Since its inception in 1969, the Woodstock music festival had been synonymous with peace, love, and music. Its inaugural edition, held in Bethel, New York, featured a great blend of folk music, hard rock, blues, and jazz, with performances by artists Richie Havens, Sweetwater, Santana, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, and many more.
The recent explosive three-part docuseries, ‘Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99’, showed a bleak and dark aspect of the 1999 event. The shift in music genres featured at the festival, the types of performing artists, the event attendees, and the festival’s mismanagement that ultimately contributed to its demise are all highlighted.
With the violence, unlawful activity, and unrest, the spotlight withdrew from the peace, love, and music element. To highlight the music and performing artists, we have compiled a list of performances found online at the Woodstock festival in Rome, New York. (Minor Spoilers ahead about the docuseries)
The String Cheese Incident
The String Cheese Incident, an American country, folk, blues, and rock and roll band, performed on the west stage during the preshow. Their music, rhythm, and tune were clearly unlike the hard rock and metal performances that followed. The String Cheese Incident’s almost two-hour performances included a country infuse ‘Walk this Way,’ ‘Come As you Are’, ‘Missin’ Me,’, and ‘Texas’. Speaking to the audience during the performance, the band stated that they were informed about their appearance a week before the show.
The documentary series includes backstage footage concerning James Brown’s contract situation, however, this did not taint his performance. He entered the stage 18 minutes into the opening act, with the audience shouting his name. Brown performed his singles ‘Get Up Offa That Thing,’ ‘Living in America,’ ‘I Feel Good,’ and ‘Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine’ before a lively and upbeat audience. He did perform some of his vintage dance moves on stage towards the end of his hour-long concert.
Brown was the opening act on Friday with The Soul Generals and vocalist Tomi Rae. She sang ‘Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)’ as an homage to Janis Joplin, who performed the song during the 1969 Woodstock festival.
Actors Rosie Perez and Steve Baldwin introduced DMX to the frenzied crowd. The DJ for DMX pumped up the audience by yelling, “When I say ‘DM,’ you say ‘X’,” which got a resounding and deafening response. Watching this forty-five-minute performance, viewers can see DMX dominating the stage. This was undoubtedly one of the late rapper’s standout performances, carrying it out with only a single DJ on deck and handling the crowd with his commanding talents on the mic. Concertgoers were engaged throughout the performance, distinctly shouting along and yelling out the lyrics on songs like ‘My Nigga’, ‘Stop Being Greedy’, ‘Damien’, and ‘Ruff Ryder’s Anthem’.
While the more customary approach of featuring folk, rock & roll, and blues music were maintained, heavier grunge, hard rock, and heavy metal artists were also seen at Woodstock. Alanis Morissette took to the stage for an hour-long grunge and alternative rock performance. ‘All I Really Want,’ ‘Hand In My Pocket’, ‘Forgiven’, and ‘Thank You’ were among the songs on her setlist that day.
Did You Know?
The Woodstock festival in 1969 concluded with a performance by Jimi Hendrix, which took place on Monday morning after the other performances had gone far beyond their allotted time. This concluding act took place after the majority of the audience had departed. In 1999, a video montage of his performance was presented to conclude the show.
Limp Bizkit, Korn, and even the Red Hot Chili Peppers are widely featured in the documentary, where they are criticized for their performances and inability to handle the large crowd. Hard rock and heavy metal greats who also took to the stage at Woodstock ’99 were Creed, Megadeth, Rage Against the Machine, Our Lady Peace, The Offspring, and Metallica, to list a few.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Metallica played an hour and sixteen-minute long set at East Stage. The performance includes former Metallica bass guitarist Jason Newsted who quit the band in 2001. Their power-packed metal setlist included tracks ‘Master Of Puppets’, ‘Sad But True’, and ‘One’. As with all their concerts, the band concluded their performance with ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Seek and Destroy’.
The Chemical Brothers
Fans of electronic and techno music will enjoy The Chemical Brother’s performance on the West Stage at Woodstock ’99. Their music was accompanied by visuals projected on the stage behind them, and the audience could be seen dancing and taking in the music. The English duet got the audience going with ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ and followed it up with a slew of their hit singles. Their performance lasted an hour and a half.
To know more about Woodstock ’99 –
Watch all episodes of Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 On Netflix HERE
Watch Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage on HBOMax HERE
Listen to Entitled Break Stuff: The Story of Woodstock ’99 on Apple Podcast HERE