Jimi Hendrix-Live at Woodstock: Definitive Collection (1999) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Animation
Alternative Version-A Second Look
Featurette-Jimi Hendrix Press Conference
Featurette-Billy Cox & Larry Lee: Nashville Roots
Featurette-Eddie Kramer: Recording Woodstock
|Year Of Production||1999|
|Running Time||98:38 (Case: 215)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I'd like to make another of my sorry confessions: I've always known about Jimi Hendrix, but nothing of his music. I'd heard he was a genius but never bothered to check him out. My taste in music has always been very much 1960s flavoured, but I've leaned more towards the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Pappas, and so on. I finally got to "experience" Hendrix when I got a hold of Criterion's killer release of The Complete Monterey Pop. Along with an incredible line up of talent, Hendrix's entire set is included with the infamous amp-humping and flaming combination of zippo lighter fluid and electric guitar. (The story goes that Hendrix had planned to just trash the stage but had to come up with something better after the Who pulled their own trashing stunt just before his entry: bring on the zippo). Needless to say, I was completely blown away: the man was every bit the genius I'd heard about. Naturally, I was a little bit eager to give Live at Woodstock a spin.
Forgive me if I gush a little more, but I found Woodstock even more impressive than Monterey. For Woodstock, Hendrix moved away from the Jimi Hendrix Experience and started pulling together Band of Gypsies (or Sun and Rainbows - call them what you want), including Billy Cox on bass, Larry Lee on rhythm, Mitch Mitchell on drums (from Experience), and Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez on percussion. The combination proved dynamite: Mitchell's drum work and Cox's subtle bass line are just as impressive to my ear as Hendrix's musical gymnastics. An exciting energy carries through the whole set (compared to Monterey where Hendrix seemed a little "dazed") and although I was left with pleasantly ringing ears by the end, they could have continued on with my whole hearted support. "Red House" (despite some tuning problems) and "Jam Back at the House" were stand-out pieces, with a great drum and bongo jam in the second. Then of course there's the famous interpretation of "Star Spangled Banner" (which Hendrix later claimed was meant to reflect the political static being heard in America at the time). But really, what is left to say about such an incredible performance? Woodstock is justifiably famous and Hendrix's performance is central to it all. This should be mandatory viewing, even if we still don't have the complete set.
The concert is bookended by the documentary The Road to Woodstock, mostly informative talking heads reminiscing about their heyday (all the band members, the sound engineer, and the Woodstock promoter get a look in). The concert itself has been beautifully restored in both video and audio departments and gives a vivid snapshot of a distant (and better?) era of politics and music. The long and short of it all - this is an excellent and very satisfying package: get it now!
I love the look of 16mm film, so perhaps I am a little biased, but I found Live at Woodstock's video transfer gorgeous. It is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame.
True to its source, detail and sharpness are a little soft during the main performance. The interview segments, on the other hand, are very sharp and detailed. There is some grain which is, again, expected considering the source, and handled very nicely without any pixelization. Colours are life-like and natural.
I noticed no significant MPEG artefacts. Several close up pans look a little digitized, with what appears to be edge enhancement, and suffer from judder (3:2 pull-down effect). Film artefacts are always present but very small and rarely ugly. The worst damage takes the form of occasional vertical red lines. The film print appears to be generally very clean and/or nicely restored. The interview sections are spotless, although the archival footage played during the interviews range from pristine images to atrocious examples of colour bleeding and macro-blocking.
Subtitles are yellow and sometimes poorly placed over faces. They are mostly accurate.
The disc is divided into eighteen chapter stops and the layer change is placed at 52:44.
On top of an excellent video transfer, Live at Woodstock's audio will throw you back in your seat. The concert is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps), Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) and DTS 5.1 (768Kbps). The stereo track is the default. I listened to the DTS track in full and sampled the others.
The stereo track sounds very small. It's clean, without any obvious problems but has none of the dynamic range its siblings have. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very good, but compared to the DTS track sounds just a little hollow. And all I can say about the DTS track is "wow!" The DTS sounds so much richer and dynamic than the other tracks and is definitely the audio of choice. It's a track I would happily use as a demo.
Dialogue and vocals are as clear as they can get considering Hendrix's tendency to mumble a little. Audio sync is accurate.
A little crackle can be heard during the interviews from 10:20 and there's quite a lot of crackle during "Lover Man." There is also a single audio pop in "Hey Joe."
There is plenty of surround activity during the concert, including crowd noise and music echo, creating a very immersive experience. The rears were naturally silent during the interview segments. The subwoofer also lends nice support to Cox's bass.
All of the songs, bar "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Hey Joe," are written by Jimi Hendrix.
|Surround Channel Use|
A solid selection of extras rounds out a great package. The documentary advertised on the packaging, The Road to Woodstock, bookends the main film, as noted above.
Held two weeks after Woodstock, Hendrix talks about his upcoming benefit performance for the United Block Association and explains his rendition of "Star Spangled Banner." This feature contains a serious subtitle glitch: selecting any subtitle, bar Portuguese, will cause the entire screen to go white and produce semi-red, semi-transparent subtitles (the image is slightly visible through the subtitles). Not a problem unless you need the subtitles.
Billy Cox and Larry Lee reminisce about playing the chittlin' circuit with Hendrix
Sound engineer Eddie Kramer talks about recording Woodstock. He obviously did a fantastic job.
Live at Woodstock has been released identically worldwide as a Region 0 disc. This release replaces an early version that included only a Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kbps) audio track. It leaves out "Spanish Castle Magic," "Lover Man," "Foxey Lady," and "Hey Joe" but includes "Hear My Train a Comin" over the credits. The songs are also shown in a different order to the new disc. The older disc has no extras. (See Dean M's review here).
Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. Expect only brilliance.
The video is excellent and faithful to the source.
The DTS audio is outstanding.
Extras are plentiful and all valuable.
|DVD||Sony DVP-S336, using Component output|
|Display||LG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||DB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR|