Warner Home Video has announced Blu-ray and DVD editions of "Woodstock: Ultimate Collector’s Edition," for release next summer, in honor of the mudfest's 40th anniversary.
"Newly discovered" performances included in the set come from the Who, Joe Cocker, Canned Heat, Joan Baez and Country Joe and the Fish, adding up to about an hour. The new numbers are being culled from eight hours of raw footage that was dug out of a Kansas City, Mo., storage facility.
Warner says the mother of all concert films was restored and "remastered from original elements and scanned at 2K with audio 5.1 mix supervised by director Michael Wadleigh. The concert original chief engineer Eddie Kramer, who was on-site for the festival, is overseeing the audio mix of all of the recently found added footage."
"Monterey Pop" has seen a great deal of effort put into its DVD box set (Criterion) and CDs in recent years, but Woodstock pretty much just sat there in the DVD era. It'll continue to sit, as the film has some kind of moratorium going until the new set's release on
July 28June 9, 2009.
Woodstock has its share of dog performances, but these are among the highlights in the movie: Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner," Santana's "Soul Sacrifice," Ten Years After's blistering "I'm Going Home," Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music/Music Lover/I Want to Take You Higher" and Richie Havens' "Freedom."
Fans of the man with the guitar should check out the excellent Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock.
There were many more performers than seen in the film, of course, notably Mountain, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Perhaps we'll get a look at some of those perfs. (Janis Joplin was added to the film when it first morphed into a "director's cut.") Criterion's "The Complete Monterey Pop Festival" packed in a generous collection of previously ignored performers in its extras, setting the standard for this sort of thing.
Warner's 1997 release of "Woodstock" was largely viewed as a bummer, so this release comes to us overdue and quite welcome. An interesting
release from that neck of the woods is "Woodstock 1999," well worth a rental to see some of today's top rockers in their early years.
Extras include a commentary from director Michael Wadleigh, Robert Klein's docu "The '60s and the Woodstock Generation" and "reflections and perspectives from musicians, celebrities, influencers and other giants in the entertainment industry." No doubt we'll be hearing from Martin Scorsese, who worked a camera for "Woodstock."
For the record: I was headed to Woodstock with my two pals, until my parents got super-pissed about something and grounded me for the rest of the summer. Everyone from the '60s has a Woodstock story, it seems.