Jimi Hendrix

Live At Woodstock

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Video Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating g.gif (1187 bytes) Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1992 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 56:35 Minutes  Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Chris Hegedus
Erez Laufer
MCA Records
Universal Music & Video
Starring Jimi Hendrix
Billy Cox
Mitch Mitchell
Juma Sultan
Larry Lee
Jerry Velez
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Jimi Hendrix

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame (NTSC) MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 448 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Jimi Hendrix achieved more musically in a life of twenty-seven years than anyone you could name from the previous ten years could have done if they lived to be two hundred and seventy years old. From a technical and enjoyment point of view, his music is very unique and powerful, and it also demonstrates a rarely-seen ability to confuse the difference between playing a rhythm figure and playing a lead solo. The song that announced him to the world as a powerful new force in the history of music, Are You Experienced?, from the album of the same name, is a shining example of this brilliant ability that few famous guitarists in the last fifty years have shared. Most of his songs stand up well to the test of time, and those that don't (in my mind at least) only fail because they were weakened by the test of repetition.

    The opening narration on this DVD, done in much the same manner as the Star Wars saga is famous for, states that rather than the three-piece band he became famous with, Hendrix closed Woodstock with a new outfit known as the Gypsy Sun & Rainbows Band, which omitted Experience bassist/backing vocalist Noel Redding, and added four new members on such duties as second guitar and percussion. Taking Noel Redding's place during this show was the lesser known Billy Cox, and I would love to hear the reasons behind this. The songs presented on this DVD are all taken from the performance at the much-revered festival known as Woodstock, and the track listing is as follows:

    I must stress that this is not the complete performance at Woodstock, although I am sure that most of what was left on the cutting-room floor was put there for a reason. Personally, I quite like the live renditions of most of these songs that are on offer here, as they provide a wonderful example of the fact that composition was alive and well as an art form in the twentieth century, contrary to what most ageing illiterates who've probably never had a thought beside those of the what shall we eat for dinner? variety will tell you. Some of the material exhibited towards the end of the presentation drags just a little, but this is well worth the time to take a look at and listen to.

Transfer Quality


    This footage is just over thirty years old, and was shot using the sort of equipment that you'd be hard-pressed to find in an antique store these days, so this transfer is very good when you consider those limitations. The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, without 16x9 enhancement. Unlike a lot of DVDs produced in this format, you are not missing out on any picture information here. The transfer is strangely sharp for footage of a thirty-year-old show, but nothing that will blow your mind, as opposed to some of the music. The shadow detail was non-existent due to the fact that the footage is entirely shot in daylight conditions. Low-level noise appeared to be present in some shots, but was not noticeable or distracting.

    The colour saturation is a little variable, with the skin tones and certain items of clothing blending together at some points. Whenever an object is distant to the camera, it becomes a smudge of colours with the person barely distinguishable from their attire (or lack thereof in some shots). Offhand, I would say the that colour bleeding that does take place is the result of ageing at the source material level.

    MPEG artefacts were not present in the transfer at all, due to the fact that almost the entire presentation is up at the ten megabits per second maximum transfer rate that the DVD format allows. The compression didn't have to work hard at all, which is just as well considering the age of the film. Film-to-video artefacts didn't seem to be present to any noticeable degree, however, film artefacts picked up the slack with black, white, and even blue marks showing up on the image from time to time. They were, however, quite well controlled in the context of the film's age and the conditions it was shot under.


    An artist as influential as Jimi Hendrix deserves the best sound quality that modern technology and the original master allows. This DVD gives him no less than that. There is only one audio track on this disc, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix encoded at the unusually high rate (for this format, anyway) of 448 Kilobits per second. An audio commentary from Mitch Mitchell might have been a nice inclusion, but I am sure the man probably has better things to do than ride on the coat-tails of Hendrix. Being a music video disc, there is little real dialogue to speak of, but the spoken words and lyrics all seemed to be perfectly in sync with Hendrix's lip movements. The same can be said of the movements of the musicians, which seemed to all be in sync with the notes and chords being played.

    All of the music on this disc was written and recorded either by the Gypsy Sun & Rainbows Band, or the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimi's original band. As I mentioned before, Jimi Hendrix belonged in a remarkably small class of guitarists who could blur the line between rhythm figure and solo, and the music contained on this disc doesn't let us down here. Fire is a particularly noteworthy inclusion for its possession of a raw energy and power that the studio had robbed it of to some extent on the Are You Experienced? album.

    Being a straight stereo mix, there is no surround presence to really speak of, but what does come out of the front speakers is especially enveloping because of the otherworldly nature of the music. My active subwoofer came into play to support the drums and bass, and was constantly present without adding any of the low-level distortion that sometimes occurs as a result of bass emphasis in the CD format. Soundwise, this DVD is on par with the much more recent Live & Loud, which is not bad for a remastering of a concert from a time when digital audio wasn't even imagined.


    There are no extras on this disc.


    The menu contains the same still as was used to make the cover artwork, with a track listing from which songs can be selected, as well as the old Play Film stand-by.

R4 vs R1

    This disc is identical the world over.


    Jimi Hendrix: Live At Woodstock is a great show of superior music on a DVD that demonstrates how blessed we are to be living in the digital age.

    The video quality is very good, with only an excessive level of film artefacts betraying the source material's age.

    The audio quality is wonderful, and the songs sound like they were recorded thirty minutes, as opposed to thirty years, ago.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
May 23, 2000.

Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer