was the "Untold Stories" umbrella category. While that heading sounds intriguing, it's simply a template for the bonus performances.

Overall though, the bonus disc met or even exceeded my expectations:

-I loved the playlist feature for the extra performances. Audio and visual quality for this extra footage was on par with the movie itself.

-I recommend viewing the individual segments that make up the "From Festival to Feature" section as one documentary (in other words, choose "play all")..at least for your first viewing.

-I got a particular kick out of the Hugh Hefner Playboy After Dark chapter. It was a hoot to see Michael Wadleigh, dressed like he just stepped off the Mayflower, surrounded by Heff's Jet-setters.

-The Museum at Bethel Woods (museum dedicated to the Woodstock festival) is probably the kind of place you need to visit to appreciate. With that said, the standard definition infomercial included here probably won't gin up much extra interest. Fortunately, it's only about 5 minutes long.

-I was only disappointed by one matter of substance in the "Festival to Feature" documentary. Michael Wadleigh comments how he fought with Warner Brothers for the provocatively downbeat, almost apocalyptic ending. I can understand why there was controversy: The general "vibe" at the time was optimistic and positive. From the perspective of many decades though, it's easy to accept and understand the cynical, grim ending.
While I imagine he's discussed and written about this extensively, it's simply brought up, and then dropped without further exploration here.

Steve R
07-02-2009, 02:44 PM
How were the bonus peformances?

Gary Miller
07-02-2009, 04:56 PM
I haven't had time to watch any of them more then once, except CCR. I mostly enjoyed them all (I can't say I was ever a a fan of Johnny Winter or Mountain, so I'll reserve judgement). I'm also not a Dead Head, but a friend who is, and was, thought that Festival Express (1970) was a much better performance.