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Woodstock Diary 1969

Released on September 22, 2009

Directed by D.A. Pennebaker
Produced by Alan Douglas 
Run Time: 180 minutes
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Appearances from:
Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Arlo Guthrie, Tim Hardin, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Johnny Winter, Crosby Stills & Nash, Joe Cocker, Country Joe and The Fish, John Sebastian, Santana, Canned Heat, Mountain, Joan Baez, Sha Na Na, Country Joe McDonald, Ravi Shankar, Ten Years After, The Band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Incredible String Band, Bert Sommers, Quill


Woodstock Diary 1969 is kind of like the movie Woodstock. But it has a lot of missing performances that were not included in that wonderful flick. Unlike the movie, this film follows the acts closer to the order of how they actually appeared on stage, and is broken up into the three days that Woodstock ran in 1969 - Friday, August 15, Saturday, August 16, and Sunday, August 17 (actually, by the time Jimi Hendrix closed out the show, it was mid morning on Monday, August 18). The only bummer with this DVD is that they actually run closing credits after each day ends and then re-run the film's opening credits for each new day, which is a total waste of time, to say the least.

Other than the opening 10 minutes or so of Woodstock Diary 1969 (which explains how the event was put together) and throughout its entire run includes some current day comments from the organizers, the rest of this film is mainly all performances. Yes, they do show a lot of the crowd, and some of the shots are the same that we saw in Woodstock. But the main thing the viewer gets to enjoy here is the music, and again, mostly performances of songs not seen before. The only repeats from the movie Woodstock are: One song from Richie Havens' opening act, "Freedom". But we also see him doing "I Can't Make It Anynmore", which wasn't shown before. Country Joe McDonald, who followed Havens, only played one song, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag", and that is also shown again here. Country Joe wasn't suppose to play solo, and his band The Fish was not scheduled to play till Sunday. He was just up there to fill time since the acts that should had been playing were stuck in traffic (Richie Havens, who opened Woodstock, had to do so for the same reason, as he wasn't suppose to go on until later Friday night).

Other repeated songs already shown in the movie Woodstock came from Santana, Ten Years After, and one part of Jimi Hendrix's performance. Only difference this time around for these repeats are some different camera angles. All of the rest of the songs we get to see in Woodstock Diary were not in the movie Woodstock.

There were several highlights here for me that I very much enjoyed. Janis Joplin, who's performance wasn't even in the movie (except for the director's cut) is shown singing "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)" and "Ball & Chain". Man was she on fire and what a joy to watch! Then The Who does a nice take of "My Generation". Only problem here is the camera shots are not that great, we don't get to see too much of Keith Moon and almost nothing of John Entwistle.

Also wonderful to view is Canned Heat doing "Leaving This Town"; Joe Cocker belting out  "Let's Get Stoned"; The Band with a great take of "The Weight"; and Johnny Winter doing "Mean Town Blues". Another nice bit is Joan Baez singing a duet with Jeffrey Shurtleff on "Drug Store Truck Driving Man"

I can see why Jefferson Airplane's performance wasn't in the movie. They didn't really seem to have it together in the two songs shown here. "Somebody To Love" is awful, and the easy to play "White Rabbit" is simply okay at best. Grace Slick actually doesn't sound bad at all, but the band sounds off.  They were suppose to play Saturday night, but because of all the delays, which wasn't their fault, they didn't take the stage till after sunrise on Sunday morning. Yes, they had been up all night waiting to go on, and it showed.

Woodstock closed out with Hendrix. The one song repeated here from the movie is "Star Spangled Banner", which is fine with me, as nobody has ever played it better! Then next up is Jimi just jamming away with what is titled "Woodstock Improvisation" and man, this is just out of sight! I could watch Hendrix play guitar like this all day long and never grow tired of what this shooting star left us with.

If you liked the movie Woodstock, especially for the music, then you will love Woodstock Diary 1969. This DVD is for sure something you will want to get your hands on, so do check it out!

-- Keno, 2009

To order a copy in the US, click on this link:

To order a copy in the UK click on  Wienerworld Ltd.

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