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Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock(1969)
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock features all of the existing film footage from Jimi Hendrix's unforgettable August 1969 Woodstock concert newly re-edited and presented uninterrupted and in its original performance sequence. It features never before seen version of "Foxey Lady," " Message To Love," "Hey Joe," "Spanish Castle Magic," and "Lover Man." The audio soundtrack now includes a new previously unavailable 5.1 and 2.0 stereo soundtrack mixed by Eddie Kramer, Jimi's original engineer.
For more about Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock and the Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray release, see Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on February 5, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray Review
"Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, for short it's nothin’ but ‘A Band O’ Gypsies"
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, February 5, 2009
The Woodstock Festival billed as the most famous outdoor party in the world was held on a diary farm in the small rural town of Bethel, New York on August 15, 16, 17 1969. It featured thirty two of the best singers and musicians of the period, and attended by over a half a million people, a far larger crowd than had been expected. It is widely regarded as one of the biggest moments in popular music history, and has taken on a mythical and legendary status over the years. The brainchild of Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, and Artie Kornfeld, Woodstock started off as a money making venture and was first imagined as a retreat like recording studio, as many artists had moved to, or were eyeing Woodstock as a quiet retreat to escape to. The idea later blossomed to outdoor music festival, and the rest is history. The organizers were totally unprepared for the onslaught of people that would descend on the area, as they were only expecting 200,000 people on advance sales of 186,000 tickets. The influx of attendees to the rural concert site in Bethel created a massive traffic jam and closed the New York State Thruway. The facilities were not equipped to provide sanitation or first aid for the number of people attending; hundreds of thousands found themselves in a struggle against bad weather, food shortages, and poor sanitation. The festival was held during a time of war abroad and racial discord at home, and participants quickly became aware that the event had taken on a meaning beyond its original intent. The site of Woodstock became, for four days, a countercultural mini- nation. Minds were open, drugs were used, and "love" was "free". The headline act, and last on stage after the three day marathon would be the great Jimi Hendrix himself, arguable one of the best guitar players in the history of rock and roll.
Festival MC Chip Monck introduced the band as "The Jimi Hendrix Experience", but Hendrix came to the mike and quickly corrected this to "Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, for short it's nothin' but 'A Band O' Gypsies" and launched into a two hour set, the longest of his career.
Message to Love
Hear My Train A Comin'
Spanish Castle Magic
Jam Back At The House
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Stepping Stone
The Star-Spangled Banner
Woodstock Improvisation/Villanova Junction
Featuring an expanded band from his usual three piece group, this band added two percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez, and rhythm guitar player Larry Lee. It was early Monday morning August 18 by the time Hendrix hit the stage, and only 180,000 of the estimate 500,000 were left in the audience. Hendrix lost a guitar string during the performance of Red House but continued to play without it. After being up all night, and not used to playing in front of such large audience, the band had a hard time keeping up with Hendrix, but it did not stop him from laying down one of his most memorable performance, which was topped off by his infamous playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray, Video Quality
Universal Music brings Jimi Hendrix Live from Woodstock to the Bluray format in a fine looking 1080p/AVC encode, framed in a 1:42:1 video window. This concert video is shot documentary style, and for a nearly forty year old performance, the video is quite good, if not variable in quality. The first thing you will notice is the fine sheen of grain that is overlaid during the concert footage. It varies in intensity, but never takes away from the viewing experience. It does remind you that you are watching a film instead of a video. Colors are well saturated, and have a really nice pop to them. The colorful clothes of the time show all of the primary and secondary colors, with all of their hues as well. Contrast is quite nice, with whites appearing white, and not bleached or overblown. Black levels are steady and sufficiently deep, and when combined with the contrast level creates a very nice punchy picture. Detail and fine detail are quite good as you can see every strand of lose hair, the detail in Hendrix's rings; you notice the muddy canopy covering the stage, imperfections of Hendrix's skin, and the individual thread work on his Dashiki. Longs shots also have very nice detail, as you can see individual people going far back into long shots. If I have one issue with this disc, it lies in the color telecine work. Concert photographs and the SD DVD clearly show Hendrix wearing a reddish/pink headband. Here it is almost orange, and that makes me just a bit curious if this transfer coloring is accurate. For its age, the video looks really good.
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock features two audio tracks for your listening pleasure. Offered up are a 5.1 Dts-HD Master Audio track encoded at 24/48khz bit and sample rate, and a two channel Dts track encoded at 24/48khz bit and sample rate. Recorded, mixed, and remixed by the legendary Eddie Kramer under the most primitive of conditions, the soundtrack is raw and unrefined, but captures Jimi Hendrix performance exceptionally well. Fidelity is not up to today standards, as the bass sounds muddy and indistinct and without much bottom end oomph. Jimi Hendrix's guitar is well captured, revealing every pitch bend, inflection, and searing distortion laden riff with complete clarity. Drums are also well captured, revealing a very loose snare tuning, every cymbal brush and crash, but also revealing an ill defined bass drum capture. Hendrix vocals are always intelligible, but can sometimes be a bit buried in the mix. In spite of the fact there are two percussionists and an added guitar player, they are not heard and appear edited out of the mix. The recording is as raw as it gets, but it is good enough to capture the presence and spirit of the performance.
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There is a wealth of extra content on this release, and all of it is worth watching as it is as interesting as the concert itself. You learn a wealth of information about both the Woodstock experience, and Hendrix himself.
Featurette: Press Conference features Jimi Hendrix at a press conference after Woodstock promoting another music festival.
Featurette: Nashville Roots goes into detail of Hendrix life in Nashville before his career blew up into stardom.
Featurette: Recording Woodstock features sound mixer and recorder Eddie Kramer telling his story of the difficulty of recording the concert.
A Second Look is a video capture of the entire concert taken from an audience member. Presented in a different angle than the film cameras, it gives another perspective of the concert experience. It can be viewed separately, or as a PIP feature.
Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Who would have known that a year after this famous performance the great Jimi Hendrix would be dead. He had joined a long line of bright stars that burned out prematurely at the pinnacle of their career. Thank God this performance and several more were captured so that generations afterward can enjoy this iconic legend's performances for years to come. I highly recommend this Bluray release, as it shows Hendrix in top form, and also shows how far he has come since his appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
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