Woodstock 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Revisited
The first thing that must be addressed in the Blu-ray set on the consideration today is its title; ‘Woodstock: 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Revisited’. It is a matter of historical fact that the Woodstock Festival took place during the three days between the 15th and 18th of August 1969 so requires only rudimentary skills in arithmetic to realize the 40th anniversary actually took place in 2009. That is why the distributors packed on the modifier ‘revisited’ to reassure the public that they can indeed count. There are two basic target audiences for this additional release; baby boomers who grew up in the wake of Woodstock and members of the younger set that are especially interested in the roots of the music that dominated the decades prior to theirs. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am part of that first demographic. Although I did not attend the festival, I was just entering my teens at that time. This was the first big news story that followed the truly historical event of Apollo 11 bringing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the moon. There is no argument that Woodstock is nowhere near the Apollo landing as far as historical significance. However, it was an event that profoundly altered the sociopolitical configuration of the generation. It introduced the so-called hippie generation to musicians that in the subsequent years would become iconic in the art of music.
For those three days in August over 400,000 people gathered together on a small farm in upstate New York with sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. What was amazing was for a group of people that amounted to the population of a small city, there was no need for police force to maintain a peaceful demeanor and order. What made this more remarkable was the fact that there were shortages of food, water and sanitation facilities, yet, for the vast majority of those in attendance. They pulled together and got through in a peaceful fashion. This was a period in American history where the term generation gap accurately described the nation. America’s involvement in the Vietnam War divided the country along generational lines with most of the younger generation actively protesting the war. The Woodstock Festival was a chance for this generation to politicize very real circumstances surrounding the conflict and just enjoy life, each other’s company and an eclectic mix of musical styling. Your original movie released in 1970 and its soundtrack swept through my generation. I cannot count the number of times I played that soundtrack album or how often I went to a showing of the film. This was before MTV or even the concept of music video so being able to watch the performers in a movie theater was almost an overwhelming experience.
In 2009 the Woodstock 40th anniversary ultimate collector’s edition (UCE) was released. The highlight of it was the director’s cut of the film expanded the running time from an already long, 184 minutes to a staggering 228 minute epic. While almost 4 hours is a lot to ask of a theatrical audience watching it and Blu-ray in the comfort of your home is an extra delight. Unlike so many directors cut that add a few minutes in various scenes, the additional material presented here are performances of entire songs, many of which had not been seen previously. Much of the material added to the UCE for this revisited edition had been previously available only through a special release done exclusively for Amazon. Avid fans already purchased that edition, with its fringed, halter top slipcover and numerous memorabilia, you already have the essence of this new release. The director of the film, Michael Wadleigh, basically had one previous credit a cult classic color film, ‘Wolfen’, but this film would bring him almost instantaneous fame among the youth. The editor of the film, an assistant director would go on to making quite a name for himself as a filmmaker, Martin Scorsese. For those who have never seen the original movie, the documentarian style of the film was groundbreaking. In order to capture the essence of the festival, with so many things happening simultaneously, the director decided on what was becoming a new technique for filmmakers; split screens. Audiences used to a single screen depicting the action were thrust into the world of the event the cinematic style based upon the paintings of Piet Modrian. Although it’s has been used many times subsequently still is the best way to convey the synergistic energy of the festival and makes this film as vital and entertaining as it was over 40 years ago. The theatrical film did receive an Academy award for best documentary. In 1971 and has been inducted into the national film Registry.
This revisited in addition contains everything the ultimate collector’s edition had fantastically augmented by material that has previously not been seen. Considering the documentarian had three days of filming even a cut close to four hours allows for unbelievable amount of footage in his archives. In order to produce this edition some of the best performances recorded were edited into the release, making this a must-have set any serious collector. As mentioned, this is not just additional material thrown in to pad the overall running time. The performances added represent some of the best recordings of iconic acts such as Jefferson Airplane, Santana and Joan Baez. There are also a few now legendary performances by The Who, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Performances previously only on the Limited Edition
Performances Previously not included
This edition is mastered from pristine source footage restored to high definition 1080p video and a spectacular 5.1 surround audio on three Blu-ray discs.
In order to make certain this is the release you purchase the UPC for this edition is: 883929409396