It became known as the Woodstock of fires, destruction, and alleged rapes, but this summer's three-day music fest in upstate New York was supposed to be about the action on stage.
For those who might need a reminder, now there is Woodstock '99 — a 32-track double CD, chronicling the wildness that was Woodstock '99.
Split between the mostly hardcore first CD (“Red Album”) and a tamer second disc (“Blue Album”) the set may capture the spirit of Woodstock, but it's hardly an overview of the current state of music. Overloaded with white male noise-makers, the album features only a couple of hip-hop tracks and only three women performers — Jewel, Alanis Morissette, and Sheryl Crow.
That's the album's most obvious problem, but there are some moments of wonder heard here. The thunderous first disc features highlights like Kid Rock's crowd-shaking “Bawitdaba,” The Offspring's punk-fueled “The Kids Aren't Alright,” Metallica's extraordinarily tight version of “Creeping Death,” and a rowdy cover of the Doors' “Roadhouse Blues” by Creed, with guest guitarist Robby Krieger of the Doors helping out. It also includes the track that will likely be remembered most from this album — the scorching cover of Jimi Hendrix's “Fire” that Red Hot Chili Peppers played while Woodstock's infamous bonfires started to rage.
Disc two may not be as hip but it's definitely more diverse. After a strong “Tripping Billies” by Dave Matthews Band, the “Blue Album” is peppered with standouts. They include everything from the Brian Setzer Orchestra's horn-pumpin' roar through “Rock This Town” to Sheryl Crow's gutsy “If It Makes You Happy” to The Chemical Brothers' techno blitz “Block Rockin' Beats.”
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