This four-disc box set was released commemorating the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival that took place in August 1969, and combined both of the Woodstock albums released in 1970 and 1971 with previously unreleased material. It's a well-known part of the festival's history that many of the participants played self-confessed lackluster sets. However, considering the surrounding circumstances in which this music was conceived – not enough food or water, an abundance of drugs, and thunderstorms – these artists manage to rise above it more often than not. What is most interesting about this box set are the unreleased tracks by the Band, Tim Hardin, Johnny Winter, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Ritchie Havens. A whittled down single-disc sampler featuring many of the aforementioned unreleased tracks are also available on Woodstock Diary containing Mountain's "Southbound Train," Sly and the Family Stone's "Love City," and CS&N's "Blackbird" which aren't included on the box set.Al Campbell – AllMusic
The 25th anniversary of Woodstock was such a resounding success, both commercially and critically, that it was inevitable that Woodstock 99 would appear on the 30th anniversary of the legendary free rock festival. Woodstock 99 was a different beast than any of its predecessors, however. The promoters designed it as a mercenary event, trying to earn as much money as possible in the course of three days. They picked a massive abandoned air force base in Rome, NY, and built plywood fences around the perimeters so they wouldn't have any gatecrashers. They decided to not allow any outside containers – a common and logical safeguard, but that also meant everyone had to pay for water in the middle of the summer. All this was a prelude to a weekend of mayhem that ended in riots and rape. Some may argue that the riots were a reaction to the greed of the promoters, and they have a point – but that doesn't excuse the numerous sexual assaults and rapes that occurred during the festival. Those assaults and the fires and the aggressively macho alt-metal acts became the legacy of Woodstock 99, and that's probably not what Epic had in mind when they signed a deal to release a double-disc set of highlights in October 1999.More inside
As the historic festival marks its 40-year anniversary, Rhino presents Woodstock 40, six-CD boxed set that features the most comprehensive collection ever available of artists that performed at the original festival, sequenced in chronological order of performance, featuring 38 previously unreleased recordings, including the Grateful Dead, The Who, Tim Hardin, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & The Fish, and others. Also box includes 80-page book with extensive liner notes, photos and the complete and accurate set lists.
After the multi-platinum success of Music from the Original Soundtrack and More: Woodstock that accompanied Michael Wadleigh’s documentary film Woodstock (two million copies sold and it spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard charts, and even a Top 20 spot on its R&B chart!), Woodstock Two was inevitable as a sequel. Released as a double LP in 1971 with more stills from the film — though none of the music here was included — this set featured many of the same artists who’d appeared on the first volume, with two additions: Mountain, and Melanie. If anything, this set, more concise and more focused, is a better bet than its predecessor. Disc one is a stunner on more than one level. First, there are three tracks by Jimi Hendrix and his expanded lineup after breaking up the Experience (adding guitarist Larry Lee), and a trio of percussionists along with Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox. There’s the killer “Jam Back at the House,” which rolls in riffs and an instrumental array of tunes from his catalog including “Rainy Day Dream Away”; there’s a killer take on “Izabella” that’s raggedy but full of killer improvisation — check the interaction between Cox and Mitchell — and “Get My Heart Back Together,” also known as “Hear My Train A’Comin’.” These 20 minutes of music make it worth the purchase of this collection if you don’t already possess the Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock disc.